Tag Archives: Jane Eyre


I had so much fun finding yesterday’s literary connection that I found one, or two, or maybe three more.

Today’s is brought to you by Charlotte Brontë.  I know, not your first guess of authors to be buddying up to Richard Wright, but here it is:

Then their eyes were riveted; a slate-colored pigeon swooped down to the middle of the steel car tracks and began strutting to and fro with ruffled feathers, its fat neck bobbing with regal pride.  A street car rumbled forward and the pigeon rose swiftly through the air on wings stretched so taut and sheer that Bigger could see the gold of the sun through their translucent tips.  He tilted his head and watched the slate-colored bird flap and wheel out of sight over the edge of a high roof.
“Now, if I could only do that,” Bigger said . . .

Doesn’t that sound like our good friend Jane Eyre?  Okay, fine, Jane was adamant that she was not a bird.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

But I’m pretty sure both of them were going for that whole “free flying” thing, so I’m still counting it on my list of connections.  Oh, and here’s an interesting essay about the bird imagery in Jane Eyre if your own wings want to carry you back to the good old days of pleasant reads.

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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Jane Eyre, Native Son


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The House of Mirth
Book 1, chapter 4

The windows stood open to the sparkling freshness of the September morning, and between the yellow boughs she caught a perspective of hedges and parterres leading by degrees of lessening formality to the free undulations of the park.

Parterres.   Remember back to Jane Eyre when we encountered this classic word the first time?

I miss Jane.



Posted by on May 2, 2013 in The House of Mirth


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Added to my Wishlist

I spent some time on Etsy this weekend doing a little window shopping.  On a whim I typed in Huckleberry Finn.  The very first listing charmed me.  Go ahead; take a look.

Yes, it’s a little book charm with our latest title and author’s name engraved on it.  I love it!  After admiring it for a few moments, can you guess what I did?  That’s right.  I searched the shop for other WEM titles.  I found six:  Huck Finn, Great Gatsby, Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Moby-Dick, and (yes, I was surprised as well) Portrait of a Lady.

I think a bracelet made up of WEM novel charms would be the perfect reward for completing the novel portion of my DIY master’s degree program.  It’s on my wishlist.


Posted by on March 6, 2013 in The Blog


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Moor vs. Heath

It has come to our attention while wrapping up Return of the Native, that there may be some confusion out there regarding these terms.   Are they synonymous?   Just easily confused?   Does one have to go abroad to recognize and correctly identify them?

Well, rest assured, reader, we will clear up this confusion.  And confusion is rampant.  Everyone is asking this question!   You know you are too.  So, here you go.  Moorland vs Heathland.  (Keep in mind, I’ve never actually seen either, so for those of you experts, feel free to comment.)

First of all, they ARE very similar in appearance and contain many similar plants.   Both were formed from centuries of cutting trees and grazing, leaving only low-lying vegetation and poor soil.

Here are some differences:

Moorland:                                                                                     Heathland:

Higher in elevation, thus cooler.                                                      Lower in elevation, thus warmer.

Lots of grasses, peat, moss, heather, and bracken.                         Dominated by small woody shrubs.

More rain, damp and marshy, often foggy.                                       Not usually damp.


So, whether you wander the moor like Jane or Mary Lennox or stroll the heath like Eustacia, I hope you can savor their wild beauty and (now) celebrate their uniqueness!





Posted by on January 9, 2013 in The Return of the Native


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It’s not bird food.

It’s seed cake!  Little Harry Harris eats seed cake.  Just like Jane Eyre!  Did you catch it, fellow readers?  Harry actually enjoys the treat a few times.

In chapter XXII Quaker Ruth brings gifts for the Harris family as they prepare to depart the settlement,

“Does thee keep up good courage, Eliza?” she added, tripping round to Eliza’s sie of the table, and shaking her warmly by the hand, and slipping a seed-cake into Harry’s hand.  “I brought a little parcel of these for him,” she said, tugging at her pocket to get out the package.  “Children, thee knows, will always be eating.”

In chapter XXXVII, Mrs. Smyth cares for Harry, so that they would appear more natural on their travels by boat where she will pretend to be his aunt.

…and, in order to attach him to her, he had been allowed to remain, the two last days, under her sole charge; and an extra amount of petting, jointed to an indefinite amount of seed-cakes and candy, had cemented a very close attachment on the part of the young gentleman.”

So there you have it.

Seed cake.  It’s not just for boarding school orphans.


Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


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Jane Eyre Again

For viewing number three I chose this Jane Eyre.It’s the 2007 Masterpiece Theater version.  I’d heard good things about it and right from the start felt the gothic mood.  There’s plenty of fog, bluish lighting, and creepy dreams.  It’s an unrated 228 minute 2 disc DVD.  This version sacrificed details for the sake of the gothic and the romantic. 

In the first 10 minutes of the movie (I know because I was on the treadmill running–very aware of the time) Jane is thrown in the red room, sent to Lowood (if you hadn’t read the novel you’d be very confused about this part), sleeps next to Helen when she dies (no conversation about her Hevenly Father), and becomes a teacher who receives a response to her advertisement.  Whew!  It was a good thing I was already running and could keep up!  After rushing through so much plot, I wondered how what was left of the story would fill two dvds, but it does.

Jane arrives at Thornfield.  The mannor is beautiful as are the costumes.  Adele is played by a teenager which makes her unchildlike behavior that much more awkward to watch.  This portrayal has the French opera dancer leaving infant Adele in a basket with a note for Rochester.  Disc 1 ends with Jane returning to Gateshead to see a dying Mrs. Reed.

Disc 2:  The actors made the propasal in the orchard believable.  The veil tearing scene is brief.  Jane’s having a strange dream, wakes to see a candle being held close to her face and the scene ends.  The after-wedding drama is cut short.  I thought perhaps it had been skipped all together, but later Jane has a flashback when she has amnesia.  Yep,  amnesia.  Jane Elliot is the name given to her by the Rivers sisters.  St. John finds a sick Jane on the moor and carries her home. 

The interactions between St. John and Jane are enjoyable.  His proposal scene is cut short which was sad because I so enjoyed St. John.  Sitting alone, Jane hears Rochester’s voice while she’s considering Rivers’ proposal.  She does not call back to Rochester.  The reunion of Jane and Rochester is sweet.  He so desperately needs Jane that he cries when she returns to him.  I got a little teary-eyed myself.

The back of the DVD case says: This lavish and sensual new version of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel is modern and moody, timeless and romantic. 

College students, don’t try to cheat and watch this version thinking you’ll get away with not reading the book: many details are moved, changed, or omitted.  Lovers of Jane Eyre, watch this version.  The actors swept me into the story and even after 228 minutes, I wasn’t quite ready for it to end.


Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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Jane Eyre in Episodes

Were you sad when I started my cinematic experience of Jane Eyre with this movie?

Were you wishing I had picked this one instead?

The BBC version and I have spent quite a bit of time together this week.  For those of you haven’t had the pleasure, it is long: as in 311 minutes divided into 11 episodes.  With all that length, the BBC had the luxery of being accurate to the story.  In fact, while watching the first episode I was tempted to dash upstairs and grab my copy of Jane Eyre to read along with the actors.  Obviously when a novel is turned into a screenplay there will be changes, but for accuracy I give the BBC’s version a thumbs up. (except for showing Helen Burns’ tombstone right after her death.  Tsk, tsk.  What were you thinking BBC?).  The Reed sisters do show up when Jane returns to see her dying aunt, but they’re not given many more lines than the silent cousins in the 2011 version. The BBC did include St. John’s Miss Oliver for a cameo.

For appearances?  well….  It looks a little like a soap opera.  No, a better description is that it looks like a play.  It was made to be a television series.  There is a little opening and end credits for each episode.  The costumes, sets, and scenery can not compare to the 2011’s version.  I did enjoy Dalton’s Rochester.   I’d advise viewers to give Zelah Clarke time to grow on you.  At the beginning I did not enjoy her playing Jane as an adult, but by the end I liked her.  Pretend you are at the theater seeing actors on the stage and you’ll enjoy Jane Eyre by the BBC.

Now look what I get to watch this week.


Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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Tidal Wave to Gramma

Trying out Skype and my parents’ new faster internet, the boys and I decided to show off how many sunflowers and marigolds had sprouted in the mini-garden Mom helped them start during their recent visit.  As I tipped the starter tray of seedlings toward the webcam about a cup of water spilled out, and while it spared my computer, a devise who’s had it’s fair share of liquid collisions, my copies of Jane Eyre and Moby-Dick emerged soggily from the deluge.

I think The Whale should be just fine, but I’m worried about Jane.  I don’t think she’s ever even been to the shore.


Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Jane Eyre, Moby-Dick


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I spent the evening with Jane.

I made my choice.  I started with this version of Jane Eyre.

Oh, friends… I liked it.  I liked the casting.  I liked the scenery and costumes.  I even liked how the story started with Jane collapsing on the steps of the Rivers’ home.  I liked the use of flashbacks (some extended) to fill in the viewer.  I think Bronte could have taken the same path. It was a dramatic way to start the movie: gothic even.  It allowed the viewer to see the highlights of Jane’s childhood: Aunt Reed’s cruelty, Lowood, and Helen Burns.  Didn’t you have the feeling that the story really began with Jane’s arrival at Thornfield anyway?

If I had any criticism, I’d say there wasn’t enough Bertha.  The veil-tearing scene was cut.  I watched it in the bonus features of the DVD… on mute… with one eye closed.  It was scary.  But I think it should have been included.  I also wish the screenplay included the relationship connection between the Rivers siblings and Jane.  The uncle dies, leaving Jane an heiress and that’s that.  She shares the wealth because she cares for her friends, not because they shared an uncle.  I suppose the St. John marriage stuff could have been dragged out a little bit too.  It was hasty.  But I won’t focus on the negatives.  All the good parts were included.

One thing I noticed in the movie is that after the failed marriage attempt, Jane tells Rochester that he’s deceitful, and it hit me that years ago Aunt Reed had told Mr. Brocklehurst the same thing about Jane.  Of course Aunt Reed was lying, but it hurt Jane deeply.  Remember at Lowood Jane was wrongly punished for her alleged deceitfulness?  In the novel, Miss Temple clears Jane of the untruthful reputation.  In the movie, Jane’s never found innocent.  In both print and film, Jane is always truthful.  I understand how deception would wound Jane terribly.  Watching this scene I heard myself say a thoughtful, “Hmmmmm…”  So, now I must write in my WEM journal that truth and deceit are reoccuring themes in Jane Eyre.

Have you seen this version of Jane Eyre (2011)?


Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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Ebullition, ebullition, toil, and trouble

ebullition – n. the sudden action of boiling or an outburst of emotion or violence

Classic Usage:  Jane’s joy at her newly found cousins, combined with her recently gained inheritance have her hatching a plan:  “Good fortune opens the hand as well as the heart wonderfully; and to give somewhat when we have largely received, is but to afford a vent to he the unusual ebullition of the sensations.”

Classically Mad Usage:  Jane is just so nice, and so sweet and so generous.  I wish I were more like Jane.  When I heard the definition of this word all that came to my mind was gruel.  It’s ebullitions certainly set me into fits of ebullition.

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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Jane Eyre


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