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05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
I, too, found this type of book boring back in high school when I had to read it. But, reading it for a book club now at 55 was an incredible experience. Every description C. Bronte writes is pure poetry. Only take a moment to think through the metaphors, the similes, the extended analogies. Each description of a scene evokes sounds, sights, feelings, emotions. Each characterization takes on the physical appearance, the emotional endowments, the natural gifts, the spiritual intensity or lack thereof of the person being developed. Remember we are writing in an era of no TV, no radios or record players. There is time to notice detail and to learn from it. These are not paragraphs to be hurried through to get to the main plot, but are like little poems in and of themselves. Notice that when she gets to a climax in the book that she piles metaphor upon metaphor. I am now reading Jane Eyre for the third time in preparation for my book club in October. It's fun to figure out what she is doing with language! <br> In addition to having learned how to enjoy the descriptions, I have enjoyed the layers of plot. As her descriptions are layered, so is her plot. There is the main plot of action and events, but there is also a spiritual journey as she deals with her relationship with God and observes a number of people with different relationships with God. Which of these is the Christian who is most like Jesus and most pleasing to God? There is an emotional journey, as she is a victim of emotional and physical abuse and learns to have a strong sense of self and justice and finally, to be able to relate in an appropriately assertive way without being vindictive and bitter. (How this lady back in the 1840's comprehended these concepts is amazing!) There is a journey of social commentary as she helps us think about orphanages, the position of women, the use of marriage to gain money and status, the value of character over fancy clothes and snobbery (a good lesson for people of the 2000's!).<br> In addition, thinking through the symbols keeps me entertained. What does the lightning-split oak represent? What does the infant child in her dream before her marriage represent? The answer is clear in the next chapter. As to the descriptions of the weather, these are often used to set an emotional and physical scene for events about to occur. See the skies and moors, feel the rain and fog or sunshine on your face and the breezes or harsh winds on your arms, sense the oncoming disaster or joyous reunion or sprightly party or lonely evening depending on the gray of the sky or the chirping of the birds. I hope you too will see the world and think about God in a new and deeper way after you read this book.