My Favorite Classic

The Classics Club created Monthly Meme to bring members of the club closer together using various discussion topics. A new question is asked each month pertaining to the classics, and bloggers are given a chance to weigh in on their own blog as well as others. Below is this months question as well as my response.

What is your favorite classic book? Why?

My favorite classic book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I’ll admit that I finally read it because the movie was about to come out. I’ve made a point for years to always read the book before watching the movie – unless I wasn’t aware of it being a book.

I experienced some major Brontë shunning after hearing she had a negative opinion of Jane Austen. I decided to show Charlotte who was boss when finally deciding to reading the book by using the Austen flower bookmark I got in Bath. Charlotte decided to show me who was boss by writing Jane Eyre.

There are books that you like, and then there are books that you love, and I LOVE Jane Eyre. The main thing I love about it is how Jane is able to manage on her own, only take what she needs, if even that, and she stands up for herself when the situation calls for it. Some say she goes overboard, and while I cannot entirely disagree I will say that I prefer her going overboard instead of the female characters who don’t stand up for themselves and get placed in impossible situations because of it.

It humors me how Charlotte wasn’t a fan of Austen, yet Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice have a lot in common in regards to standing up for themselves and not accepting what is expected of them. To “get back at” Charlotte for creating such a wonderful novel, I will admit that Pride and Prejudice is my second favorite classic. If you wonder why my favorites aren’t the other way around, look to the men who compliment the two female protagonists. While I adore Darcy, he is no Rochester. There are similarities, yes, but there is a ferocity in Rochester and a “mad woman in the attic” history that takes him a step beyond what Austen did with Darcy.

I could go on and on about why I love this novel, and perhaps one day I will, but for now let me leave you with a quote from Jane Eyre.

Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!

Your turn!


What is your favorite classic book? Why?

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37 thoughts on “My Favorite Classic

  1. I’m one of the few on the planet who hasn’t read Jane Eyre–and I was an English major! It’s on my Classics Club list, though. What a fantastic quote, and what a fantastic character it shows her to be.

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  2. I couldn’t choose between books I’ve read as an adult but I also love Jane Eyre and it would be high on my list of favourites. Love the quote you chose and reading it I can understand why Charlotte said Jane Austen ‘had no passion’.

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    • I’m glad to hear you’re a Jane Eyre fan as well! While I tend to defend Austen a lot, I also can’t blame Bronte for her opinion. Austen wrote wonderful stories, but Bronte took things much further, at least based on what I’ve read. I have only read Jane Eyre.

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  3. I finally read Jane Eyre about a month ago. I was so amazed by Charlotte’s writing ability, it seemed every word she chose was the perfect word, and later, while reading the Gaskell biography, she said that Charlotte would wait for the right word to come to her before she would write or speak. I love Jane Eyre, too!

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    • I have the Gaskell biography on my list for The Classics Club, so reading this comment makes me even more excited to read the book.
      I wonder if Charlotte had trouble going back and fixing her work once it was written. I know I have trouble doing that, so I don’t blame her for waiting on the right words if that’s the case.

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      • She may have had trouble doing that…but the way Gaskell explains,  the waiting was more for wanting to  express the “simple holy truth”, the words must express exactly was she had in mind and not any word would do.  But she also said, she would write on scraps of paper and arrange things around, then when she had what she wanted she copied the scraps on to sheets of paper. So it seems she like to keep things in pieces before having a solid written page.

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  4. Hahaha, I love how you dictated the law to Charlotte by using your Austen bookmark! Although I do like Jane Eyre, especially the quote you chose, but I prefer Wuthering Heights by Charlotte’s sister Emily more! great choice though and definitely an influential classic!
    Juli

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  5. This is the first novel I read for my own Classics Project (back in early 2010). And I ADORE it. Like Sam though, I think Villette has an edge. It is absolutely exquisite.

    GREAT QUOTE. Have You read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall yet? I have a feeling you will love it.

    I’ll be re-reading Jane Eyre pretty soon, I think. 🙂

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    • I have The Tenant of Wildfell Hall on my classics list. I think I’m going to put Jane Eyre on my list so I can read it again. Writing about it has made me want to read it again. If we think of it, maybe we can read it together. 🙂

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  6. Oh! I have read Jane Eyre so many times I’ve lost count! It IS a beautiful book. And I understand why Rochester holds more appeal than Darcy. In spite of his gruff exterior he is a very vulnerable man, and I think the fact that he shows his passion and NEED for Jane appeals to the romantic in a woman, no? 😀

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    • I completely agree with you. Some would think Rochester’s behavior (his passion and need) to be cowardice or “unmanly,” but I’m all for it being a romantic gesture. I have only read Jane Eyre the one time, but it’s on my classics list for a reread.

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  7. I love Jane Eyre! I also love Pride and Prejudice, but not quite as much–Jane doesn’t have Lizzie’s “fine eyes” or a Mr. Bennet in her corner, which I think makes her all the more endearing and remarkable as a heroine. And Mr. Rochester…I’m not sure I wouldn’t have forgiven him the wife in the attic more quickly than Jane does. 🙂

    You’ve probably read this already, but if you haven’t it’s hilarious: http://thehairpin.com/2012/07/texts-from-jane-eyre

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  8. I love Jane Eyre so very much! Which movie version did you see? The newish one with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender? I highly recommend the 2006 BBC version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. It’s excellent in an all-together different way from the 2011 version. (But whatever you do, don’t watch the one with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine! It’s all creepy organ music and dark gothicness and totally massacres the story.)

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  9. Jane Eyre used to be my absolute favourite as well! It used to be a kind of comfort read for me on rainy/winter days… but I wonder if there’s such a thing as re-reading a book too many times, because its lost its charm over the years. I still enjoy it as a piece of literature, yet it doesn’t have the same magic to it that it did when I first read it :/

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    • Many thanks for visiting my blog as well! It’s hard keeping up with so many wonderful bloggers, but I’m doing my best. 🙂

      I think Austen did have passion, but she went about expressing it differently than other writers. She and Bronte certainly express emotions differently in their writing, but I can’t say that one was more passionate than the other. I have to stand firm and respect them both in this regard. But I DO agree that the Jane quote above is very passionate indeed.

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  10. I also look forward to hearing what you think about Villette – very different in some ways but oh so good. It made me want to go back and read Jane Eyre again.

    Like you, when I hear an author be all disdainful towards Austen it makes me a little snooty. And I should read your book? Why?? But then I end up wondering how the social-literature climate at the time might have affected that and I forgive them their opinions. 🙂

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    • I’m with you, it’s hard to hold the opinions against them considering we’re in a completely different time period. A part of me doesn’t want to forgive them because I’m certainly critical of a lot (A LOT) of today’s so-called literature, but people also didn’t publish as much back then, so again I have to forgive them. I’m going to ramble too much if I keep this but, but simply put, I agree with you. 🙂

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