Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre suffers at times from clunky prose and technical inaccuracy. It's full of perhaps-unconscious class-consciousness, and relies at crucial moments on distractingly one-in-a-million coincidences to move the plot along. But unlike her sister Emily's Wuthering Heights, Charlotte's story (1847) features decent characters who make reasonably-motivated decisions. Countless elements of Jane Eyre presage the (better, in my view) treatment of similar themes in Charles Dickens' Bleak House (1852). And there are fascinating, well-stated insights — e.g., in the final pages when Brontë wraps up (Chapter 38) and her protagonist observes:

... We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. ...

... which reminds me of a joyfully extroverted friend's comment many years ago:

"I don't know what I think until I say it out loud!"

^z - 2008-03-01

(correlates: WutheringHeights, Infelicitous Prose, Mooning Jane Eyre, ...)