Well, it’s that time again.
Time for me to tell you about some of the things I like and why I like them.
In case you don’t remember: Over the next few weeks/ months/ years/ decades/ centuries/ however long I keep this up, I’ll occasionally be posting my favorite “things” in certain areas- films, books, songs, albums, teas, animals, etc. AND AND AND I’ll even tell you a bit about why I love them and find them so intriguing! For the sake of time management, I’m only going to be doing two at a time. Hopefully, you’ll find this interesting, and I’ll find it enjoyable (because I love talking about my favorite things!)!
Two Of My Favorite Novels:
1. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1847)
First off, let’s get one thing absolutely clear: I am Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is me. We are one. Seriously, I have never felt more connected to a character than I do to Jane. So much of her inner dialogue is what I experience on a daily basis. She is strong-willed and determined but often expresses this internally rather than externally. Thus, she is prone to letting her emotions get the best of her and over-thinking things. While this is part of her character, though, it in no way diminishes her spirit of passion and intelligence. Jane makes a life for herself, despite her life starting off rather horribly. She doesn’t let her fear inhibit her from leaving everything, even the things she loves most dearly, in order to start over. Still, she isn’t afraid to come back to what she knows when she is beaconed. She is so natural. Ugh. I could just go on and on. I wish so much that she was a real person so we could be best friends.
But let’s rewind a bit. I was first introduced to Jane Eyre the summer before my freshman year of high school. And you know what? I absolutely hated it. Despised it. If it ever came up in conversation, I would immediately state my distaste for it and make clear that it was a horribly boring story and that it was definitely not worth reading. It’s funny for me too look back on that now because I can’t even specifically recall what I hated so much about it, I just know that for whatever reason, I did.
Anyways, all throughout high school, I was like this, until the fateful day I saw the 2011 film adaption of the novel and my mind was changed. I was astonished because I had no idea that the story was so compelling. Wait… Rochester is a dark, handsome, older man with a whole lot of sass? Wait… Jane made this awesome friend at school who died too young but gave beautiful advice? Jane has emotions?!
Jane is the “plain” outsider who hates fancy parties but loves the man at the center of them all. And she knows they will never be together. She is resigned to that fact (“I must, then, repeat continually that we are for ever sundered:- and yet, while I breathe and think I must love him.”) and repeats it to herself daily. It will never happen for you Jane. You will always be alone. You can be happy with that. But know it- you will always be alone. It dawned on my right about then: OH MY GOD I AM JANE EYRE.
It probably didn’t hurt that Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender played the leads in the film. I just. MMmmm.
(Also, I know a lot of people hated the new film adaption. They felt it didn’t capture the story at all, that it was too rushed, and that Mia and Michael didn’t have any chemistry. I disagree. I loved it. I still love it. It’s what made me willing to give the novel another try… to give my true love another try. Alright. There’s that.)
So, four years after I read the novel for the first time, I picked Jane Eyre up again and gave it another try. And my ardent love took flight.
Favorite Quotes (I mean… I would say the whole novel, but for the sake of time, I’ll try to pick a few):
“Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognize our innocence… and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness- to glory?” -Helen Burns (FREAKING HELEN. Such a beautiful character.)
“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.” -Jane (ugh. this just entirely captures such a human condition.)
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.” -Jane (a line I like to use in my own life whenever I leave anywhere)
I just. I honestly can’t even express how much I connect with Jane. It’s scary. And beautiful. I may or may not name my first child after Charlotte Bronte.
2. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (1932)
Ah. Brave New World. So strange. So dystopian. So Huxley. I normally hated books I had to read for school, but this was one of the first exceptions. I read it through once and then immediately went back and read it through again.
There is something so otherworldly about it, yet many of situations aren’t that far off from our world today. Everything in the BNW society is perfect. Any problem you have can easily be fixed by a dose of soma and sex with the partner of your choosing. The technology is all there. No emotions. No hurt. Perfection.
Then along comes John. The Savage. The outcast who grew up outside of the perfect society. He has so much hope for this world that promises so much. “O brave new world that has such people in it. Let’s start at once.”
But, as is often the case, nothing is as great as John thought it would be. He was expecting the world from the stories his mother told him as a child: “the Other Place, outside the Reservation: that beautiful, beautiful Other Place, whose memory, as of a heaven, a paradise of goodness and loveliness, he still kept whole and intact, undefiled by contact with the reality of this real London, these actual civilized men and women.” As he becomes more and more immersed in the society, he realizes how horrible it is. It may be perfect, but that in no way means that it is good.
His final conversation with the world controller is such a compellingly crafted glimpse into the overall message of the novel:
I know a significant portion of people think 1984 is better, and that may very well be true (I wouldn’t know. I haven’t yet read it.), but Brave New World just does it for me, you know? Also, for the record, George Orwell drew inspiration from Huxley, so yeah, there’s that. Moving on.
I love the combination of science and literature. Huxley grew up in a family full of scientists, and he planned to follow in suit. In his teenage years, however, he was diagnosed with a disease that ruined his eyesight and inhibited him physically in many ways. It was then that he turned to literature and writing. What I love, though, is how he infuses his scientific knowledge into his literature, specifically in Brave New World. The entire “science” of the “perfect” society is what makes it seem so creepily believable. HUXLEY.
AH. Well, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my obsessions.
Comment with some of your own if you feel so let. I’d love to hear about them!
My sincerest regards to you and your family,