Friday, September 28, 2012

Why I love the story of Jane Eyre

One of the best things I did last weekend was to watch the most recent film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre from 2011 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1229822/) with Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. I was completely emotional by the end of the film; I know how the story ends so there were no plot surprises, but the quality and intensity of the acting by Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender were just that overwhelming. Michael Fassbender was a wonderful surprise as Mr. Rochester; I have seen him in Prometheus and Fish Tank previously, and he is Mr. Rochester, David and Conor respectively, all completely different people, a testament to his acting abilities. He managed to impart a real humanity to Mr. Rochester, a humanity that I have not felt as strongly in other Mr. Rochesters. You feel sorry for him and for his predicament, even though you understand that he will suffer for his willfully deceiving Jane about his being married to a mad woman whom he is unable to divorce. By the time he tells her the truth, on her wedding day; you are hoping that Jane will forgive him because you know he is truly sorry for lying to her. But being the moral, proud and wise young woman that she is, she tells him that she will not live with him without being married and she leaves him and Thornfield Hall behind. As fate would have it, a tragedy occurs that ensures that she will finally be able to marry Mr. Rochester, but it was not the tragedy that made her return to Thornfield. It was her recognition of her own humanity and need for love; she gained the insight (inner sight) she needed to understand that she had found real love with Mr. Rochester and that she could not live in a passionless marriage with St John Rivers. She had to marry a man she loved. Her return to Mr. Rochester was actually an acknowledgment that she would live with him regardless of his marital situation as he had initially proposed once she found out he was already married. As it turns out; during her separation from Mr. Rochester, his wife burned down Thornfield Hall and committed suicide thereafter, but Jane is unaware of this when she returns to Thornfield. Mr. Rochester has lost his eyesight due to the fire and must depend upon those around him for help. When Jane returns to him, you understand that he has gained the ability to be grateful, and is no longer the proud and desperate man he once was. No matter how many times I’ve read the book or seen the different Jane Eyre films and TV series through the years, I am always moved by this story—it’s impossible not to love it. 

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