Thursday, September 17, 2015

Introducing Book Banter! Topic One: Jane Eyre


Yesterday I posted the story behind this new feature of sorts. Be sure to read it if you haven't already! In that post, I showed you how Jenny and I have many bookish things that we disagree on and how we love to debate them. It's been going on for years, but recently it came to head at a post Jenny did about Brandon Sanderson. We decided to make it a regular thing and let you in on it!

So, I give our first official Book Banter! And our first topic is Jane Eyre! Jenny gives her reasons for why she hates this book and I'll rebuttal them and give you my reasons for why I love it. She'll be doing the same thing over at her blog today, with her spin on the discussion. Be sure to visit her too! And beware the spoilers! But you've all read it, right?

Book Banter: Jane Eyre

Jenny says:

Reason Number One

The biggest reason I hate Jane Eyre is and always will be Mr Edward "pathological liar" Rochester. How can anyone actually like this guy?! He decided to marry a girl based solely on the fact that she was beautiful. Didn't bother to get to know her or anything, and then when he discovers she's nuts what does he do? He throws her in the attic and completely ignores her. And what really gets me about this is that he then begins to loathe her! Like it's her fault she's crazy? Good Grief! His only excuse to this is, "you don't know what I went through". He goes off after this and looks for another woman and has torrid affairs with two or three woman that he then finds tedious and pays off to shut up. 


Then simple, plain Jane comes into the picture and let's look over the fact that he lies to her about his crazy wife locked in the attic which is reason enough to hate him but it's the way he approaches the whole thing. He proceeds to FORCE Jane to be in his presence and "talk with him" which is really just him talking AT her and telling her how naive and innocent she is. "Poor stupid, Jane. Let me take you under my wing and teach you about life". And let's not forget he never even has the balls to tell Jane about his wife she finds out on her wedding day at the alter! When she decides to leave him he threatens her...twice! The man is a pompous, abusive, drama king! After all is said and done and he's left in complete abject humiliation Jane comes back. Does he apologize? Did he apologize to her before she ran away? NO!!! He doesn't! Argh!!!




Suey says:

Ah Mr. Rochester! One of the biggest reasons I love Jane Eyre! All the emotion! All the angst! All the brooding! I love that stuff! The Mr. Rochester in my head is deliciously complicated. Yes, he's gruff. Yes, he's mean. Yes, he makes a bunch of terrible bad choices. Not the least of which is hiding his crazy wife in the attic and neglecting to tell Jane. But I think this shows his compassion, truly. Didn't most people in that day put crazy people in asylums? And weren't those places terrible with a capital T? Yes. He was saving this person from an even worse fate. And he wanted to help her, but he just didn't know how. And I don't think we know that much about how he ended up with this person in the first place, do we? He was young and passionate and a bit out of control maybe? Forgive him!!

As far as how he treats Jane...I think he truly loves her. He is smitten! He baffled at this new feeling! He's finally come around and found true love! He doesn't force her to do anything. She's strong and she does what she wants. Yes, she is naive and innocent but she knows what's going on. When she finds out about the wife, she stands up to him. And yes he messes up with the whole wife thing, but this makes him human! This makes the story! And he wants to do right by Jane by marrying her. I mean, he could have just totally seduced her. But he doesn't. And when she goes, he lets her go. And the pleading he does, it's heartbreaking. I have no idea how she turned and walked away. I love Mr. Rochester because he is the very definition of brooding gothic tortured soul, which as we all know, is something I can't resist when comes to fictional boys!



Jenny says:

Reason Number Two

Jane. Poor, stupid pathetic Jane. She never learns to just love herself. Oh, she says she does but how can you really love yourself if you walk right back into an abusive relationship? I guess her whole life has been a lesson in bowing down and obeying men and so she does. She calls Rochester master, people! To be honest, I'm kinda shocked she didn't marry St John at the end. She always does what any man tells her to so why not continue the tradition? Oh well, I guess she just turned down one jerk for another. 

The whole book would have been better if, after she left Rochester she met another wonderful man who truly loved and respected her and married him. Then went back to look at poor stupid Rochester and pitied him enough to spare a kind though then got her bustle out of there!


Suey says:

I love how resilient and strong Jane's character is. That stuff she endures at the beginning of the book with the abuse at school and the dying of her best friend, and the crappy treatment by her aunt, and then she gets sent of to a be the governess for what appears to be a scary grouchy old guy. And she comes through it all! She grows up and finds herself. She love Mr. Rochester despite his his flaws, not because of them. I don't see her has abused at all (by him at least) and she stands up to him. I don't see that she bowed down to men at all. She's amazingly strong for what she's been through. 

And she doesn't marry St. John because she doesn't love him. She follows her passion and her passion is Mr. Rochester! This is why the book is so wonderful! Following your passion despite what people may say! Despite what he appears to be on the outside! He's all bark and no bite. It's awesome that she went back to him after his life is basically ruined. You know then she loves him for him and not for his riches or status. One of the best female characters ever written I think, and one of the strongest in all of literature.


Jenny says:

Reason Number Three

The writing. I really despise that the author consistently has Jane call us, dear reader. Anytime you start trying to form your own opinion the author comes in with the voice of Jane and tells you you're are stupid. You're not allowed to have your own opinion. You must have the opinion of these stupid characters that she has. Well, nice try Charlotte! it didn't work. I've formed my opinion and your

characters suck! Your book sucks and if you were still alive I'd recommend you see a therapist for your deep seeded man issues!

PHEW! I'm going to stop there. I'm all worked up with loathing for this book.


Suey says:

I don't have strong opinions on the writing. I do know that it was hard for me understand when I was a kid reading this book for the first time, but the other times (1 or 2 I can't remember!) I ate it up. The dear reader thing? Eh, doesn't bother me. Charlotte maybe did put herself a bit into the story, but what author doesn't. Even our favorite did this in a big big way!!! 

But what I love, and have touched on int he other two reasons, is the love story. I remember being bugged at first by the age difference, but I got over it. I don’t think Mr. Rochester is as old as we think, and then when Jane does so much growing up, it doesn’t seem that weird. But what I do love about the story, is that we have a guy who has retreated behind a facade of grouchiness and grumpiness, a guy who appears to not care about anything or anyone, a guy who is bitter about the world. And then she comes along and starts peeling all that off. He drops all the layers he's built up around himself and allows himself to live again. I love that. I love that he’s surprised by it too, that he didn’t set out to have this happen, he didn’t mean for it to, but that Jane becomes irresistible to him, even though she is plain and quiet and boring. I love that this ornery man of the world is fascinated by a shy quiet girl, and that the shy girl has the power to change and capture an ornery man of the world. 





Bottom Line (aka. Suey's last word): Jane Eyre is a heart wrenching, passionate, complicated, revolutionary story. I love it and after this little book banter, am feeling the need to read it again! (Or at least watch a really fabulous movie adaptation! And there are so many to choose from!)


And now, be sure to see what Jenny has to say over at her blog today!

So, what do you think? Are you a Jane Eyre lover or hater? Comment with your own arguments. It's definitely one of those books where people tend to fall on one side or the other.

Do you have any banter topics to suggest for us?


We plan to banter about every other week (or every month if that gets to be too much) or so until we run out of ideas! Stay tuned for more fun!




23 comments:

  1. I'm thinking we did really awesome with this first topic or maybe we should have eased our readers in first. I do come off a little strong. I can't help it. Agree to Disagree... though I do think you should re read it.

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    1. Jenny: I really want to! And I'll be paying way to close attention! Which could be interesting...

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    2. You do that and pay very close attention to when he threatenes her!

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  2. I haven't read the book yet. When I do, because I plan on it, I think I'll fall in between both of your feelings. It'll be interesting to say the least, lol.

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    1. Jenni: I'm not sure there's an in between!

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    2. I look forward to your thoughts.

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  3. I tried to write on Jenny's but it deleted it! Ugh! I'm so on Suey's side! It's been so long since I read this book (the summer after ninth grade) but I watch every version, and Suey the best one is the 4 hour mini series done in 2006. The Best! I will send clips! And I own it, so movie night some time?

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    1. 4 hour mini series? Ahhhhhhhh! The pain! ;)

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  4. Sorry, but I have to agree with Jenny on this one. I couldn't stand Jane or Rochester! She's a meek little mouse who puts up with abuse and he's a grumpy old grouch who couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it. Yeah, guess I still have strong feelings about this one....ha!

    What do you two think about Pride & Prejudice? Loved the book, but know that not everyone agrees with me.

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  5. I kind of fall in between yours and Jenny’s opinion. I enjoyed reading Jane Eyre, but there were elements that didn’t sit well with me. I do feel that Jane is a pretty strong character considering the abuse she endured as a child. I also agree that Mr. Rochester situation with his first wife was very complicated. Asylums were horrible and treatment for mental illness was basically nonexistent. He also couldn’t really get a divorce due to the laws of the time. I do however agree with Jenny that he could have been more honest about his life. He also took out a lot of his frustration on the other characters which I didn’t really appreciate. Great discussion, I look forward to hearing yours and Jenny’s thoughts on other topics.

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    1. High five to someone else not fooled by Rochester!

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  6. Jane Eyre is one of my very favorite novels. I've read it 4 times. I love the films too but not as much as the book. I'd have to side with Suey on this one.

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  7. Love the banter! What fun to see the sparring. And I'm shocked that y'all ever agree on anything :). I'm a Jane Eyre fan through and through - I think Jane stands up to Rochester, calls him out on his 'tricks' to get her to love him more (I adore the quote about her being poor obscure plain and little, but with as much soul and heart as him) AND then basically tells him he's a jerk if he thinks she'll be his mistress. She's one of my faves for sticking to her guns on that point and basically leaving with nothing.

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  8. I love this idea for an entry, & it was so fin to read the conflicting viewpoints. I have to say, I weirdly agree with both of you. How is that possible? :) (I probably lean to Suey's viewpoint.)

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    1. Jillian: Yes, weird! Here's hoping we can come up with some other ideas! :)

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  9. I see so many booktubers rave about jane eyre. I have it I've just got to sit down and get to it one of these days!! I enjoyed reading your thoughts =), Also, I am running the Book Blog awards this year for the 2nd year in a row and wanted to let you know nominations are open until October 31st . There are 15 awards up for grabs this year. You may nominate your own blog or ask your readers to nominate you. Readers vote on November 15th.
    Please leave a comment on my blog or tweet me @emancipatedmimi or my co-host @QuratulainR to get the badge to add to your site. You may use it to encourage your readers to vote for your blog on Nov 15th. The awards are intended to be fun and exciting, and get your blog some exposure as well. Hope you will join =) I'm usually on Twitter so tweet me anytime with questions or comments =)
    NOMINATE here: http://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kkntQ2xPpTaBcw-5OlDwUMMp1J11psxKS2Pvzi3TQ6k/viewform
    VOTE HERE on Nov 15: http://docs.google.com/forms/d/1uKrnRIt0X7x489A3N60BC4InisHZRR8TVVFQBiCF12E/viewform


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    1. Mariam: I do hope you manage to fit this one in soon! And thanks for the blogger awards info.

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  10. Great arguments! I find both of you very persuasive. I've always felt that Rochester's behavior was pretty iffy, but I also feel as though he truly loves Jane, which I do find romantic. And at least in the movie, I do find him pretty attractive, if a bit condescending. I love that Jane stands up to him and leaves when she realizes he's been misleading her, but I also wish she was a little less humble. On the writing, Bronte isn't my favorite. I'll always favor Austen's animation over Bronte's more subtle style.

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    1. Katie: Whew! Glad you like how this one went down! :) Thanks for chiming in too! Fun to hear what everyone thinks.

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