Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jane Eyre: Magic and Fey

I am going to take a break from the Canterbury tales to talk about Jane Eyre. It is the most recent of my reads and despite my back log there are something that I really want to talk about and I have been thinking about in this book for a few weeks now so here we go.

If you don't know the plot of Jane Eyre it is basically a Cinderella story. Jane is an orphan and is fostered by her Aunt. Her aunt hates her and young Jane is sent to a school were she excels in her learning and become a governess to the family of Rochester. the family of course is made up of a Mr. Rochester his fostering and his servants  she falls in love with him but on their wedding day a secret is reviled that is so heavy that she must leave. from near death she is rescued by a reverend and his sisters. she becomes a teacher at a country school. after some strange coincidences She finds out that she has a fortune and what she has always wanted, freedom.  She goes back to find out how Mr. Rochester is and discovers that the thing which kept her from marring her is gone and so they marry and live happily ever after.

Now I am going to say that I am not a big Bronte fan. this is the only book from the sisters that I have read and will probably read. I read this book back when I was living in Bismark and I remember liking it. But I got into a conversation with a friend about it and he said that the whole book was basically about Jane complaining that she was ugly. and there definitively is part of the novel it is not the over arching theme.

Anyway how is that for an introduction? Now on to what I would like to talk about today, the use of fairy language in the book. it may be surprising to learn that a book that is completely grounded in the real world would use as it's imagery Magical language and symbols. the first time the realm of fairies is mentioned is when Jane tells us in the narrative that that as a child she had looked for fairies and never found any so she believed that if there ever where fairies they had long ago left this world.

the first time that she meets Mr. Rochester it is in the fog and he calls her some kind of witch or fairy queen. He  refers to her often as his fairy and at the end of the book she says that if she is a fairy then he is most deffinetly a Browne. emphasizing that he is not the handsome prince charming of stories. there is the strange happen stance of them being able to hear the other's voice over the distance of miles. And interestingly even thought it is not call so, Bertha's madness is also feyish in nature. see at one time the word fey was used to indicate madness. Someone who had been fey touched was mad. this may have been that it was believed if a mortal were to enter the realm of fey it would be so wholly different in nature that their sanity would break.

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