Saturday, 17 September 2011

Jane Eyre

I’m re-reading Jane Eyre.



The girls and I went to see the new film with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender last weekend. We had all seen a repeat run of the most recent TV serial with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson - both too good looking really. I’ve also watched versions starring Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles, Sorcha Cusack/David Jayston and Samantha Morton/Ciarán Hinds at the very least! Eldest had devoured the book on the promise of the trip to the pictures. I think it was too close together: she seemed bored by a film that Youngest and I thoroughly enjoyed. It was atmospheric, gothic, got the story about right, had outstanding costumes and had appropriate actors. Eldest's chief complaint was that St. John wasn’t a looker, though she thought Jane and Rochester suitably plain – helped by their unattractive hair cuts!
I read the book in English lessons in 1973 according to my reading list. For me that’s damming: if I liked a book I read it in advance of reading in class as I generally found the round the room method put me off completely. I know Youngest feels the same – though she’s been told off for reading ahead! (What do you think of that, Fran?)
Because I know the story I found myself paying great attention to the awfulness of Victorian style, even the pretty women looked faintly ridiculous in their dolly styling. If you saw Young Victoria you will recognise the fashions, though what looked sumptuous and appropriate on Victoria and Albert was less stylish on the ordinary folk – perhaps that’s always true about those of us copying the fashion setters?!


I read somewhere that Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (which I haven’t read) are best appreciated read pre 14; read later you are liable to find the characters a bit silly… Dear Reader, for me this seems to be true. How about you?





7 comments:

projectforty said...

one of my least favourite books of all time is wuthering heights. I wanted to scream my head off every other page! I know that's probably a thoroghly philistine reaction but all I could hear was Kate bush singing in my head and i just wanted them all to calm down.

Fran said...

Ah, well. I'm afraid I tend to hog a lot of the reading aloud rather than letting kids who read very stumblingly (?) ruin the book. I think there's a greater goal here - getting the kids inspired by the story - and it's more important to keep the interest in my view. What I do sometimes, though, is give out 'parts', so if there's dialogue, I can let kids take part that way. Works well, as there isn't so much to read out, and it adds interest. Difficult one, though. I'm just such a show-off, and love to do all the accents/different voices. I probably dominate too much. Your daughter has a point - I always say to kids - you can read ahead, but don't spoil it for the others if you do by telling them who gets shot/drowned/stabbed/rescued etc. Sorry about long comment .... my hobbyhorse ...

Wylye Girl said...

I loved Jane Eyre at school and I can remember watching the film in the school hall - can't remember which version it was - and thinking it was just the most romantic thing ever. I haven't read it since but I suspect you are right

Wylye Girl said...

I loved Jane Eyre at school and I can remember watching the film in the school hall - can't remember which version it was - and thinking it was just the most romantic thing ever. I haven't read it since but I suspect you are right

hausfrau said...

Thank-you projectforty for letting me off reading Wuthering Heights, now all I need is to put Jane down and forget her...
Fran, it was why I asked you! I love to be read aloud to (and to read aloud) but sadly poor readers can ruin a good book - or put you off something you might have liked for life! I think it was Stig in the Dump that had gripped Youngest, and it may be that the teacher wanted them to predict what happened next or some such, but she didn't explain, just reprimanded. Aside from Art, English is Youngest's favorite subject so at least said teacher didn't put her off.
Wylye Girl: I don't think I did like Jane Eyre at school, but I loved the romanticism. There are however a number of books that I have decided I daren't reread in case they are not as moving as I remember!

A Time for Stitching said...

I've been trying to read a few classics recently but haven't read either of these yet. Don't think I've ever seen a whole film (or series) of them either.
I find that watching a film too close to reading the book can sometimes be disappointing.
I can't remember reading aloud in a class in school but can imagine it would be frustrating for better readers and wouldn't instill the appeal of books and reading to many.
Teresa x

SP said...

I loved the Toby Stephens version. I could appreciate why Jane fell for him.