It is certainly very different reading Jane Eyre as a college student of 17, dissecting the book for the exams, in oppose to reading it as a 30-something in leisure. But the most stark difference is that, at 17, with the social circle being predominantly just peers around the same age or just slightly older, the feeling of reading this very poignant classic is really the absence of its connection element. Jane , Rochester, St John and all the other characters in it are just, but fictional characters, in which our judgement, dissection, arguments for and upon them would ensure us getting the required grades we would need to pass the exams.
Image taken from here.
But as a 30 something and having had gone through some parts of life, career, travel, marriage etc, reading this awesome classic brought the reading experience to a different dimension altogether. At some parts, I connect with Jane and the feelings she had or situations she had to go through. On other parts, I recognised the Jane in some of the people I’ve met through life. And Rochester! Oh that Rochester… who have not met a man in life quite like Rochester? Self-absorbed, egoistic and yet, with self-esteem issues within him. And that bimbotic Miss Ingram, who was only in for the wealth and the stone cold but good looking St.John, I know one personally in my lifetime.
Earlier today I picked up a Vogue magazine, the US edition which featured Sarah Jessica Parker and all about her life. I read up the whole article, all the 6 pages of it and all her glamorous clothes and shoes and basically, her larger than life lifestyle. Strangely, when I read the article, I felt as though I was reading Jane Eyre when I was 17 and merely studying a fictional character. There was nothing in there about SJP which I could relate to and although she is as real as it she is in flesh, viewing her from my world makes her appear very fictional, unlike Jane.
There is a Jane in everyone that I know. She’s that plain, I reckon.