Monday, September 22, 2014

The 2014 Jane Eyre Read-Along, Week 1: Thoughts On Reading Jane Eyre

Welcome to the the first week of 
the 2014 Jane Eyre Read-Along,
brought to you by
A Night's Dream of Books

Jane Eyre
Trade Paperback, 325 pages
Wilder Publications, 2008
Classics, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction,
Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance

As we begin this first day of the Jane Eyre Read-Along, I know that all of us are excited and happy to start analyzing this great 19th-century novel, with its rich complexity that encompasses not only romance, but mystery and feminism, as well.

Today we will be posting our general impressions of Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece, by answering the questions below.

What do you know about this novel 
and its author?
Have you ever read it before, or
is this your first reading?
Have you seen any of the TV
or movie versions?

I first read this novel around the age of 17, when I was still in high school, and it affected me profoundly at the time.  From its very first pages, I could see that this was a novel of passion, not only of the senses,  but of the intellect, as well. Jane is a very powerful character, although she does not see herself that way. Even from her childhood, she defiantly  challenges the status quo, insisting throughout on her right to be true to her own self, just as adamantly as she throws herself into her love for Edward Rochester.

The romance between Jane and Rochester immediately became my ideal for what constitutes a true romantic relationship. Such a relationship involves not only the physical aspects, but intellectual and spiritual ones, as well.

When I looked up the author of this remarkable novel, I was surprised at her background. She was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1816, the daughter of an Anglican clergyman, and had five siblings. She had a rather sheltered, unhappy life. She and her sisters, Emily and Anne, embody the Bronte family's genius.

Although this is only my second complete reading of the novel, I have, from time to time throughout the years, read favorite passages from it. I am now determined to re-read it completely many more times, so as to savor the process of Jane's growth as the story develops.

As for the TV and movie versions, I have only seen two -- the 1944 film, starring Joan Fontaine and  Orson Welles, as well as the 1970 TV movie, starring Susannah York and George C. Scott. I have recently purchased the 1983 British TV serial, starring Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton, which I have to see as soon as possible! And, of course, I fully intend to see the 2011 film version, as well! The stars are Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.

Week 1  Discussion Questions 
Reading: Chapters 1 - 5
(Questions provided by
A Night's Dream of Books)

Participants need not answer
all six questions, but are free to
select three of them.


1.) The novel opens on a very dreary, rainy November afternoon. How do you think this contributes to the general mood of the first chapter?

2.) What literary function do curtains and draperies have in the opening chapters?

3.) Mrs. Reed's cruelty would have been noticed and reported, had it taken place in our contemporary society. What factors do you think might have contributed to its tacit acceptance at the time?

4.) Bessie's attitude toward Jane is inconsistent; at times, she's kind toward the child, while at others, she scolds her unfairly. Why do you think she acts this way?

5.) Jane speaks more like an adult than a child, especially in the scene with Mrs. Reed, after Brocklehurst leaves. Do you think this is because she's a very intelligent, precocious child, or is this simply an unrealistic part of the novel?

6.) How did Bronte show hypocritical vs. true Christian behaviors in the characters of Mr. Brocklehurst and Miss Temple?

Post & Reading Schedule

Announcement/Signup Post
Sept. 9th
A Night's Dream of Books
Babbling Books

Week 1: Sept. 22nd

Reading: Chapters 1 - 5
Thoughts on Reading Jane Eyre 
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
A Night's Dream of Books

Week 2: Sept. 29th

Reading: Chapters 6 -10
Discussion Questions: Chapters 1 - 5
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books

Week 3: Oct. 6th

Reading: Chapters 11 - 14
Discussion Questions: Chapters 6 - 10
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
A Night's Dream of Books

Week 4: Oct. 13th

Reading: Chapters 15 - 19
Discussion Questions: Chapters 11 - 14
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books

Week 5: Oct. 20th

Reading: Chapters 20 - 23
Discussion Questions: Chapters 15 - 19
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
A Night's Dream of Books

Week 6: Oct. 27th

Reading: Chapters 24 - 28
Discussion Questions: Chapters 20 - 23
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books

Week 7: Nov. 3rd

Reading: Chapters 29 - 33
Discussion Questions: Chapters 24 - 28
Discussion Question for Next Week:
A Night's Dream of Books

Week 8: Nov. 10th

Reading: Chapters 34 - 38
Discussion Questions: Chapters 29 - 33
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books

Week 9: Nov. 17th

Discussion Questions, Chapters 34 - 38

Week 9: Nov. 21st

Book Reviews Posted

There's still time to join in!
The original signup 
post is HERE.
Be sure to link up for 
today's post in the
Linky Widget below!


  1. So it begins Maria. Thanks again for all your hard work on this.

    I am progressing through the book and I am beginning to see how powerful a work it is.

    The questions for this week are super!

    1. Hey, Brian!

      YAY!! I'm so excited!! And you're very welcome! It was, and is, truly a labor of love!

      Yes, this is a truly powerful novel!! Bronte addresses several topics of great social importance within this one novel, child abuse and religious hypocrisy among them, as well as feminism, of course.

      Thanks for the compliment on my questions, as well as for co-hosting this with me!! : )

  2. It is good to return to this book due to both the fond memories reading it brings to mind and the new aspects that I am discovering as I read it again. Like all great novels it has many layers of meaning and much to say to the reader. Thanks for hosting this read-along!

    1. Hi, James!

      Yes, it is indeed good to re-read this book, for the reasons you mention! When one is reading a masterpiece like this classic, one's own life experiences interact with the events of the novel. Thus, one finds new meanings, and nuances of meaning, every time one delves into it again.

      You're very welcome for the hosting! I'm also very happy and grateful that Brian is hosting it with me! : )

  3. I did not realize we had to make a post on our blog. I had to wait until I have enough time to devote to making a post.

    I just got notified by my library that the audio book is ready to be picked up. I can't wait!!!


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