Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some Women Are Gluttons For Punishment, Or My Interpretation Of Jane Eyre Accompanied By WIP Photos

I spent 4 hours today watching the BBC mini-series version of Jane Eyre starring Timothy Dalton. And it provoked lots of thought, let me tell you!

First of all, let me say that I was an English major for 2 of my 4 years at college. I started out as a psychology major, but changed it after the first year when I discovered a true love for literature. I had always excelled at English in high school, but this was a whole new world and I was ecstatic. For 2 years I was ecstatic until I realized that unless I did actually manage to marry and live happily ever after, I was likely to wait tables for the rest of my life. So my senior year, which was supposed to be all electives and a real blow-off year, I went back to psychology and finished all the degree requirements in that year. While my career has nothing to do with literature, it is still something I really like.

That being said, I sat down to watch Jane Eyre. I vaguely remembered the storyline...after so many of those period novels, and after the passage of 25 years (has it really been that long?!) things do become a little fuzzy in the mind...

If you are not familiar with the story of Jane Eyre and want to be here is a synopsis...mine that follows is a tad different.

So she goes to Rochester's house to be a governess to his ward and from the very first he is a jerk and talks to her worse than the servants. Somehow, she finds this charming, and despite being ridiculed, yelled at and talked down to, she falls in love with him. I can see how, him being such a prince and all (ahem). While she is living in this house and falling in love, she hears strange laughter from the 2nd floor and is not allowed to go up there. Red flag#1. Then in the night, someone sets fire to Rochester's bed with him in it. Coupled with the strange laughter, this should be a burning (no pun intended) red flag #2. He's evasive and won't answer any questions about it. Then a visitor goes to see someone on that upper floor and ends up torn up from bite marks while there. That is not only #3 but a most definite in out of there. But no. Meanwhile, he is planning to marry some stuck-up witch from down the road and this just breaks her heart. I'd call it good fortune and a pair that deserve each other, but anyway. So after leading her to believe that he is in love with this beast Blanche while she (Jane) is proclaiming her love for him, he proposes to her instead and admits to just trying to make her fall more madly in love with him. Too bad that the burning bed thing didn't work out.

Apparently this is just good courtship, because in spite of the fact that he is not honest about his feelings and toys with hers, and there is maniacal laughter from the upper parts of the house, and he refuses to do anything about the person who tried to set his bed on fire, she is eager to marry him. I would not spend one night in that bed after it was set on fire and the pyromaniac is still lose in the house. But that's just me.

So the happy day arrives, and just in time to prevent the ceremony arrives an attorney to announce that Rochester is already married to someone named Bertha and cannot marry Jane. They all trudge back to the house and go in the upper room where his poor deranged wife is confined (except for when she is burning bedrooms of course) and she turns into a snarling animal at the sight of her husband...which actually may be an argument in favor of her sanity. Jane is so overcome that he flees the house. First sensible thing that she does. And the last.

She is taken in by 3 siblings who turn out to be her cousins who have just discovered that they have lost the inheritance they were expecting to another relative. Guess who the relative is? And because she is such a good person, she divides the inheritance - which was all hers- 4 ways so that they each are rich. Now, I'm all about family, but if I had just been through what she had been through, no way would I part with a cent of that money until I figured my life out. Jane is a good person, just somewhat misguided (or else I am mercenary, you decide).

So these cousins are living in harmony and doing well, and the male has decided to go overseas to be a missionary and wants her to come with his wife. Hopefully they were not actually first cousins. I would not want to see the offspring of that. She is not in love however, and will not marry him.

Now, let's stop and consider a moment. Love has led her to almost make a bigamous marriage to a man who keeps his insane wife locked up in the upper reaches of his house (except of course when she escapes to try to kill him and tears hunks of flesh out of her own brother when he comes to visit) At some point on some of these country walks, she perhaps should have come to realize that her man-picker is broken. This new one has a quarter of her fortune and does not yell and as far as we know, is not married. I'd bet it all on that horse.

But while he is trying to convince her yet again, she gets a good case of the hallucinations and hears her beloved's voice and goes running out into the fields yelling "where are you?". A good answer would be in the nuthouse, but alas, this is not true. So she is inspired to go searching for him, and finds that his manor where he had lived with his wife and his wife-to-be has burned to the ground. Using all the clues we've uncovered so far, who do you think was the arsonist? Yep, Bertha the Batty, playing with fire. However, Rochester did try to run back into the blaze to save Bertha...she ended up running from him and jumping to her death. See how she may not be so insane after all? In the process he has lost his sight and one of his hands. He has moved to some little secluded place with only 2 servants. So she goes there to find him, and takes a tea tray into him in place of the female servant. Once he figures out who she is, he STILL raises his voice to her and talks badly to her.

This would have been it for me. I would have grabbed that tea tray in both hands, swung it and cracked him upside the head and told him he better adjust his tone. She, however, falls to kissing on him and professes her love.

AND SHE MARRIED HIM! After the fates and destinies gave her all those chances to get away!

The moral is that some women are gluttons for punishment.

I had decided to get out one of my (many) WIPs to work on called Sense and Sensibility. It seems to be an especially appropriate thing to stitch.

This I where I started:

And this is where I ended:

I think I'll watch Wuthering Heights next...Cathy and Heathcliff are crazy too if memory serves.


tkdquintmom said...

Yes, memory does serve you correctly! LOL...The WIP is lovely.

Lori-Ann said...

You know... I don't know alot af history about literature (ok, nothing)... but were these books published when there was no television or soap operas?? because I'm thinking this may have served the purpose in it's day.

Scandelous and you want to shake sense into the women! LOL... but like a train wreck in motion... you just can't tear yourself away.

Keep going!!... It will eventually be all stitched up.

I loved Wuthering Heights... but if it were not mandatory reading in school, I might never have.

I never enjoy shakespear too much though. I understoodeth some on my own, but alas... the main point often eluded my senses. ;oD LOL.

mumzy said...

You are one smart lady to have accomplished your psychology degree in that last year. I did not do well in English literature in high school as I just learned the english language in Grade 11, when I went from a complete French to a complete English school. That year, I also got going with an English guy who later ended up as my hubby.

Have a great day!

Rachel S said...

Perhaps this is why I was never that big a fan of that book. But I did like Sense and Sensibility. my favorite of those Regency books was Vanity Fair. Becky Sharp is awesome. And the A&E version of that (probably a BBC version, really) is good.

Pumpkin said...

I know we watched a few of the movies but I don't remember anything before she moves in with her cousins. Sadly, I don't think some women have improved over time and are still gluttons for punishment :oS

Love your WIP and can't wait to see more photos :o)