JANE EYRE BY CHARLOTTE BRONTË
Rating: 4 stars
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Jane has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at the gloomy and forbidding Thornfield Hall and finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit who is hiding a terrifying secret. Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
I absolutely loved Jane Eyre. Characters like Jane Eyre who is brave, witty, kind, generous, passionate and independent are difficult to find. She is a comprehensive and an excellent representation of a feminist character who stands up for herself as well as for people she loves and cares for. Unlike other insufferable female protagonists of present-day literature, she fights for what she believes is right without being rude or cruel to others. She values love, righteousness, morals and gives equal importance to education. I as a reader found her character inspirational and quite relatable.
[SPOILERS] I hated the romance and thus the one star less rating. In Mrs Fairfax’s words, Mr Rochester was as old to be her father and treated her like a pet. He was hell-bent on finding a wife for himself, in search of who he travelled from continent to continent. Before he met with an accident, he wanted Jane to look pretty, dressed in fine clothes and jewels and as he lost his sight after the accident, he told her not to bother with the same. I’m sure every girl has a right and wishes to dress up and look pretty on her wedding day.
“The third day from this must be our wedding-day, Jane. Never mind fine clothes and jewels, now: all that is not worth a fillip.”
The writing style was different than I’m accustomed to reading and difficult to comprehend. The story was emotional and heart-touching but the ending was a little over the top for my liking. In my humble opinion, Jane married Mr Rochester out of pity and not out of love. Jane Eyre has been praised over time and I don’t have anything else other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
MAURICE BY E.M. FORSTER
Rating: 4 stars
“I’m an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort.”
Maurice is a tale of a gay young man whose unrequited love opened his heart and mind to his own sexual identity. Through his intimate relationship with Clive Durham, in times when homosexuality was considered a crime (it still is a criminal offence in several countries), he struggles to accept himself as he is and explains how he feels and in an attempt to stay true to himself goes against the society and its rules of class, wealth and politics.
“It comes to this then: there always have been people like me and always will be, and generally they have been persecuted.”
Maurice is more explicitly gay than any YA book I’ve ever read or than I expected it to be, considering the fact that it was written a century ago. Forster was gay and feared Maurice would end his career if it’s published in the year of its completion, 1914. So he requested Maurice be published only after his death along with a collection of short stories about homosexuality, The Life to Come.
I think Maurice is as relevant as any other book which represents homosexuality. Through Maurice, Forster hopes for a better time and place when and where people can be who they are without the fear of social, political and legal consequences.
Maurice has been both praised and criticised and I don’t have anything else to say that hasn’t been said already. This was my first Forster read and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was beautiful and emotional and I look forward to reading more of his books.
“I swear from the bottom of my heart I want to be healed. I want to be like other men, not this outcast whom nobody wants.”