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14 January 2006

Reading Jane Eyre...

again. It's something I used to do regularly, every couple of years. The first time I read it I was 14. The story of this lost young girl had affected me deeply, changed me, I believe. Childhood was something less than idyllic for me and while I was far from rebellious or difficult, I found it impossible to knuckle under to the concept of being oppressed. My innate sense of justice forbade it, an innate sense I found I shared with Bronte's heroine.

She was a lost young girl but lost in the world-- orphaned, rootless, subsisting on crumbs of affection-- not lost within herself. She governed herself by certain laws and principles independent of popular opinion. She was able to submit without subjugation, to assert her will without dominating.

Jane Eyre was something new for the time, and she is unique still. As we look around at women in fiction, the complexity of her character and strength of her will put her up there where the air is very rare indeed.

These are my thoughts on reading her story again, for the first time in eight years.
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