Guest Post by M.J. Moores, OCT. Author. Editor.
What allows the works of Charlotte Bronte to stand the test of time is not a hard-wrought literary perfection but the stark reality and relatability of her characters and how the truth of her words echo not only within the construct of her books but through life and time too.
If a writer today tried to emulate Charlotte’s writing style, no matter how good the book, it would always receive criticism for attempting to copy or put on airs, or simply be condemned to “over writing.” What many aspiring writers need to take away from her works is not sentence structure, grammar or linguistic nuances – no. What we all need to remember is that Charlotte spoke to readers, and readers, from any century, love knowing they matter.
I firmly believe that this is precisely why the novel Jane Eyre continues to be read and loved the world over. Charlotte exposes humanity: loss, abuse, illness, hardship, poverty – these things don’t change or evolve from one decade to the next. Charlotte does not preach, as many authors did (and still do); she peels back and reveals life in all its raw glory.
Why does this matter?
Because the means is the message and the message is the means – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Jane is not just a tortured orphan… she’s surrounded by love given to others, fear of difference and abuses of the body and mind. We watch as this little girl desperately tries to survive in a beautiful home where family is the enemy.
Even when hope shines in the face of those who do not know her, like the doctor sent to treat her after her breakdown who suggests sending Jane away to school, her ability to start anew disappears. When her Aunt “sews aversion and unkindness along [her] future path,” speaking ill of Jane to the head of the school she’s dispatched to, life seems futile.
At school Jane faces abysmally poor conditions which force her to witness the death of her best friend. Yet, amidst loss and a strict regimen she finds the ability to stand up for herself. When her favourite teacher, Miss Temple, leaves the school to be married, Jane no longer takes pity on herself – she makes a conscious decision to live the best life she can – as Miss Temple had.
These and other moments of adversity mold and shape Jane into the very woman who cannot only learn to love again, but willingly forsake that love to do what’s right. Bronte purposefully guides the reader through Jane’s early days to bring bearing to the woman she has become. We would be less likely to fall in love alongside her, revel in her trepidations and support her final decisions – feel her pain but know there is no other choice she could have made without that early understanding.
Ultimately, Brontë allows us to hope when Jane looses everything and she cannot see beyond her fall. But even hope is imperfect – and that slap in the face means more to a reader for its basis in truth than some Cinderella fairy-tale ever will.
As writers we need to tap into our humanity and the grim reality of life before hope will ever amount to any sense of truth in our stories.
As readers we thrive on having survived a life of cyclical decimation and rebirth – on having been Jane Eyre.
About the Author
M. J. Moores began her career as an English teacher in Ontario, Canada. Her love of storytelling and passion for writing has stayed with her since the age of nine. M. J. relishes tales of adventure and journeys of self-realization. She enjoys writing in a variety of genres but speculative fiction remains her all time favourite. M.J. is a regular contributor to Authors Publish Magazine and she runs an Emerging Authors website called Infinite Pathways. Her debut novel Time’s Tempest is currently available in print and on Kindle through Amazon.
Connect With M.J. Online :
3 thoughts on “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger: A Life Lesson We All Wish Were True (Guest Post On Jane Eyre)”
Such an amazing look into Jane Eyre! Thank you!
If you can believe it, I watched the black and white movie of Jane Eyre when I was – oh – maybe 13 yrs old and the next week I went out and bought the book… somehow I knew even then that the book would be better than the movie lol! Her story has stayed with me ever since 😀
Great post! I have actually never read Jane Eyre, but it is on my TBR.