If you have not read Jane Eyre, believe me when I say, you're missing out! It is worth downloading from audible or iTunes and listening to on the commute to work or while traveling for the holidays. When I finally read the book after being obsessed with about 3 version of the film, I literally told my husband (and anyone who would listen) that it was one million times better than the movie.
Personally, the book somehow left me feeling empowered and with some strange new clarity. I took a moment to make out with my husband, read my bible and commune with my creator.
I personally surmised many of the points raised in the Huff Post article, 11 Lessons That 'Jane Eyre' Can Teach Every 21st Century Woman About How To Live Well. The list is worth reading and so is the book.
Check out the article for the complete list, but here are my favorites:
1. You can overcome your past, no matter how bad it is. Jane Eyre is tortured and made miserable as a child by her horrible relatives. I seriously cried through the whole first half of the book at how cruel the people who raised her were. Her cousin, John, is the worst. He constantly reminds her that she's an orphan, the children exclude her from their games, she is punished by being locked in the room that her uncle died in. Jane at first harbors grudges. She confronts her aunt before she leaves for boarding school, and essentially cuts this family out of her life. Who wouldn't? But she learns a lot about letting go when she is sent to boarding school and befriends a sickly girl named Helen. As Helen notes, "“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
4. Loving and respecting yourself is essential, and is the key to independence. When that naggy inner voice we all have in our heads confronts Jane and asks her who will care for her now that she has left Rochester, she responds with, “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” Jane knows that marrying this man, who is already married to another, is wrong, no matter how much she loves him. She has too much love and respect for herself to marry someone who has so misled her (although I know, I know. She DOES marry him later. But by that point, she has had enough time to reflect on and think about the situation thoroughly and come to her own conclusions, rather than let Rochester convince her that marrying would be okay).