At this time of year when it’s colder than Mars in Manitoba, disappearing into a book is a great way to be somewhere, anywhere else.
One of the places I return to most often in the winter, it seems, is Thornfield Hall and the world of Jane Eyre. The setting is wild, gothic and romantic, but Jane Eyre is no wilting Victorian damsel. She thinks deeply about her place in the world and what it means to be happy and free.
- “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
2. “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
3. “Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”
(The word automaton in a Bronte novel is just too much for my sci-fi, gothic loving heart)
4. “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
5. “If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”