Saturday, 4 August 2012

A curious sort of bird.

'I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close-set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high.
                                                                                   Mr Rochester,(about Jane Eyre)'Jane Eyre'

The first time I experienced Jane Eyre was when I was about 10 and on holiday in France, I had asked my Mum 'what is your favourite book of all time' she replied without hesitation 'Jane Eyre' she then proceeded to tell me a narrative of the story.A few days later she read me the first two chapters and do you know what? It went straight over my head- all I remember from that first reading was that Jane was trying to read a book about birds.A few years later my Jane Eyre interest grew after visiting the Haworth where the Brontës lived, I tried in vain to read Jane Eyre; but found it very difficult as I was probably only 12 at the time. Even though I couldn't quite read Jane Eyre I could definitely watch it. I throughly enjoyed the BBC adaption with Ruth Wilson, and also managed to see the 1997 and 1944 adaptations which I also enjoyed. So I knew the story well, very well. But still I couldn't quite get through the 5th chapter. Then In 2011 not being able to watch Jane Eyre in the cinema because every seat was booked up prompted me to read the book right to the end, and I did. Half way through the book it soared into my top 5 book list. It moved me to tears several times and changed my view of equality forever. I knew before I read Jane Eyre that women and men should be treated equal, of course. But I never knew how much I owed to the Women of the past who weren't treated as equal to men. Jane and Charlotte Brontë herself prove how trapped Women living in the past where, This quote for me encapsulates how Women living in the 19th Century may of felt-

'Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.'
I feel as a female living in 21st century Britain I owe the women of the past to do whatever I choose, write what I choose, marry If I choose, Live how I choose.I am not saying there in no inequality between genders now, there is, and there are still things that need to be changed. But for me I'll never stop owing Jane Eyre - even though she is fictional, I'll never stop owing the millions of women past and even present that are trapped, for my freedom to be the person I want when they couldn't or can't.


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