"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë

La mayor de las Brontë cautivó a los lectores de la época victoriana con esta apasionada historia sobre una joven huérfana en busca de la igualdad y la libertad, obra maestra de la literatura romántica y precursora del feminismo.

Julian Earwaker

Bandera UK
Daniel Francis

Speaker (UK accent)

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Sarah Davison

Speaker (UK accent)

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Jane Eyre is Charlotte Brontë’s most-loved novel. Published in 1847 under the pseudonym Currer Bell, it tells the story of a young woman in Victorian Britain who shows extraordinary virtue and resilience despite her humble background. The novel challenges the notion of male privilege and power and is a study of childhood trauma, isolation, morality and the unpredictability of love.

A QUIET READ

The novel opens when Jane is a ten-year-old orphan who lives with her uncle’s family. Small and “plain”, Jane is well-behaved, but can do nothing to please her aunt, Mrs. Reed. Jane is lonely and constantly bullied by young John Reed, especially when he finds her reading:

“‘You have no business to take our books; you are a dependent, mamma says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not live here with gentlemen’s children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mamma’s expense.’”

“—No tienes por qué coger nuestros libros; dependes de nosotros, dice mamá; no tienes dinero, pues tu padre no te dejó nada, y deberías estar pidiendo limosna, no viviendo aquí con nosotros, hijos de un caballero, comiendo lo que comemos nosotros y llevando ropa comprada por nuestra querida madre.”

NOT A LIAR

Falsely accused of lying, Jane confronts Mrs. Reed and is sent away to Lowood School, where the pupils are treated badly. Jane studies hard and later begins to teach at Lowood, before applying for a job as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There she meets her employer, the “brooding” Edward Rochester. When Jane is invited to join him in the dining room, she cannot help but study his looks.

 

“‘You examine me, Miss Eyre,’ said he: ‘do you think me handsome?’

I should, if I had deliberated, have replied to this question by something conventionally vague and polite; but the answer somehow slipped from my tongue before I was aware, ‘No, sir.’

‘Ah! By my word! there is something singular about you,’ said he ...”

“—Me examina usted, señorita Eyre —dijo—. ¿Me considera guapo?

Si lo hubiera pensado, habría contestado a su pregunta con una evasiva convencional y cortés, pero la respuesta se me escapó de la boca antes de darme cuenta:

—No, señor.

—¡Vaya, vaya! hay algo excepcional en usted —dijo”.”

DEMONIC

Although Jane and Mr. Rochester are attracted to each other, romance is unlikely: he is much older and of a higher social class. Meanwhile, Jane is haunted by sounds that come from a locked room on the third floor at Thornfield. One night, her dreams are disturbed by someone, or something, outside her bedroom door.

Jane Eyre

 

“This was a demonic laugh – low, suppressed, and deep – uttered, as it seemed, at the very keyhole of my chamber-door [...] I rose, looked round, and could see nothing; while, as I still gazed, the unnatural sound was reiterated: and I knew it came from behind the panels. My first impulse was to rise and fasten the bolt; my next again to cry out, ‘Who is there?’”

“Fue una carcajada demoníaca, queda, reprimida y grave, que pareció provenir de la misma cerradura de mi puerta. [...] Me levanté y miré alrededor, pero no pude ver nada. Mientras miraba fijamente, se repitió el sonido antinatural y me di cuenta de que venía de detrás de los paneles. Mi primer impulso fue levantarme y echar el cerrojo, y el siguiente, gritar:

—¿Quién está ahí?.”

TEMPTATION

One night, Jane finds Mr. Rochester’s bedroom on fire, and bravely rescues him. Will the flames ignite their passion? And who is the tragic figure locked away on the third floor of Thornfield Hall? When Jane discovers the truth, she leaves. She rejects an offer of marriage and later inherits a fortune. While drawn to Thornfield and to Mr. Rochester, Jane remains true to her principles.

“‘The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God, sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad — as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be.”

“Cuanto más solitaria, sin amigos y sin apoyo, más me respetaré a mí misma. Observaré la ley de Dios, sancionada por el hombre. Sostendré los principios que seguía cuando estaba cuerda, antes de estar loca como lo estoy ahora. Las leyes y los principios no son para los momentos en los que no hay tentaciones; son para momentos como éste, cuando se rebelan el cuerpo y el alma contra su severidad. Son rigurosos, pero no los violaré.”

PASSION AND DRAMA

Victorian readers were enthralled by the passion and drama of Jane Eyre but shocked by Jane’s refusal to serve the man she loved and her desire for equality and independence. Robert Southey, the poet laureate, once advised Charlotte Brontë that “literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life.” Fortunately, she chose to ignore him.

468 march 2024 ESP

Este artículo pertenece al número de march 2024 de la revista Speak Up.

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