I’m sorry if I keep changing themes. I’m trying to figure out which one will be just right. Your patience is appreciated!
Yes, I am going to follow up a literary crush with another literary crush. Rochester makes a close second on my list (and I mean close) and I can understand why some people might ask why. In the book he isn’t a dashing young fellow rambling about the countryside. He’s no knight in shining armor. He’s not even handsome. He is an older man (quite near his forties which really doesn’t bother me in the slightest) with not a hope in the world for good looks, and he has a huge skeleton in his closet (which is actually a tower in his house). I was going to post a spoiler alert, but if you’ve found this, then you’ve had to have read the book or seen one of the movies, so just run with me. Anyways, in spite of all the downfalls to dear old Mr. Rochester, I still can’t help but love him.
Alright, I will admit, I do think that Toby Stephens makes a B-E-A-U-TIFUL Rochester, though I will bet (at least among my friends) that not so many others would think him as attractive as I find him. And yes, this may have some bearing as to what I think about the man as a whole, but truly, he is a beautiful kind of character. He is too clever by far and I love that he speaks French (parce que je parle francais aussi) and he is so very kind and generous. He is not too generous, however, to poke fun at his stuck-up neighbors. It’s quite endearing. Not so endearing that in doing it he hurt Jane, but I can find it in my heart to forgive him because he was just testing the waters. And he does love her. Oh boy, does he love his Janet. I love that he calls her that. I love his nicknames for her. Ugh.
Sorry, sorry; I will get back on track. His love for Jane, let’s go back to that, because it is beautiful. I mean really. From the first, she had a hold on him. She was so unlike anything he had encountered in a woman before that, and definitely different from the raving lunatic he had locked up in the attic. If you haven’t read this, then run away RUN AWAY NOW because I’m spoiling the whole thing. She was quiet and slightly unsure of herself and completely alone, and he could care less. He saw her potential and exploited it from the beginning. He wanted to see her spread the wings she had tucked so tightly against her sides. He wasn’t trying to change her, which is one of the best parts about it - he was tempting a part of her out into the open, allowing her to be more complete. He treats her as an equal even though she is about 20 years his junior, and she is the only one who can keep him at Thornfield (where he has never remained for very long for almost the whole of his adult life).
Rochester also has a gorgeous sense of poetry. I mean, good grief. “Sometimes I have the strangest feeling about you. Especially when you are near me as you are now. It feels as though I had a string tied here under my left rib where my heart is, tightly knotted to you in a similar fashion. And when you go, with all that distance between us, I am afraid that this cord will be snapped, and I shall bleed inwardly.” That is a beautiful notion. And isn’t that what we all hope for when we hope for love? When he says things like that, I could easily forgive him his deception. And really can you blame him? He didn’t kill his wife. He could have sent her to a cold, damp house where she would have easily caught some deadly fever and be rid of her. Instead, he gives her a room in the house, a keeper, and that’s a lot considering the extent of her condition. That was, when all is said and done, that is tender treatment. Technically, she has the entire house because he will never stay.
Were I Jane, I probably would have been angry for the fact that he did not tell me anything. I would rather be told that she existed, but I have to remind myself that times were different (and although I think myself a good bit like Jane, we are not the same woman). She also needed a little bit of independence, to secure herself and solidify this new person she had been in the process of becoming. It was right that she left. And I love, love, love that Rochester never left Thornfield after she ran away (until his wife burned the place down, *sob*) so that he would be there when she returned. Yes, I know, this isn’t explicitly said, but I have a feeling that this sort of thing was going through his head. And it’s easily surmised. He was a travelling man before her; he never cared to stay, and when she had been gone for a year (I believe it was a year, but I’m going off of memory) he was still in the area. He had to have been waiting for her, even though he thought there was no hope. Ugh. It hurts so wonderfully to think of! (Please, please don’t judge me)
I will recommend Jane Eyre to you, just as I did Pride and Prejudice. It is such an excellent book, although the Brontes are always far more dark than most of their counterparts. Wuthering Heights is an excellent example of this, though keep in mind that was Emily and not Charlotte. But they are all excellent romances with more than just romance to think on. They are (and here I’ll turn into an English teacher) UNIVERSAL. Give it a shot. Or watch the 2006 miniseries with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. Do ittttt. And if you do, let me know. I would love to discuss it with someone. And if there are requests for a character, inbox me. I’m open, though I can’t promise I’ll always know the character you request. Ciao!