I have to confess, I didn’t read Jane Eyre by 19th century English writer Charlotte Brontë until I was in my twenties. But I did see the 1943 film adaptation with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles when I was 10, and it had a huge impact on me. I had seen a few “love” films on the TV by then; Elvis Presley’s Hawaii movies, Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday… Things like that.
When I saw “Jane Eyre”, also on the telly, even at that young age I recognized her strength and independence of character, without realizing how ahead of the times she was. It resonated with me and I felt identified in ways I couldn’t explain. Some others I could even then. I remember thinking: This is real love. This is what awaits me. Oh, crap.
Vivi, December 7, 2021
Excerpt from chapter 4, Jane Eyre, 1847, Charlotte Brontë
“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,» he began, «especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?»
«They go to hell,» was my ready and orthodox answer.
«And what is hell? Can you tell me that?»
«A pit full of fire.»
«And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there forever?»
«What must you do to avoid it?»
I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: «I must keep in good health and not die.”
Screenshot of Joan Fontaine from the theatrical trailer for the 1943 film Jane Eyre
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