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Jane Eyre

I went to watch the latest adaptation of Jane Eyre last night. I had been a little apprehensive - how could it possibly be told from a unique enough angle that would differentiate it from all the others? Well, it wasn't - and yet it worked fine. This gothic story is powerful enough not to need any new fireworks. The chronology was spliced somewhat though - a meek attempt at a different angle. It opens with Jane running from Thornfield, and on towards the evangelical St. John Rivers. It then weaves in, via flashback, her time with the Reeds, and on to Lowood. The cinematography of the moors is moody and misty enough. And Judy Dench as the housekeeper is wonderful; a great Yorkshire accent. The dynamics between Jane and Rochester is well maintained - and I shed tears towards the end as she returns to him. Yet. And yet - what struck me about the story was just how much it was the desire of a woman - Charlotte Bronte. It is, through and through, her projected desire - of how things should have been for her. It serves as a testament of how she suffered from the curse of unrequited love, which she set out less dramatically in Villette. Charlotte just wanted a soul mate - one who saw her as she felt herself to be; plain yet powerful and deserving, yet perplexed that others couldn't see this but only as she looked; the plain governess. Charlotte never got her Rochester in real life - instead she had to make do with the St. John Rivers type - and then she died not long after. One can't say that the failure to have her soul's desires met caused her death - but therein lies the true story - that life is having to make do with St. John when we'd rather have the Rochester. And Charlotte knew this; she could only imagine it to be possible if she had more power in relation to the object of her desire - and the power could only be had if Rochester was not the full man that he was when they met. Blind, limping Rochester whose love - and gratitude - she can be more certain of.

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I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

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