Classic Literary Love: Jane & Rochester

Let's talk classic, classic literary couples for a moment here shall we? That's right. I'm talking Jane. Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre and Edward Fairfax Rochester to be exact. Reading this book never fails to leave me utterly spellbound. What more could you possibly want from a Charlotte Bronte Gothic Romance? A downtrodden, plucky yet pure governess meets a wealthy, wastrel aristocrat with the requisite mad wife hidden in the attic. It's got amnesia, ghosts, missing heiresses, witty conversation, and more angst than you can shake a stick at. Grab a chair and watch the sparks fly.Perhaps what makes Jane and Rochester so unforgettable is that they have to work ever so hard to have their happily ever after even though they see each other as their true home almost immediately. They have to surmount differences in class, in age, in *cough*experience*cough*, and they have to overcome that tiny detail that Rochester is already married and that Jane is his employee when they first meet. But they don't give up. Rochester continually prods her with his electric wit and charm while Jane staunchly resists even as she begins to find herself unfolding into this forthright and passionate creature before their very eyes. Take this outburst for example. Jane believes Rochester is going to be marrying the local, vapid beauty and finally gives in to her despair at his seeming indifference.
"Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!"
Of course, Rochester then makes Jane understand just how much he truly loves her and a multitude of stolen kisses and a proposal follow. Even though Rochester set out trying to bring the isolated and unloved Jane out of her shell, I think maybe she ends up surprising him with her quick rejoinders just a little.
"I am not an angel," I asserted; "and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me - for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate."
Ha! I truly love these two. She's not letting him get away with anything and that's why Jane and Rochester must be listed as one of my favorite Literary Love couples.

And even though the Hubby calls her 'duck-lips' I absolutely adore the recent Masterpiece adaptation. I highly recommend you give this swoon-worthy miniseries a go if only for the perfect characterization of Rochester.

Who is your favorite Classic literature duo? Nominate your favorite Literary Love couple here or in the comments.

10 comments:

Brenda said...

It's been a really long time since I've read Jane Eyre, so I only remember a couple of things about it. I need to do a re-read sometime. If only authors would just put a hold on writing books for awhile, maybe I'd have some time to catch up with everything I want to read! I guess there are worse problems to have. :)

Michelle said...

Brenda - yup. I have so many in my pile that fall into that category. But, man is Jane Eyre a goodie. Love it!

Angiegirl said...

Favorite classic? I usually find myself torn between Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from PERSUASION and Dorothea Brooke and Will Ladislaw from MIDDLEMARCH. They share that intense longing spread out over years of obstacles and pride keeping them apart. *suh-woon*

Chris said...

This is my favorite book so I agree with you completely. I love the mini-series too!

Michelle said...

Angie- I really need to read Middlemarch. That's one that's been on my list for some time now! But I do so love Persuasion!!

Chris - Isn't it just perfect? Love everything about that marvy book (and miniseries).

Holly said...

I tend to agree with Angie (though I need to read Middlemarch) and am quite stoked about THE LETTER post, but there's a special place in my heart for Jane and Rochester especially that adaptation. If you have time in your next visit we should have another get together. ;D

Angiegirl said...

I'll second that!

Michelle said...

Holly & Angie - you two are wholly awesome. And Yes! Planning an outing would be ideal!!

hardwriting said...

You know, I was not a huge fan of Rochester when I read Jane Eyre. He had grown on me a little by the end, but I still don't really love him. I just kept thinking, "My Lord, this guy is kind of a psycho." I should probably watch the Masterpiece adaptation-maybe it would redeem him a little to me! :)
-Makayla

Michelle said...

Makayla - Don't feel bad. Trust me, you are not alone in your feelings! But true, you should watch the Masterpiece adaptation - he is to die for and the humor really comes across too.