Monday, May 9, 2011

The Last Little Bit of Jane Eyre.

When I'm reading, I keep a small stack of post-it tabs next to me so I can mark passages as I go. Often, I look back at the places I mark as I am drafting posts and wonder, "why did I mark this?"But going back to see what I have marked is a whole other journey. I can tell what kind of mood I was in when I was reading. Sometimes, words of inspiration were marked. Other times, I mark things that made me chuckle, or appreciate the skill of the writer in placing together such perfect phrases.

Sometimes I don't mark anything in a book. Sometimes, the idea of stopping to mark something hinders my enjoyment of it, so I just keep reading. It is an imperfect system, but it works for me.

I am talking about my marking skills to bring you back to a conversation about the lovely Jane Eyre, which I feel I need to write just one more post about. There was a particular passage that I loved so much that I have randomly picked up the book multiple times since finishing it just to read it. It is a passage that I posted on facebook out of love, discussed with my husband, and have simply savored over the last couple of weeks since setting Jane Eyre back on the shelf. This is the passage I am talking about;

"I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest - blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character - perfect concord is the result."

There is something so real in this passage that is simply speaks to me. I have not been married for ten years (a few months over a year now), but I feel like I completely understand what Bronte wrote here. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. Shouldn't all couples feel that way?

I know that I am an extremely lucky girl, to have a man like my husband. He truly understands me and while we do have our differences, we have a great marriage that rests firmly on our love for one another. When Bronte writes, To be together is for us to be at once free as in solitude, as gay as in company. *sigh* I KNOW that feeling, and I love the Bronte captures that connection between two people who love each other so clearly.

I think that is what I loved most about Jane Eyre. Even with all of the twists and turns in the novel, it was, at its core, a novel about two individuals destined to fall in love and be with one another. The romantic in me loves that notion. I did feel that Rochester and Jane were suited and their passion fit their story. It makes my heart swell when I read that passage-knowing that through struggles and pain, they managed to remember the one thing that brought them together: love.

I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine.

Just another example of how powerful literature can be, and why we should all cherish these words.

Has there ever been a passage or line in a book that has stuck with you? What was it?


  1. That's such a beautiful fragment, it's one of Jane Eyre's parts that stuck with me too. As someone who's never been in love, it's encouraging to know that the feeling doesn't only stay in books.
    There are a lot of lines and passages that have marked me throughout the years. Namely, basically the entirety of Wuthering Heights and this fragment of David Copperfiel:

    "Early in the morning, I sauntered through the dear old tranquil streets, and again mingled with the shadows of the venerable gateways and churches. The rooks were sailing about the cathedral towers; and the towers themselves, overlooking many a long unaltered mile of the rich country and its pleasant streams, were cutting the bright morning air, as if there were no such thing as change on earth. Yet the bells, when they sounded, told me sorrowfully of change in everything; told me of their own age, and my pretty Dora’s youth; and of the many, never old, who had lived and loved and died, while the reverberations of the bells had hummed through the rusty armour of the Black Prince hanging up within, and, motes upon the deep of Time, had lost themselves in air, as circles do in water."

    There's something so true and stunning about the way it describes time. I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, but I've reread this particular passage more times than I care to admit.

  2. Lovely passages - both.

    I'm feeling an urge to start a Tumblr, like the one Rebecca Reid has, to record favorite quotes? But I'm not sure it's as organized as Wordpress. Will have to think -- maybe tie it all together on my main blog.

    One of my favorite passages -- always -- is this one from Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa -

    “If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?” – Chapter Four, A Gazelle

  3. I am afraid I have a terrible memory for specific passages in books--I mark passages I adore, perhaps write them out, and then forget about them a few weeks later. I heard someone comment recently that he doesn't remember books so much as the "feeling" of the book, and I think perhaps I might be a bit like that (although with a better memory for the plot!). This is one of the reasons I'm planning on starting a commonplace book (soon, soon--I just need the time to get started) so that I can keep such lovely passages as you and others have posted.

  4. This is the first passage that came to mind. When I was a senior in college, I read it over and over and over again (this is only a small piece of the larger section of several pages I would read). It comes from The Return of the King:

    "'Then you think that the Darkness is coming?' said Eowyn. 'Darkness Unescapable?' And suddenly she drew close to him.

    'No,' said Faramir, looking into her face. 'It was but a picture in the mind. I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!' And he stooped and kissed her brow.

    And so they stood on the walls of the City of Gondor, and a great wind rose and blew, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out mingling in the air. And the Shadow departed, and the Sun was unveiled, and the light leaped forth; and the waters of Anduin shone like silver, and in all the houses of the City men sang for the joy that welled up in their hearts from what source they could not tell."

    I always loved the bit about their hair blowing in the wind...

  5. When I read this for the first time I remember thinking "I hope I experience that someday." And now I do feel I have that with Jason. Jane Eyre will always be a special book to me because I read it right before Jason and I started dating and he was definitely in the back of my mind while I read this passage. Lucky for me it worked out!

  6. beatiful passage. I can also relate. Except neither my husband or I ever want to be in company! We'd much rather be home together. IT's a great life.