I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I love second-hand book stores. I have found great treasures there. It was in one such secondhand book shop where I found my copy of Jane Eyre.
I had heard a lot of good things about Jane Eyre but I never got to reading it myself. The copy I got had pages that turned yellow maybe years ago. The cover had multiple creases, the spine was a little bend. But still, the book drew me in. Maybe it reminded me of the old books I used to read in my school library.
I knew Jane Eyre is a classic book. Its ideas are probably the founding stones for feminism. But when I read the book, feminism was probably the last thing that came to my mind. For me, it was the story of a strong and confident woman.
Jane Eyre was not born so strong and confident. She went through a traumatic childhood. Being all alone in this world is not easy. But maybe this is what made her so strong. This is how she got her confidence. Because she didn’t have any other option. She didn’t have anyone to rely on other than herself. She didn’t have anyone to tell her how to navigate the complexities of the world.
She showed me the kind of strong and confident woman I wanted to become.
Jane Eyre is one character who made me realize that it is possible to be strong and still have emotions. In fact, Jane Eyre was strong because of her emotions. She never hid how she felt and she never apologized for how she felt. She, in fact, based her actions on her emotions instead of suppressing them like most of us are taught.
This book challenged a lot of teachings I had received thus far. And this book helped me question my own deep-rooted believes.
I read this book at a time when I was ready for its lessons. When I was starting to realize my lack of self-worth and my deep-rooted desire to seek external validation. This book did not magically transform me overnight. But it did show me other possibilities. It showed me a woman I can look up to. I am not trying to idolize Jane Eyre to become like her. But rather it gives me hope that I can become a better version of myself.