Fire & Eyre

Most movies adapted from books turn out to betray the essence of the novel (for me, the recent movie ‘Norwegian Wood’ comes to mind) And then once in a while, there comes a movie which captures the delicate dance from print to screen so beautifully that the film turns out to be exactly all you have imagined the novel to be. Last Saturday, I experienced this when I watched the latest movie adaptation of ‘Jane Eyre’.

‘Jane Eyre’ is one of my all-time favourite books and I have always been fascinated by this bildungsroman and the eponymous heroine’s central struggle between Passion and Reason. There are many quotes and passages throughout the book that touch on this theme, but one remains in my mind some 14 years after first reading the book: “Feeling without judgment is a washy draught indeed; but judgment untempered by feeling is too bitter and husky a morsel for human deglutition.” And these two seemingly polar forces are represented in the novel by Mr Rochester on the one hand, and St. John Rivers on the other. In the end, Jane marries Rochester (that famous line of the last chapter: “Reader, I married him”), but interestingly it is St. John Rivers who gets the final mention in the novel — perhaps an attempt by Charlotte Bronte to reconcile this inherent conflict?

There are also many interesting symbols and motifs dotted throughout the novel, the most significant one to me being those related to the elements (fire, ice and earth…hence the title of this blogpost). Cary Fukunaga’s ‘Jane Eyre’ is a wonderful movie that brought back many fond memories of the day I first read this novel.

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."

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~ by irwin on May 30, 2011.

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