December 22nd, 2011

jesus christ it's a lion get in the goth

Jane Eyre, Or: The Bride of Edward 'Crazypants' Rochester

I was hoping to finish this Tuesday, but I didn't manage it, I'm sorry! In the spirit of Christmas, I hope you can all forgive me, and celebrate a belated Gothic Tuesday with me.

For it's time to rock Jane Eyre, Gothic Tuesday style.

JANE EYRE: I am but a poor orphan, being brought up by relatives in a Gothic manor. You know what that means.
AUDIENCE: Not really, no. Not so much.
JANE EYRE: My relatives are evil. No poor orphans are ever brought up by nice people. Specially not in Gothic manors. What do you take this novel for?

EVIL RELATIVES: Jane, Jane, where are you? We want to persecute you!
EVIL RELATIVES: We were thinking first we'd physically abuse you, and then we'd lock you in the Red Room.
EVIL RELATIVES: Uh, yeah. This is a Gothic manor, hello.
JANE EYRE: Why are you persecuting me?
EVIL RELATIVES: We're your evil relatives? Really, Jane, try to keep up.
EVIL RELATIVES: Also you're not the least bit hot. We hate ugmos. We're just really, really shallow. And evil. Also that.
JANE EYRE: ... I shall have a fit. I mean this literally. Madness, red glare, black bars, death!
AUDIENCE: Things could look better for our heroine.

EVIL RELATIVES: Wake up, lazybones, you can't lie around in a terror and blood-loss-induced coma all day! We're sending you away.
JANE EYRE: Away... from the Gothic manor? That's not usually how it goes.
EVIL RELATIVES: You're going to a school. It's another large house... in a dark valley... in a dark wood.
JANE EYRE: Sounds like a Gothic manor to me.
EVIL RELATIVES: Enjoy the change of venue in your persecution!

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Jane Eyre made me have a lot of thoughts about Gothic boyfriends. Gothic boyfriends have secrets. But it is Rochester who is the king, the champion secret-keeper uncontested since 1847. Edward Fairfax Crazypants Rochester was keeping the quadruple (I love you) (my girlfriend is fake) (I have a crazy wife in the attic trying to kill us all) (PS this marriage ceremony is also fake) secret, while being pretty open about the crossdressing and all the hookers. (What a man!)

Guys, let's get this straight: I love Jane Eyre and indeed Rochester. I think he and Jane have great chemistry in the book. I love seeing people fall for each other through conversations. I think he's a compelling character and he brings out the best in her, she sparkles around him.

It's just a big problem that HE'S AN INSANE PERSON. One day Mrs Jane Rochester is going to come home from the modiste's with a charming new hat and he'll be all 'Hey baby. Hey, you might be wondering where the kids are. Funny story: I sold them to pirates.'

I am not the only one who has had this thought. There is a whole book of essays entitled Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?. And there's also a long line of Gothic heroes, acting all sinister like, keeping secrets.

I thought that it would be fun in Unspoken to reverse that: to have two people who are actually unable to keep secrets from each other, and see all the problems that causes.

The long tradition of people running around being totally crazy in Gothic novels is, of course, sacred to me.