I took the day off today to collect myself: to reel in raw emotions and face them alone, to process and make sense of them. And who better to help me than she who escapes my emotional understanding: Jane Eyre.
Bronte, the Charlotte one, uses colons every other sentence. I thought perhaps she, being the creator of my recent inspiration, will find something of her own in this post: two vertically aligned dots used occasionally—the only homage I am able to pay.
. . .
I feel as though I’m in a fun house walking through a maze of mirrors that contort my self-image while confusing my sense of direction. Which reflection is the true me? I’ve forgotten. Do I keep walking, keep trying to find my way out? Or do I settle: do I sit and accept the illusion presenting itself at present and find peace in this spot? Isn’t that what life is about: finding a comfortable spot to settle into and ride out the timeline? Or is it to keep moving, keep growing (i.e. altering one’s state in response to new stimuli) until one completes the journey? And what awaits those who find their way through? Are they the victors: the ones who pressed on; or are they the deprived: the ones who never embraced an identity?
. . .
Young literary heroines and heroes tend to be precocious. Perhaps because they are never meant to represent children at all. Children are the goodness in us all. They are the innocence and curiosity, they are fervor without fault of repeating past mistakes. And when we design their characters to have the wisdom and fearlessness of a sage, well, we’ve designed the perfect humans, or at least the kind of humans we’d like to be. On the other hand, without flaws, the characters wouldn’t be relatable, and we’d lose the ability to empathize. It’s that need to empathize that allows us to get emotional satisfaction from a story. Otherwise…what’s the point? So we give them one. Lizzy’s, for example, is passion, though some would argue pride or prejudice, or both. I use Elizabeth Bennet as an example because she is the perfect heroine. (Yes, she is.)
And then there’s Jane Eyre, the most complicated heroine I’ve come across. A very young Jane, in this moment, even beat out my dear Lizzy…temporarily.
“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”
“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.
“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”
“A pit full of fire.”
“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”
“What must you do to avoid it?”
I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: “I must keep in good health, and not die.”
The confidence one must have to say such a thing to such a person at such a time…if only.
I’m not here for a full analysis. But my thoughts have led me to this, which may or may not be helpful to me at present. Anyway:
Jane Eyre endures quite a bit and holds herself together with grace. She’s as far out of my league as Elizabeth is. What makes them human to me, the relatable part of them I mean, is that they eventually give in to their deepest emotions. They allow themselves to put down their guard and be vulnerable long enough to be like anyone else.
I tend to hide behind a mask of outward emotion, because when I let the real me out I often wish I hadn’t. Like I wish I hadn’t during that argument I had about thirty minutes ago. I think in that sort of situation, Jane would suit me best. Good ol’ stoic Jane.
. . .
I’m looking in mirrors that aren’t my own. I’m going to close my eyes and feel my way through the maze a little while. I’m not in a rush at the moment to find myself. The goal will still be here when I feel the need to chase it a little more.