Tuesday, February 24, 2009

word nerd

After a blog hiatus of sorts, I am back. For today, anyway. I just don’t much feel like blogging lately.

So, before I get into my latest mommy revelation, here’s what’s been happening ‘round here.

Completed an uneventful stint of solo parenting last week

I return to work 5 weeks from today which feels surreal and good and weird and daunting

It seems that daycare is finally, really, indeed sorted out (eek - have I spoken too soon and jinxed it now?)

D. Jr. is officially no longer my baby – we just registered him in soccer

I injured myself by twisting my knee on Sunday at a fitness class. I slipped on ice and somehow really screwed it up. Now I’m gimping around which adds a whole new dimension to parenting two small kids. The lesson learned: I should stick to yoga.

I just finished Jane Eyre.

Of all these fascinating events, I think the latter has been the most fascinatingest. Not just the book itself, but how I was forced to read it. I acknowledge that perhaps this is only interesting to the librarian in me and a few other word nerds out there – I apologize in advance! Navigate away if the intricacies of me reading JE are going to bore you.

I first read JE a long time ago . . . and chose to read it again as I always read a few classics every year (yes, I am that nerdy). The first time I read it, I couldn’t have been much older than Jane herself, who for most of the novel is 18. I recall my younger self finding it to be a great and exciting love story. Which it most certainly is.

But, things have changed. This second time around, I may as well have been reading an entirely different book. Yes, I loved the love story and was rooting for Jane (idiot that she is) and reveling in all the gothic melodrama, but throughout I was thinking:

JE you are an idiot, a naïve, gullible idiot.

JE you are the most pompous and annoying and holier than thou character I have come across in a long time. Perhaps that is why I love you so much.

Rochester is a pig. I’m sorry he is. The age and life gap between him and JE is gross. Yes, I know product of the time and all that, but I had a hard time getting past that.

My God, the Christian moralizing is heavy-handed.

The convoluted and covenient and “coincidental” plot turns and twists are a bit much, but make for an interesting ride.

Why does the novel end with St. John Rivers? It seemed odd to me.

And, my most important revelation during this second reading, Bertha Mason “the mad woman in the attic” is the most interesting character in the novel and further underscores that Rochester if effed up!

I loved every page of JE, just like the first time, but my reading this time was so different and I have to attribute this to how I am forced to read now (not just that I am so much older, mature and more thoughtful now - ha!). In the past (before kids), when I was reading a book that I just loved, I would read it in a day or two days or as little time as possible. I just couldn’t help myself! I would devote every speck of free time to page turning the page turner! Now, of course, that just can’t happen. I am forced to read in snippets and stop at inopportune times. When I am forced to stop at a good part, a part that I would never normally stop in, I find that the book lives in the back of my mind and I’m thinking about it constantly. Could this – gasp – could motherhood and all its demands actually make for a better and more thorough reading of a book? I think so. I think that despite interruptions and a prolonged reading, I have been forced to SLOWLY savour a novel, whereas before I just ploughed through books.

This really came to light when I was forced to close the book in the middle of JE and R’s wedding ceremony - just as the grand reveal is about to happen and summarily ruin everything for the happy couple. Due to a screaming kid or some such adventure in parenting, I had to close the book before the grand reveal . . . and this bothered me more than it should have, but really got me thinking about R and how much of an ass he is. And then when I could finally return to the book and we get to know a bit about Bertha, I was so interested in this madwoman character and her mysteries and why she is so underdeveloped as a character in the book (and much more certain that R was hiding lots). I’m not sure if I would have given poor ol’ Bertha much thought (although I know many scholars have and do) if it had not been for one of my darling children interrupting me right smack in the middle of this good part. I have to say, I’m happy for that interruption, as the subsequent googling and recollection that I really regret never having taken that post-colonial lit class have led me in the right direction . . .

I start Wide Sargasso Sea tomorrow!


At 7:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting picture you chose for your blog entry on JE. I believe it looks more like you than Jane Eyre. Who did you want it to be?

At 9:39 AM , Blogger Momily said...

I *think* it is a cover for Wide Sargasso Sea, but the site i found it on did not have a credit. So, my best guess is that it's Bertha Mason, I think, my soul mate! It kind of looks like a Tahitian Matisse as well.


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