This post is part of this year’s April Challenge to write a post a day. I’ve chosen to write about my greatest literary passion: Jane Eyre. Today it’s all about Jane Eyre’s Eyes. Jane will tell us all about her eyes and the eyes of the other characters in her novel.
Dear Reader, I have changeable green eyes, although Mr. Rochester once said they were hazel and has confused everyone. It was the morning after he had proposed, he said something like this:
‘Jane, you look blooming, and smiling, and pretty,’ said he: ‘truly pretty this morning. Is this my pale, little elf? Is this my mustard-seed? This little sunny-faced girl with the dimpled cheek and rosy lips; the satin-smooth hazel hair, and the radiant hazel eyes?’
I had green eyes, reader; but you must excuse the mistake: for him they were new- dyed, I suppose. I have never met anyone with the same colour eyes. It is perhaps my only unique quality, and they have always been much admired, especially because they change in colour according to the sunlight or my mood.
Edward’s eyes were dark, sometimes irate, and often piercing, and I loved it when he looked at me, so intensely that I felt like the most important person in the world. He had great, dark eyes, I longed to look at and watch as they bore into me, quizzically at first and lovingly later.
After the fire, he lost his sight and I promised to be his companion, to read to him, to walk with him, to sit with him, to wait on him, to be the eyes and hands he needed. I promised because I loved him, crippled and blind as he was.
Two years after our wedding, we went up to London, and with the help of an eminent oculist, Edward eventually recovered the sight of one eye. He cannot now see very distinctly. He still cannot read or write much, but he can find his way without being led by the hand. The sky is no longer a blank to him—the earth no longer a void.
When his firstborn was put into his arms, he could see that the boy had inherited his own eyes, as they once were—large, brilliant, and black, too.
Dear reader, I’d like to tell you about the eyes of some of the other characters who crossed my path.
I’m not too fond of large blue eyes. My cousin Georgiana Reed, on my mother’s side, had languishing blue eyes, which I considered appropriate for lying, flirting, and generally getting her own way, which she did most masterfully throughout her life.
My cousin St. John’ Rivers, on my father’s side, also had large, blue eyes, which were as cold as ice. When he asked me to marry him, I shuddered. I could never marry a man who was as cold as an iceberg and only wanted to marry me because he thought I should make a suitable missionary’s wife.
There is passion in bright, dark eyes. My master’s passion.
My best friend at Lowood, Helen Burn, and my favourite teacher and mentor, Miss Temple both had beaming dark brown eyes and brown hair.
Bessie, the young maid at my aunt Reed’s house also had cheerful black eyes and dark hair. She was the only person who was ever kind to me during the ten tortuous years I spent at Gateshead.
My darling Adele, the reason I was offered employment at Thornfield hall and met Edward, had large hazel eyes, just a shade darker and browner than mine.
I’ll never forget spoilt and coquettish Miss Ingram, the raven haired woman whose large and black eyes, shone as brilliantly as her jewels. Edward cruelly brought her to Thornfield Hall to tease me, before he declared his love to me and proposed. I disliked her intensely, but her eyes were undeniably stunning.
I’ll never forget Bertha Mason’s red bloodshot, fiery eyes. When Edward opened the door of the attic, where she had been locked for over ten ears, he said, “Compare these clear eyes (referring to mine) with the red balls yonder.” It was an unfair comparison. I wonder what colour her eyes were when she was a young and carefree heiress in Jamaica, when Edward met her? I suppose they were dark, like her hair.
Her wild, distorted face still haunts me, and her cries still wake me up in the middle of the night. Poor, madwoman, how I pity her, and the dreadful way she died.
Luccia Gray, who you may have noticed is rather obsessed with me, recently wrote another post about beauty in Jane Eyre. Check it out if you’d like more information about my physical appearance.