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, Jane Eyre is going to point out the Ten differences between herself and Charlotte Bronte.
I’m very grateful to Charlotte Bronte for making me such a famous person, as Mr. Rochester might say, ‘You—poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are, have become the most famous female literary character in English Literature.’
Some readers mistake me, Jane Eyre, the author of my autobiography, for my pen name, Charlotte Bronte. That’s understandable, but there are plenty of differences between us.
But just to clarify matters, there follow Ten Differences between me, Jane Eyre, and Charlotte Bronte, my alter ego:
- I was an orphan and Charlotte wasn’t.
- I was educated at a boarding school, while Charlotte was educated at home by her father and her aunt.
- I had no brothers or sisters and Charlotte had one brother and four sisters (although two died in infancy).
- I never left England, and Charlotte travelled to Belgium.
- I married at an early age 19-20, and Charlotte married later in life, at 38.
- Charlotte wrote fantasy stories from an early age, while I preferred drawing as my creative expression, until after my marriage.
- I wrote my autobiography, while Charlotte wrote poems and fictional novels.
- I was fiercely independent, yet Charlotte always lived with and obeyed her father.
- I was described as beautiful by some and plain by others, read this post, while Charlotte was reportedly very ugly, no question about it. According to her biographer, Mrs. Gaskell, Charlotte had, “a reddish face, large mouth and many teeth gone; altogether plain”.
- I inherited a fortune from my uncle and married a rich man, while Charlotte was not rich and married a humble parson.
In spite of all these differences, there are also Ten Similarities in our lives:
- We were both very short and thin.
- We were both born and bred in Yorkshire.
- We both lived in the 19th century.
- We both fell in love with married men.
- We both worked as teachers and governesses.
- We both spoke French fluently.
- We were both masterful writers.
- We both wrote with pen names, she used Currer Bell, and I wrote my autobiography as Charlotte Bronte.
- We were both concerned with women’s unjust place in the world and fought for gender equality. I must add that I did so more actively than she did.
- We were both religious, but not hypocrites. We truly believed in our faith and the teachings of the Bible.
I’d say, my life may have been a little harder than Charlotte’s for the first ten years, but after that, I was much more fortunate than poor Charlotte was, thanks to my stronger character and single-mindedness. It could also have been because I was an orphan and had no oppressive family to tie me down or repress me, and because the man I fell in love with became a widower, so unlike Charlotte I was able to marry him and be happy, at least for a time.
I hope I’ve made my point. Jane is not Charlotte.
We did not have the same childhood or upbringing, nor the exact same physical appearance, nor did we lead the same kind of life, or marry the same type of man.
I’m resilient, strong-willed and wealthy. I’m in charge of my life.
I am independent, I married the man I loved and had a son.
Charlotte hasn’t been completely forgotten, of course, yet. However, people are still writing about me, talking about me, and making films about me. Me.
I’m also an enigma. Nobody really knows what happened to me after I wrote my autobiography, ten years after I married (I may have exaggerated a little there, it may have been less than ten).
Someone imagined I built a house called Eyre Hall with the money my uncle left me, on the grounds where Thornfield Hall once stood, and wrote a sequel called The Eyre Hall Trilogy. It sounds like a good idea to me. What do you think?