When thinking of a passage that I find both intellectually engaging and well-written, I immediately think of something that I have read for a class that I have kept or something that made me think and develop ideas after reading. However, sometimes I really dislike this way of thinking, almost as if school is preventing me from really learning. I do not thin that the only things we are going to learn from in life and during our years in school will be in class. Although it is a classic literaty work, I have picked a passage from Jane Eyre by Bronte to signify a piece that I feel is both intellectually engaging and well-written.
I could not help it; the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes. Then my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third story, backwards and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind’s eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it—and, certainly, they were many and glowing; to let my heart be heaved by the exultant movement . . . and, best of all, to open my inward ear to a tale that was never ended—a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence. It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.
When I first read this book in 9th grade, I was able to completely relate with the character of Jane even though she was not initially considered representative of present day women. However, I believe that the reason I had those initial feelings of camaraderie with the heroin is because her feelings of entrapment within a society and living up to those societal norms are something that all can relate to. After becoming a bit more well versed and knowledgeable about women’s issues, I am able to see how the central theme of imprisonment runs deep throughout and a book that continues to force us to think about those restraints is one that will forever be intellectually challenging and in some cases even uncomfortably so.