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.

4 thoughts to “Untitled”

  1. I love Jane Eyre as well! It is such an incredible novel, and so far ahead of its time. Your blog post made me want to read it all over again! One thing though, sometimes Jane Eyre is assigned in classes. Would reading a book like that for a class diminish its effect on the reader?

  2. Maybe you addressed this during the free-writing you did in class, but why do you admire this passage in particular? I know it must have been hard to pick just one passage – all the Bronte sisters are incredible writers – but is what compels you to emulate this sample of writing the argument for women’s rights or the style of writing itself? I guess I could also ask what sort of writer do you see yourself becoming (if the question isn’t too broad)?

  3. I really resonate with your idea that “I do not think that the only things we are going to learn from in life and during our years in school will be in class.” I have always felt this same way.

    I think Jane Eyre is a great role model for modern women. You seem to be really passionate about women’s issues…how did you get so interested in this topic?

  4. I do thin kthat reading for class sometimes has dire effects on the message that young readers are able to take from a book like this. Just as writing to prove a point for a class that you may have had no prior knowledge and no newfound intrest would deter you from writing as a hobby, I think that reading specifically in order to complete an assignment can be harmful. I am lucky that I have read this with only the recommendation of my grandma, because the theme and the writing have become of great interest to me.

    Bronte states, through her character Jane in the passage that I chose, that women are placed in too strict social restraints. Could it be, that subconsciously I chose this passage because I write to break free of those norms? Yes, I do believe so. Honestly, I know that I do conform to these social ideals taht women are sometimes forced into. It has been ingrained in us since the time we were infants. However, i think that I write as a testament to myself that I do not have to submit. I use writing as a method of self-development, and by creating a persona within my social creation of “self,” I am able to encompass all the traits that I may fear (even subconsiously) to display in the “real world.” To me, this is a reflection of Bronte’s work, this passage, and her creation of jane as a character that has lasted through time.

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