Hooked on Jane Eyre


Photo by Isabella Grijalba

Elena Flaim reading Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is one of America’s most read pieces of literature. Here at Holy Cross many students have encountered this story because it is one of the required books for sophomore year.

Junior Reese Long first encountered the book was when she was in fourth grade. 

“I actually owned the abridged version of it when I was younger, so I read it then,” Long recalled. 

Long really enjoyed the abridged version when she first read it in fourth grade. The second time she encountered the book was sophomore year. This time, Long had an issue with many of the social constructs in the story’s place and time. 

“The age gap between Jane and Mr. Rochester is a little disconcerting because she is 30 years, which today would be frowned upon, especially since she is too young,” Long argued. 

Elena Flaim picked Jane Eyre as one of her summer assignments for sophomore year at AHC. She picked it up because she thought it was an easy read that would go quickly. She soon discovered that the book was hard and too sad. 

“Many of the parts were hard to understand and too depressing,’’ Flaim mentioned. 

Flaim also had a hard time accepting the social structures in the book. She thought that Jane’s cousin proposing to her was weird. She also had a hard time dealing with the age gap difference between Jane and Mr. Rochester. 

“I did not like the age difference between Jane and Mr. Rochester because I felt like he was using her,” Flaim remarked. 

Flaim describes Jane as a naive woman. She recalls how Jane always tried to do the right thing and was too kind to other people. 

“She was very innocent and always tried to do the right thing,” Flaim recalled. 

Megan Minogue is one of the Holy Cross English teachers. She remembers first picking up the book in sixth grade, but only reading half of it. She then later on read it in high school. Minogue, right off the bat, was interested by the qualities the book had. 

“The first time I studied it, I was a freshman in high school and I loved it. I thought it was really interesting. It had this kind of gothic feel to it with the red room and the mystery of who was the woman in the attic,” describes Minogue. 

Minogue explained how Jane Eyre fits the curriculum at the Academy, that the incoming Honors English II students have two reading choices for their summer work, Cry of the Beloved Country and Jane Eyre. These pieces of literature heavily describe the theme for sophomore year. 

“Both of which fit into the sophomore theme of the individual and the environment. So with Jane Eyre specifically we look at how to be a governess, what are the trials and tribulations an orphan might face… and finally her work as a governess and what the expectations for that would be,” Minogue explained.