My relationships tend to mirror the ethereal and tumultuous love of story Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester versus the formal and idealized love story of Miss Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Though both men look dashing briskly and thoughtfully traipsing through the misty moors with the appropriate amount of masculine chest hair peeking through their slightly unbuttoned shirts, the ever elegant Mr. Darcy traipses elsewhere leaving behind the wounded and troubled yet fiery, passionate Mr. Rochester seeking respite from life’s experience and misery. Before him, he witnesses an angel drawing the moth to the enduring flame of purity and virtue. For the angel he desperately pursues to restore and revive him after years of decay, misery, and hopelessness, a passionate and intriguing web of convoluted intentions awaits testing her moral fiber and threaten to clip her angelic wings. After months of hardship, loss, and suffering and once the proud and mighty crumple to their knees do the angel and scoundrel enjoin in a lifelong relationship beyond literary description.
I’m still unfamiliar with the happy ending part. Pride reigns as the supreme unwavering and staunch victor where the protagonists choose themselves and their personal or influencing expectations over one another. I consider myself unusually blessed when a relationship mirrors a Gothic British literature novel like Jane Eyre versus Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations or Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. I’ve been in relationships with a Pip, Estella, Catherine, or Heathcliff: calculated, manipulative, fickle, and selfish. I cringe when watching my Jane Eyre crumble into a Great Expectations.
At the end of the day, I’m a hopeless romantic. I’ve concluded we need more Mr. John Thorntons and Gilbert Blythes and Reepicheeps and Samwise Gamgees. These complex, yet simple male characters embody a certain heroic virtue, kindness, loyalty, and compassion who uphold goodness and defy everyday and extraordinary evil. These are worthy gentlemen (fine, one is technically a mouse.)
Jane Austen’s female characters can speak in petty, witty, and gossipy cringe worthy tones. Jane Eyre embodies simplicity and goodness despite adversity plus a sincere and authentic tone. The relationship of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester speaks to me. I identify with it. I understand the bewildering and passionate nature of their relationship, the continued devotion beyond all odds, the inability to waver on virtue and personal ideals, and the constant hope beyond reasonable hope.