Thank you everyone, for your thoughts and comments so far about Jane. I wanted to introduce the question of AN ORPHAN'S RESILIENCE. Where does Jane's fortitude come from? The girl starts out with nothing in life — no family, no friend, no beauty, no wealth…with none of the currencies that generally give a person status. And yet she somehow armpit-deep in self-assurance and power. Born that way? Formed that way?

Is she strong because she is an orphan? Or despite it?

And can we talk specifically for a minute about the rich literary history of being an orphan? Have you ever noticed how many of our favorite literary characters are orphans? Let me list just a few of literature's most famous motherless children:

Oliver Twist
David Copperfield
Dorothy Gale
Harry Potter
Anne Shirley
Huck Finn
Tom Sawyer
Pippi (well, she has a VERY absentee/drunk dad, but still…)
Peter Pan
The Boxcar Children
Snow White
Sarah Crewe (from Secret Garden)
The kids in Narnia (de facto orphans: no mom around)
Frodo Baggins
James (of the Giant Peach)
…and, of course, our own JANE EYRE.

And there are more still. (Anyone who can think of another, do feel free to add to the list!)

Why is this? What attracts us about orphan tales? We know what orphans lack, but what do they HAVE? What is their advantage, their strength, their allure? Why do we keep telling this story again and again?

Could Jane Eyre have been Jane Eyre within the context of a solid nuclear family?

What does her resilience teach us about our own often less-than-ideal childhoods?

Discuss! I am listening with attentive eyes!


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall