Learning Lessons from Jane and Bertha

Jane Eyre

I am sure many of you are aware of the famous line, ‘Reader, I married him’ from the amazing novel, Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Brontë. In stealing a little from this line for my blog’s name, I make no overt comparisons with a Brontë. I’m not deluded.

I studied the works of Charlotte Brontë for a Masters. This does not make me by any means an expert in anything much, let alone trying to write like the woman. No-one could or should ever try. But it has led to an admiration of a woman writing in her time, despite the restrictions of her time.

The Brontë Sisters’ writing and publishing

Charlotte and her sisters decided the only way they would get published was through male pseudonyms. It worked; eventually.

I toyed with the idea of using the male author name of Sir Richard Writerton-Cockwomble. How amazing would that be to see on the front of a novel? But I then decided that if I’m going to put in the hard slog with this writing business, published or unpublished, I’m not letting a Cockwomble take all the credit. Because, let’s face it, there are far too many cockwombles as it is. You just need to be a driver, visit the shops or read Facebook to know this harsh truth.

I also admire how in her day and age, Charlotte Brontë allowed her heroine to declare that ‘she’ married ‘him’. Not really the way things worked back in the day when you were a lucky bird if a Victorian bloke with a swirly moustache and a stack of cash wanted to make you his missus. But not here.

Jane married Rochester – she returned to him and made the decision. She did not opt for the somewhat dodgy ‘Eastenders’ option of shacking up as his mistress, while his current wife was displaying bridal veil envy and setting things that peed her off on fire i.e. her husband.

Inspired by Jane

So just like Jane did her thing, I will do mine, and claim it. Jane married him. Jane made the decision and followed her heart. I have made my decision and I am following mine. This is probably where the comparisons end.

Don’t forget Bertha

You will see, as I continue to blog, that Bertha Mason and I may have far more in common. Not that my other half is annoyed with me enough to lock me up in the attic. We’ll wait until the honeymoon period is over.

Bertha stands for a woman who has to do what she has been told to do. A woman, heck I don’t even need to be feminist here, a person, who never gets a chance to have a go at something to see what they can achieve.

The irony is, Bertha and Jane could have been friends because both are strong-willed women who happened to get involved with a feckless and arrogant bloke. We’ve all been there, right ladies?

Bertha can teach us so much about the downfalls of not following your dreams; of not even being given the space to find out what they are. I’m with you Bertha, although my husband is currently fireproofing the mattress…

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

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