Beholding is Becoming: Day 5

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

He was the first to recognize me, and to love what he saw.


What does it mean to find your voice?  Among other things, the phrase has come to mean to expression of one’s true self.  It is no simple task.  For many, the path to discovery is through expressive writing.  Perhaps it is the diary of a child or the poetry of a teenager, but almost everyone who puts pen to paper eventually experiences a catharsis of discovery in the process.

As Karen Swallow Prior says in Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me:

Language, throughout Jane’s life, is the tool through which she creates and defends herself. This is why it is essential to the story of Jane Eyre, even though it is a fictional work, that it takes the form of an autobiography. Indeed one of the most distinguishing aspects of Jane Eyre is the “voice” of Jane. It is no coincidence that the term “voice” has come to mean in modern usage much more than just the sound made by the vocal organs, but also the means by which we make our individual selves known, not only to others but to ourselves. For the connection between the self and language is inseparable: it is through language that the self becomes.

Have you ever used journaling or writing to overcome life challenges?

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.


Dig Deeper

Literature, Liturgy & The Arts


Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

Raised in a parsonage amid the moors of Haworth, Charlotte Brontë in 1839 refused marriage proposals from two reverends, later stating that “there is no more respectable character on this earth than an unmarried woman who makes her own way through life quietly, perseveringly.” She published Jane Eyre in 1847. Over the next two years, her brother Branwell and her sisters Emily and Anne all died, most likely from tuberculosis; two other siblings had died in 1825. Brontë eventually married in 1854, but died, while pregnant, in 1855, two years after publishing Villette.

The Folio Society’s Edition of Jane Eyre

‘Do you think I am an automaton? – a machine without feelings? … Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you – and full as much heart!’ As compelling in character as she is ordinary in looks, Jane Eyre is one of literature’s greatest heroines. Hers is a captivating love story that encompasses, among other things, loss, deception, devotion and obsession. With themes of madness and forbidden knowledge, and a Byronic male lead – the glowering Rochester – Jane Eyre is also a suspenseful gothic mystery. Its sparse settings resemble those of Wuthering Heights; places which not only lend themselves to the novel’s psychological drama, but in which the air crackles and whispers with forces beyond human control. However, the narrative belongs to Jane, and it is her singularity and the vivid portrayal of her inner life that make this novel exceptional. Brontë’s intimate first-person narrative formed a template for later authors including Joyce and Proust. As a female character, Jane was far ahead of her time. In her fierce meditations on spiritual and emotional dilemmas, and her determination to remain inwardly free when the cruelties and desires of others threaten her integrity, she was a proto-feminist figure quite unlike her pliant predecessors.

Artist Santiago Caruso’s dedication to the fantastique made him sensitive to the novel’s otherworldliness. His illustrations evoke its eerie scenery and the intensity of Jane’s experiences. In most she is central: a small but wilful figure whose ‘obscure’ life is as profoundly engaging as that of the most dazzling heroine. As author Emma Donoghue writes in her introduction, Jane ‘survives all sorts of abuses and humiliations because she is driven on by a sense that she matters, because everybody matters’.

Details here http://www.foliosociety.com/book/JYR/jane-eyre-bronte

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University and an award-winning teacher. She is a contributing writer for The Atlantic.com and for Christianity Today, where she blogs frequently at Her.meneutics. Her writing has appeared in Relevant, Think Christian, and Salvo. She is a Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a member of INK: A Creative Collective, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story.

Beholding is Becoming: Day 4

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” 


Rejection is tough at any age but it is especially painful in adolescence.  At a time when peer pressure is an overwhelming force, young people will often do things outside of their values to fit in and be accepted.  Sometimes even these measures fall short.

As Karen Swallow Prior says in Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me:

Before long, I was kicked out of The Group. The funny thing was that nearly everyone else had been kicked out of The Group before this at one point or another, even Stepdaughter and she was one of the leaders. What usually happened with a Kick Out was that the outcast would just kind of hang around on the outskirts, striking some sort of balance between looking adequately repentant—but still cool—until enough time and punishment had passed as penance for whatever crime had been committed, or until someone else was more deserving of disgrace, and the offending member was unceremoniously permitted re-entrance.

Have you ever ben rejected from a group you longed to be a part of?

How did you cope with such an experience?

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.


Dig Deeper

Literature, Liturgy & The Arts


Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

Raised in a parsonage amid the moors of Haworth, Charlotte Brontë in 1839 refused marriage proposals from two reverends, later stating that “there is no more respectable character on this earth than an unmarried woman who makes her own way through life quietly, perseveringly.” She published Jane Eyre in 1847. Over the next two years, her brother Branwell and her sisters Emily and Anne all died, most likely from tuberculosis; two other siblings had died in 1825. Brontë eventually married in 1854, but died, while pregnant, in 1855, two years after publishing Villette.

The Folio Society’s Edition of Jane Eyre

‘Do you think I am an automaton? – a machine without feelings? … Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you – and full as much heart!’ As compelling in character as she is ordinary in looks, Jane Eyre is one of literature’s greatest heroines. Hers is a captivating love story that encompasses, among other things, loss, deception, devotion and obsession. With themes of madness and forbidden knowledge, and a Byronic male lead – the glowering Rochester – Jane Eyre is also a suspenseful gothic mystery. Its sparse settings resemble those of Wuthering Heights; places which not only lend themselves to the novel’s psychological drama, but in which the air crackles and whispers with forces beyond human control. However, the narrative belongs to Jane, and it is her singularity and the vivid portrayal of her inner life that make this novel exceptional. Brontë’s intimate first-person narrative formed a template for later authors including Joyce and Proust. As a female character, Jane was far ahead of her time. In her fierce meditations on spiritual and emotional dilemmas, and her determination to remain inwardly free when the cruelties and desires of others threaten her integrity, she was a proto-feminist figure quite unlike her pliant predecessors.

Artist Santiago Caruso’s dedication to the fantastique made him sensitive to the novel’s otherworldliness. His illustrations evoke its eerie scenery and the intensity of Jane’s experiences. In most she is central: a small but wilful figure whose ‘obscure’ life is as profoundly engaging as that of the most dazzling heroine. As author Emma Donoghue writes in her introduction, Jane ‘survives all sorts of abuses and humiliations because she is driven on by a sense that she matters, because everybody matters’.

Details here http://www.foliosociety.com/book/JYR/jane-eyre-bronte

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University and an award-winning teacher. She is a contributing writer for The Atlantic.com and for Christianity Today, where she blogs frequently at Her.meneutics. Her writing has appeared in Relevant, Think Christian, and Salvo. She is a Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a member of INK: A Creative Collective, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story.

Beholding is Becoming: Day 3

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.


The word “docile” has gotten a bad rap.  These days it’s usually equated with timidity – and therein lies the problem.  Western culture prizes arrogance.  It’s the bluster of prize fighters, political candidates and football stars.  The irony runs deep here because it usually means the self-promoter is no longer teachable.  Docile means pliable, or more specifically – teachable.  It’s etymology is connected to “doctor” and “doctrine.”  The doctor (teacher) instructs the docile in doctrine.  Learning happens. Growth results.

In life, people are not usually truly docile until they are desperate.  If you have ever been lost in a foreign county you know what it means to humbly seek someone who can communicate meaningful directions.  The great problem with docility, however, is that people are often unaware of their own desperation. That is, they do not know they are lost.

As Karen Swallow Prior says in Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me:

The words my brother had voiced became part of my voice, a voice that narrated the search for my self much as Jane’s voice did in her search. Although the journal I kept during those chaotic days has long vanished into the past, Jane’s story and her voice remain. It wasn’t so much that I really thought, as my brother said in order to encourage me, that I thought I was “better” than those girls. What I came to understand is that in ceasing the futile attempt to be something I was not able or meant to be, and in striving to discover and be the person I was created to be, I would be a better self. The real disgrace was not in being kicked out of The Group, but in failing to fully embrace the grace that had made me who I was by trying to be something I was not.

 

Is becoming yourself more about discovering who you are or who you aren’t?  Or both?

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.


Dig Deeper

Literature, Liturgy & The Arts


Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

Raised in a parsonage amid the moors of Haworth, Charlotte Brontë in 1839 refused marriage proposals from two reverends, later stating that “there is no more respectable character on this earth than an unmarried woman who makes her own way through life quietly, perseveringly.” She published Jane Eyre in 1847. Over the next two years, her brother Branwell and her sisters Emily and Anne all died, most likely from tuberculosis; two other siblings had died in 1825. Brontë eventually married in 1854, but died, while pregnant, in 1855, two years after publishing Villette.

The Folio Society’s Edition of Jane Eyre

‘Do you think I am an automaton? – a machine without feelings? … Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you – and full as much heart!’ As compelling in character as she is ordinary in looks, Jane Eyre is one of literature’s greatest heroines. Hers is a captivating love story that encompasses, among other things, loss, deception, devotion and obsession. With themes of madness and forbidden knowledge, and a Byronic male lead – the glowering Rochester – Jane Eyre is also a suspenseful gothic mystery. Its sparse settings resemble those of Wuthering Heights; places which not only lend themselves to the novel’s psychological drama, but in which the air crackles and whispers with forces beyond human control. However, the narrative belongs to Jane, and it is her singularity and the vivid portrayal of her inner life that make this novel exceptional. Brontë’s intimate first-person narrative formed a template for later authors including Joyce and Proust. As a female character, Jane was far ahead of her time. In her fierce meditations on spiritual and emotional dilemmas, and her determination to remain inwardly free when the cruelties and desires of others threaten her integrity, she was a proto-feminist figure quite unlike her pliant predecessors.

Artist Santiago Caruso’s dedication to the fantastique made him sensitive to the novel’s otherworldliness. His illustrations evoke its eerie scenery and the intensity of Jane’s experiences. In most she is central: a small but wilful figure whose ‘obscure’ life is as profoundly engaging as that of the most dazzling heroine. As author Emma Donoghue writes in her introduction, Jane ‘survives all sorts of abuses and humiliations because she is driven on by a sense that she matters, because everybody matters’.

Details here http://www.foliosociety.com/book/JYR/jane-eyre-bronte

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University and an award-winning teacher. She is a contributing writer for The Atlantic.com and for Christianity Today, where she blogs frequently at Her.meneutics. Her writing has appeared in Relevant, Think Christian, and Salvo. She is a Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a member of INK: A Creative Collective, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story.

Beholding is Becoming: Day 2

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

“Mr. Rochester, I no more assign this fate to you than I grasp at it for myself. We were born to strive and endure – you as well as I: do so. You will forget me before I forget you.”


Centuries ago, children were considered grown whenever they could reproduce.  There weren’t many choices about who or what you would become because you typically took up whatever business your father and mother occupied.  Only a rare few could extend adolescence with advanced education.  Today is seems that adolescence goes on and on, and many years may pass before life’s direction is set.  Choices are many and temptations more so.

As Karen Swallow Prior says in Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me:

Jane Eyre seemed in so many ways to be someone like me. In reading and studying the book many more times later in life, I came to realize that this was because she really was. And, truth be told, a lot like the other girls, too, because Jane Eyre is really about every adolescent. For adolescence, more than any other age, is a time of becoming, when we all must navigate through endless possibilities of being and overcome countless temptations to become any person but one that reflects both the givenness of our being and the possibilities of our becoming.

What temptations have you had to overcome in your journey to becoming yourself?

Isaiah 30:21

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.


Dig Deeper

Literature, Liturgy & The Arts


Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

Raised in a parsonage amid the moors of Haworth, Charlotte Brontë in 1839 refused marriage proposals from two reverends, later stating that “there is no more respectable character on this earth than an unmarried woman who makes her own way through life quietly, perseveringly.” She published Jane Eyre in 1847. Over the next two years, her brother Branwell and her sisters Emily and Anne all died, most likely from tuberculosis; two other siblings had died in 1825. Brontë eventually married in 1854, but died, while pregnant, in 1855, two years after publishing Villette.

The Folio Society’s Edition of Jane Eyre

‘Do you think I am an automaton? – a machine without feelings? … Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you – and full as much heart!’ As compelling in character as she is ordinary in looks, Jane Eyre is one of literature’s greatest heroines. Hers is a captivating love story that encompasses, among other things, loss, deception, devotion and obsession. With themes of madness and forbidden knowledge, and a Byronic male lead – the glowering Rochester – Jane Eyre is also a suspenseful gothic mystery. Its sparse settings resemble those of Wuthering Heights; places which not only lend themselves to the novel’s psychological drama, but in which the air crackles and whispers with forces beyond human control. However, the narrative belongs to Jane, and it is her singularity and the vivid portrayal of her inner life that make this novel exceptional. Brontë’s intimate first-person narrative formed a template for later authors including Joyce and Proust. As a female character, Jane was far ahead of her time. In her fierce meditations on spiritual and emotional dilemmas, and her determination to remain inwardly free when the cruelties and desires of others threaten her integrity, she was a proto-feminist figure quite unlike her pliant predecessors.

Artist Santiago Caruso’s dedication to the fantastique made him sensitive to the novel’s otherworldliness. His illustrations evoke its eerie scenery and the intensity of Jane’s experiences. In most she is central: a small but wilful figure whose ‘obscure’ life is as profoundly engaging as that of the most dazzling heroine. As author Emma Donoghue writes in her introduction, Jane ‘survives all sorts of abuses and humiliations because she is driven on by a sense that she matters, because everybody matters’.

Details here http://www.foliosociety.com/book/JYR/jane-eyre-bronte

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University and an award-winning teacher. She is a contributing writer for The Atlantic.com and for Christianity Today, where she blogs frequently at Her.meneutics. Her writing has appeared in Relevant, Think Christian, and Salvo. She is a Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a member of INK: A Creative Collective, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story.

Beholding is Becoming: Day 1

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.


This week we turn our attention to Charlotte Brontë’s classic nineteenth century novel Jane Eyre. First published in 1847, the book follows the life of an orphan who learns the value of forgiveness and mercy. It has long resonated with young readers who easily relate to its grand, sweeping romantic turns which have become the fodder of soap operas. Underneath the drama however, is the flesh and blood realism of a young girl, learning as she goes.

As Karen Swallow Prior says in Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me:

While most of my literary-minded peers of that time were charmed by the higher Romanticism of Charlotte’s sister Emily in Wuthering Heights, I much preferred the greater realism of Jane Eyre. That’s not to say that Eyre’s Romantic elements—the detainment of a young girl in the frightening bedroom of a long dead inhabitant; an omen-laden lightning strike down the middle of a great tree; the inexplicable, audible voice of a lover calling from miles away; and the mysterious mad woman in the attic—didn’t enchant me. I could certainly be as dreamy as the next teenage girl. Jane Eyre has a little bit of everything in it, enough to appeal to bookish girls of nearly all tastes since its publication a century and a half ago.

 

What character from literature do you most identify with? Why?

Matthew 6:14

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

 


Dig Deeper

Literature, Liturgy & The Arts


Charlotte Brontë

 

Charlotte Brontë

Raised in a parsonage amid the moors of Haworth, Charlotte Brontë in 1839 refused marriage proposals from two reverends, later stating that “there is no more respectable character on this earth than an unmarried woman who makes her own way through life quietly, perseveringly.” She published Jane Eyre in 1847. Over the next two years, her brother Branwell and her sisters Emily and Anne all died, most likely from tuberculosis; two other siblings had died in 1825. Brontë eventually married in 1854, but died, while pregnant, in 1855, two years after publishing Villette.

 

The Folio Society’s Edition of Jane Eyre

 

‘Do you think I am an automaton? – a machine without feelings? … Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you – and full as much heart!’ As compelling in character as she is ordinary in looks, Jane Eyre is one of literature’s greatest heroines. Hers is a captivating love story that encompasses, among other things, loss, deception, devotion and obsession. With themes of madness and forbidden knowledge, and a Byronic male lead – the glowering Rochester – Jane Eyre is also a suspenseful gothic mystery. Its sparse settings resemble those of Wuthering Heights; places which not only lend themselves to the novel’s psychological drama, but in which the air crackles and whispers with forces beyond human control. However, the narrative belongs to Jane, and it is her singularity and the vivid portrayal of her inner life that make this novel exceptional. Brontë’s intimate first-person narrative formed a template for later authors including Joyce and Proust. As a female character, Jane was far ahead of her time. In her fierce meditations on spiritual and emotional dilemmas, and her determination to remain inwardly free when the cruelties and desires of others threaten her integrity, she was a proto-feminist figure quite unlike her pliant predecessors.

Artist Santiago Caruso’s dedication to the fantastique made him sensitive to the novel’s otherworldliness. His illustrations evoke its eerie scenery and the intensity of Jane’s experiences. In most she is central: a small but wilful figure whose ‘obscure’ life is as profoundly engaging as that of the most dazzling heroine. As author Emma Donoghue writes in her introduction, Jane ‘survives all sorts of abuses and humiliations because she is driven on by a sense that she matters, because everybody matters’.

Details here http://www.foliosociety.com/book/JYR/jane-eyre-bronte

 

 

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University and an award-winning teacher. She is a contributing writer for The Atlantic.com and for Christianity Today, where she blogs frequently at Her.meneutics. Her writing has appeared in Relevant, Think Christian, and Salvo. She is a Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a member of INK: A Creative Collective, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story.