Completing this novel by Charlotte Bronte has been my sole achievement of the ‘placement holidays’ (all plans related to academics never went beyond the wishful planning stage).
Now, a lonely heroine in a foreign land was not quite the kind of setting I was looking for, since I had picked up that novel to fight out my own loneliness. However couple of days at IITK helped and then I was able to complete the novel. Overall the characters and the love-story do not excite me. It’s not a criticism of the book as such, because I think it has depicted the character it wanted to depict quite well. I didn’t get entertained by that so much because I neither identify with nor appreciate the kind of characters depicted.
But the most interesting part of the novel for me was stereotypical English vs. French and Catholics vs. Protestant descriptions of the characters. Stereotypical the description was, the stereotype of English, of course; and for most part a feeling of superiority in English over the French has been brought out through the heroine, who is also the narrator of the novel.
Since the description of French society is through biased English eyes, I would not blindly trust that. I should like to read some French authors at this stage. However, even knowing what kind of stereotypical image people carry about each other is interesting and useful🙂