Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lessons to be Learned from Literary Characters

While I was on vacation in Italy, I came across an article from the Huffington Post that created much discussion among the literary minded girls in our group (and was reminded of it again while reading this post by a fellow blogger).  It was titled "11 Lessons That 'Jane Eyre' Can Teach Every 21st Century Woman About How To Live Well".  This intrigued me, being the devoted "Jane Eyre" fan that I am, and I checked it out to see how the list compared with my own impressions of one of literature's most famous heroines.

The article did point out some of the novel's best lessons like "You can overcome your past, no matter how bad it is.", "Be positive.", and "You are stronger than you think."  But these 11 ideas only scratch the surface of what Jane Eyre's story can teach us.  Like the freedom that is found in forgiving those who have wronged us (Jane's forgiveness of her aunt).  Or how important it is to do the right thing, even when it seems no one else will care (Jane's decision to leave Rochester because it is right, not because she does not love him).  Or the idea that you shouldn't let other people's convictions push you into doing something that you feel isn't best (Jane's refusal of St. John, though he insists it is "God's will" for her).  That is why it is so important to read great literature.  Not only does it expand your mind and feed
your imagination, it can also teach you ways to be a better person.

What are some important lessons you have learned from literature?  What other literary characters can serve as great role models?  Tell us who you have learned from.  

1 comment:

hopeinbrazil said...

Nice post. I agree completely that Jane Eyre has many great messages that were not covered in the Huffington Post list. One character that had a lot of influence on me was a man in the Elizabeth Goudge book called Gentian Hill. I did not like the book very much but I've never forgotten the man who gave up his private, comfortable life (a house filled with beloved books) to reach out to needy people.