Charlotte Bronte published "Jane Eyre" in 1847. It is a novel that I read in my early 30's upon realizing that I could not recall ever reading a novel written by a woman. Hence, "Jane Eyre" was my introduction not only into reading the classic books that I'd never read, but also a head-first fall into the fact that I'd had no female influences in my life up to that point. Charlotte Bronte, over a century and a half after she'd written "Jane Eyre," taught me that I should think like the individual that I am and not be a clown dancing to the tune of the society which I live in.
In the novel, Ms. Bronte's character stays true to herself throughout the entirity of the story. Through home-life hardships, dramatic confrontations, societal customs, and heartaches, Jane Eyre struggles through to solve problems, make peace, mend fences; whatever is needed to survive and hold her head up.
I consider myself fortunate to have read "Jane Eyre" as my introduction into women's literature in particular and classical literature in general. It held my attention from beginning to end, all the while hardly slowing my reading to even eat.
Here are a few paragraphs from my upcoming book on Chinese heroines: Chapter 1 Fu Hao (Lady Fu Hao), 13th Century BC Between 1,600 B.C. and 1,050 B.C., lon...