Jane Eyre is without a doubt one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. She’s resilient, kind, and a bit of a spitfire. No matter what she’s going through or how emotionally fraught she is, she manages to keep on being awesome, driving her life with her own inner strength. I love that about her, but I can’t help but think that even Jane could have used a little musical boost once in a while. You know what I mean—when you’re in a bit of a rut, put your earbuds in or crank up the car radio, and suddenly a few anthems turn into the soundtrack of your life. Sadly, living in the 1800s, Jane didn’t have that luxury. Sure, there was music, but I don’t think Jane was getting to many concert halls, and I don’t imagine that listening to that puke-faced Blanche Ingram sing and play in the drawing room was very therapeutic. Knowing Jane (and I like to think that after all these years, I do), I think she would have appreciated some great pop jams from the 80s, 90s and today, so I’ve compiled a little playlist specifically designed for our homegirl from Lowood.
“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
Jane had it rough growing up. Between that hideous Aunt Reed locking her in the Red Room and that horrible cousin John making it his mission in life to torture her, it’s amazing that she kept on standing. Add to that everything she went through at Lowood School, and you’ve got one heck of a fighter here. Did Jane ever complain and act all “woe is me”? No. She knew that sitting around and wallowing over it wouldn’t do her any good. She survived, and kept on surviving.
“Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul (featuring MC Skat Kat)
Who’d have thought that poor, plain, obscure and little Jane and the curmudgeonly, brooding master of Thornfield Hall would be lovers? The match seems almost as unlikely as a tap dancing pop singer and a smoking, cartoon cat, but when they got together they had nothing but fun. Except when he was making her cry, or when she was saving his life.
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
Haters gonna hate. When you’ve got the Queen of Mean Girls, Blanche Ingram, treating you like dirt and making a move on your man, you can get sucked in by it, or you can shake it off. The same goes for mysterious middle-of-the-night fires, a madwoman tearing your wedding veil in two, and deathbed confessionals from your aunt about robbing you of your inheritance. Instead of getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world, Jane always took the high road, just like our girl Swifty. (For the record, I think Jane would be all about T. Swizzle in general. Who isn’t?)
“Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
Love him or not, if your fiance drops a bombshell on you on your wedding day about, I don’t know, a crazy wife locked in the attic, you’re going to send him packing to the left, to the left. Or, you know, if you’re living in his giant manor, you’ll get packing, but the sentiment is the same. Rochester may have been her soulmate, but if he thought Jane was going to stick around and live in his house of bigamy, he must not have known about her.
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
If Jane Eyre were a rom com, this is the point where Jane would go off and get bangs and start her own catering business or something. If anyone thought that the Bertha Mason affair was going to break her, they were dead wrong. What didn’t kill Jane only made her stronger. She went away, worked on her already awesome self, and started over with her new identity, her new friends/cousins, and a new potential love interest. (Sorry that didn’t work out for you, St. John.)
“Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake
You can only stay away from your soul mate for so long. Rochester suffered. He saw the error of his ways. But he was seriously the other half of her. Obviously she had to go back. They had the pulsation of one heart in two separate bosoms. It’s like he was her mirror. JT gets it.
Can you think of any songs that should be on Jane’s playlist? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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3 thoughts on “Jane Eyre’s Life in Pop Songs”
This was fantastic – thank you! What a way to put Jane Eyre into the “modern” perspective and to make her story even more relevant to the present day! If I had to add a song to your list it would be Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.” It’s a song about learning to love yourself and the lyrics “If I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ll live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity” just seem to epitomize the feelings that Jane has about herself and that actually grow with her throughout the novel.
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Thank you so much!! And GREAT suggestion with “Greatest Love of All.” I think Jane believes “the children are our future” and she certainly taught Adele well and let her lead the way! Excellent choice!!
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