Logo Top Banner
slogan Alaska Timeline Alaska Kids About
Peer Work
Family & Community
History & Culture
Digital Archives
Narrative & Healing
Reading & Writing
Libraries & Booksellers
Teaching & Learning
Contact Us

Sign up for newsletter
Find us on Facebook

Peer Work

Home  >  Peer Work
Rachel's letter to Charlotte Bronte
By Rachel Bennett
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 1999 Category: Letters About Literature

Dear Charlotte Bronte,

Jane Eyre has had a profound affect upon my life as I develop into an adult. Jane showed so much courage and faith in her actions that she is a role model for me. The book took me on a whirlwind of emotions as she encounters more hardships than any person should have to. Yet, she remained strong because she believed in herself.

As a teenage female it is difficult to get up in the morning and be happy with who you are. It seems that society through TV, magazines, and movies are constantly saying, "you are not good enough." Jane had the same kind of pressures but she never gave up, and I never will either. When life gets really tough I tell myself that if she could do it I can too.

Jane was able to stand up for her beliefs also. She made the hardest decision to leave Mr. Rochester, but she did it because she had to respect herself. Jane was strong enough to know that she needed to be with a man she could trust and that she could respect herself with. If Mr. Rochester was married, it did not matter how much love she felt. She could not break the laws put forth by God and society. This was helpful when my father's girlfriend left us. After seven years she walked away, and it left a void in my life that I thought could destroy me. I slowly began to heal and when I thought about what Jane did it made me realize that I was strong enough to get through this. No matter what, she could not come back to us because she had made a decision and it had to be stood by. This may not seem like comfort, but it was when I realized that I had to move on. There was no way I could just stay upset forever. I had to do what my heart told me and keep going with my life.

I was also impressed by Jane's ability to recognize that St. John was destroying her. It would have been easier to just let him consume her so that she would not have to feel anymore. The relationship they had was abusive in the worst sense because he was mentally killing her. I feel like Jane set an example for me. I will try to be as aware as she was to what is happening to me. She was strong enough to walk away from the abuse, and I hope that if I should ever be in that position I could be as strong as Jane was. She also had to be strong in saying how she felt. She learned how to communicate her feelings before anything she would regret could happen to her. In any relationship there must be communication, but it is not easy to do. My relationships are stronger because I realize that if I am quiet about how I feel I will lose the whole essence of who I am in the relationship.

Jane's confidence in her ability to remain good was also profound. She had more conviction in her pinkie that most people have in their entire being. I face challenges to who I am and what I believe every day. I refuse to be a part of the "party scene" but it is all around me. It is difficult to maintain that status when the people around you are all falling into the crowd. Jane was a leader in the sense that she was not afraid to stand alone. I admire that in her because I realize how difficult it is to stand alone against the whole world, or what seems to be the whole world.

It is also amazing that Jane remained such a friendly, caring person when she was raised by people who did not care for her at all. I admire her for not being vengeful towards those that had hurt her. Even when Mrs. Reed was spiteful on her deathbed, Jane was generous and kind. It is a difficult thing to do, and I try to emulate that quality. I recently lost an election to another person. Oddly enough, although I lost, he is sarcastic and harsh towards me. At times I want to scream and yell, but I remember that like Jane towards Mrs. Reed, I have to be the bigger person. I try not to harbor any anger toward him, but I have not reached that level of maturity yet. I admire Jane for reaching that level because I am finding it really hard.

Your novel has changed my life because it touches on so many aspects of life for a young woman. I hope that through my life I can strive to be as strong as Jane was through hers. I have been changed by your novel, and I feel the change is good. I admire you for writing this book about an independent woman in a time period that did not accept independent young women. Thank you for having the courage and talent to create this novel and character. The impact it has made on my life already is too large to fit into words. Just know that it is unforgettable and enormous.

Thank you always,

Rachel Bennett

12th grade
A.J. Dimond High School, Anchorage
Teacher: Ms. Susan Alexander-Derrera

  Contact Us       LitSite Alaska, Copyright © 2000 - 2017. All rights reserved. University of Alaska Anchorage.
University of Alaska Anchorage