Sunday, August 30, 2009
Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?
65. Can Jane Eyre Be Happy? More Puzzles in Classic Fiction, by John Sutherland
In this book, a follow-up to his Is Heathcliff a Murderer?, Sutherland seeks to answer questions that most of us have never asked. Some are unanswerable, except by reaching for that old chestnut,"even Homer nods"! But, for others, he actually comes up with reasonable (or not wildly unreasonable) explanations. And it's rather fun getting there.
Have you ever wondered what is in Heathcliff's will? Or what the Prynnes were doing in Boston? Neither have I. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Sutherland's attempts to answer these and other literary conundrums. He has a fine sense of humor, taking none of this too seriously. His disquisition on the question, "What is Elfride's rope made of?" (Thomas Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes, had me in stitches. It's not even necessary to have read the books (does anyone, not a college English major, actually read Ford Maddox Ford's The Good Soldier these days?), you'll find plenty of diversion, anyway.