I’ve spent a lazy weekend unwilling to even start studying for finals, but as I wasted time today I re-watched the Masterpiece version of Jane Eyre from 2006.
Now for those who don’t know Jane Eyre is probably one of my all time favorite books. There are few others that can reduce me to such utter happiness when I read, make me smile and laugh and cry all at once. And watching the movie just reminds me so much of the book I fell in love with all those years ago.
Now I think Jane had a special meaning to me this time I watched. I’m leaving to go off to France next semester leaving behind my college to go study abroad. And while I’m certainly excited and looking forward to the whole thing, another part of me is saddened at having to leave behind the place I’ve grown so familiar with over the last two and a half years.
And in finding myself in this situation I’ve constantly found myself sympathizing with literary characters like Jane as they leave their familiar homes behind, the places they’ve come to know and love so well over a significant portion of their lives. I feel like Jane leaving Thornfield, Harry leaving Hogwarts, Lucy leaving Narnia, Oliver Twist being forced from the Brownlow’s.
That’s not to say I don’t want to go to France, it’s merely that I dread leaving the place I’ve become so familiar with. I have a loving home back with my parents to be sure, but something about college has just really clicked for me. I have learned more about myself than I ever dreamed I would, have met wonderful new friends who support me in my growth, and have simply found a place I can only describe as home.
And to be sure I’m embarking out on a grand adventure. But I’m like Samwise Gamgee heading out of the Shire, a little wary to leave the place that has been so safe and good for him all his life.
He looks at Frodo on the first little bit of their walk and says:
“If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”
The road ahead of me is still so shadowed, unknown. I feel in many ways like I’m setting out without a map, no concept of what might happen of where this journey might lead me. But I know if my books have taught me anything that even if the road will be hard that it will be worth it and that this new stage of my life is going to change and shape me.
So I cling to my books right now in hopes of comforting myself as I set out. It’s moments like these that I feel like I truly understand why literature exists in giving us a sense of shared human experience and understanding for our struggles and fears.
I suppose I should warn you dear readers that I will possibly be taking a break from my blog for a while as I study abroad. I need to focus on learning the language and shouldn’t spend too much time using English. I will probably start a blog about my travels though and will be sure to announce when that’s up.
But regardless I still just wanted to share that brief moment of happiness in recognizing the way I see literature in my own life and the hope I have as I head out for my grand adventure. To all friends from my new “home” at school, just know I will miss you. I feel like Harry leaving Ron and Hermione, or Lucy leaving Mr. Tumnus. I will miss all of you, but I will be back one day for sure. And I look forward to sharing with you the adventures I’ve had in my time away. And since I can’t take you with me I take the hope books have given me about friendships, adventures, and everything else. To my followers, don’t give up on me yet. I’ll try to keep this going as long as I can.
So, what ways have you seen parts of your favorite book in your own life? What hope do characters give you?