jan 1: jane eyre prep

January 1, 2016 @ 8:24 pm | Filed under: ,
image source: wikimedia commons

Charlotte Brontë. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

I’m teaching Jane Eyre to my lit class girls this month and therefore spent a good bit of last week prepping—a most delightful occupation. Here’s what was on my list of things to do:

• Reread the book (rererereread, more like)

• Compare movie/TV versions:
Masterpiece Theater miniseries, 2006 (Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens)
1996 (Charlotte Gainsbourgh, William Hurt)
2011 (Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender)

Cathy David lecture (SO GOOD)

• Teaching Company “The English Novel” course, Lecture 11, “Novelists of the 1840s—The Brontës” (Audible.com version)

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (not really for the class, just because all of the above put me in the mood)

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9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. sarah says:

    I wish I could attend that class! I took Jane Eyre at uni and have taught it myself but I would love to delve into it again from your perspective. We watch the 2011 movie often – we could do so with the sound turned off and still be captivated.

  2. Melissa Wiley says:

    Sarah, I would love to have you!! We meet weekly in a coffee shop, which makes it all the more fun. If only your commute weren’t so drastic! 😉

  3. Susanne Barrett says:

    I adore Jane Eyre–it’s my favorite novel!! Really. Of all time. 🙂

    Fortunately, I had the opportunity to teach it at Brave Writer several years ago…yes, a whole month devoted to digging deep into Jane Eyre. It was soooooo lovely.

    I’ve watched all of the films you’ve listed above, but I prefer the 1985 BBC mini-series with Timothy Dalton (even though he’s far too good looking) as it follows the book precisely, even using many lines straight from the novel. I did see the 2011 film at the arts theater in La Jolla when it was first released, but I didn’t like how it jumped around. And the ending was too quick; there was no time to soak in their reunion and subsequent relationship. I needed more time to rejoice with them, so the ending felt rather cut-off for me.

    Enjoy teaching–and I’m definitely looking up that lecture you linked! 😉

    And Happy 2016!!

    Susanne, who is hoping to come to the Brave Writer retreat in July, especially since you’re speaking, although I’m already going back in June for the BW staff retreat….

  4. monica says:

    I would be interested in how you structure your classes. I have thought of doing the same thing. Do you discuss one chapter a week or the whole book at once or do you focus on different aspects each week? I love book discussions with adults but I am at a loss on how to guide them for younger people.

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Monica, this class of 5 9th-grade girls meets once a week in a coffee shop. We usually spend 4-6 weeks per novel (and have also done loads of short stories). Sometimes I assign short written pieces such as author bios or character sketches during the first couple of weeks. Halfway through the month we begin working on longer essays. For discussion, I’ve broken Jane Eyre into weekly chunks: childhood/Lowood School; beginning at Thornfield to Aunt Reed’s death; etc. I like to allow plenty of time for discussion. After they’ve written a draft of the longer essay for each book, I usually schedule a week to go over their papers/give feedback. I encourage lots of revision / multiple drafts.

  5. Gail Gauthier says:

    Ruth Wilson is my favorite Jane. I didn’t care for Wide Sargasso Sea.

  6. Sam(antha) says:

    Also read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde if you haven’t! It’s such a different take on Jane Eyre (and other classics)

  7. Emily says:

    Didn’t like WSS either. Love Ruth Wilson as Jane. She does such a great job with it.