Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Break Bread With Valjean

Jean Valjean, Jane Eyre, Anne Shirley, and Michael Henchard come to mind as some of my favorite book characters:

LM Montgomery, creator of the "Anne of Green Gables" books knew what she was doing when she planted Anne Shirley on P.E.I. There is nobody like her anywhere in fiction. She introduced me to Tennyson and, "The Highwayman," she shared her love of, "white ways of delight," and, "lakes of shining waters," and is a true bosom friend.

Victor Hugo created his French masterpiece, "Les Miserables," with Valjean at the center. A man jailed for nearly twenty years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. So intricately woven a tale, so beautiful the stories within, and it inspired my favorite musical with it's amazing lyrics and song.

"Jane Eyre," my favorite of all the Bronte sister's books is a story I can read again and again, and never tire of. Jane was my first grown-up heroine, and I've never been able to forget her story. She fueled my obsession with the Brontes. I don't care for Wuthering Heights, although I relate to Emily in many other ways, but I do enjoy Anne's writing. Branwell's waste of talent is tragically sad, but fascinating.

"The Mayor of Casterbridge," --Michael Henchard, ...a man who sells his wife and child to another man in a drunken rage, sets out to find them the next morning only to find they are gone, is another of my favorite characters. His first attempt to reconcile and make things right, then the second tragedy of his dying alone and uncared for touches my soul.I'd love to recite with Anne, break bread with Valjean, show kindness to Henchard, and walk with Jane.

Photo credits:
Lydia Halverson (Anne and Mrs Lynde)

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