Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: Literary Mixtape

Without a doubt, Jane Eyre is my favorite classic novel. It may even be one of my favorite novels period. I relate to Jane on many, many levels. Primarily, I always felt just like her: poor, obscure, plain and little. Beyond that, I respected her for not compromising herself to obtain something she desired. It was one of the first (adult) novels I fell in love with. As I’ve grown older, I’ve decided that, if you read the classics, you are either a Jane Eyre fan or a Wuthering Heights fan, I’ve met very few people who love both.


As an alternative for a review, synopsis, or anything of the like, I decided to create a soundtrack for the book. Please note that quite a bit of this is intended to be playful and irreverent. I’m rarely serious and this post is no exception. Because really, do I believe that Jane Eyre should lead off with Nirvana’s cover of a Meat Puppets song? No, but I like it all the same.

1. Lake of Fire by Nirvana

“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.

“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”

“A pit full of fire.” “And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?” “No, sir.” “What must you do to avoid it?” I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: “I must keep in good health and not die.”

2. Going to Hell by Kathleen Edwards

Only one thing, I know: you said you were not as good as you should like to be, and that you regretted your own imperfection;–one thing I can comprehend: you intimated that to have a sullied memory was a perpetual bane. It seems to me, that if you tried hard, you would in time find it possible to become what you yourself would approve; and that if from this day you began with resolution to correct your thoughts and actions, you would in a few years have laid up a new and stainless store of recollections, to which you might revert with pleasure.”

“Justly thought; rightly said, Miss Eyre; and, at this moment, I am paving hell with energy.”


“I am laying down good intentions, which I believe durable as flint.

3. I Want You To Want Me by Cheap Trick

“I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me.”

4. We Never Win by Nathaniel Rateliff

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.

5. Simple Twist of Fate by Bob Dylan

It is one of my faults, that though my tongue is sometimes prompt enough at an answer, there are times when it sadly fails me in framing an excuse; and always the lapse occurs at some crisis, when a facile word or plausible pretext is specially wanted to get me out of painful embarrassment. I did not like to walk at this hour alone with Mr. Rochester in the shadowy orchard; but I could not find a reason to allege for leaving him. I followed with lagging step, and thoughts busily bent on discovering a means of extrication; but he himself looked so composed and so grave also, I became ashamed of feeling any confusion: the evil–if evil existent or prospective there was–seemed to lie with me only; his mind was unconscious and quiet.

6. Not A Pretty Girl by Ani DiFranco

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!

7. Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

“Yes, so, sir,” I rejoined: “and yet not so; for you are a married man–or as good as a married man, and wed to one inferior to you–to one with whom you have no sympathy–whom I do not believe you truly love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her. I would scorn such a union: therefore I am better than you–let me go!”

8. I Am The Man Who Loves You by Wilco

“Oh, Jane, you torture me!” he exclaimed. “With that searching and yet faithful and generous look, you torture me!”

“How can I do that? If you are true, and your offer real, my only feelings to you must be gratitude and devotion–they cannot torture.”

“Gratitude!” he ejaculated; and added wildly–“Jane accept me quickly. Say, Edward–give me my name–Edward–I will marry you.”

“Are you in earnest? Do you truly love me? Do you sincerely wish me to be your wife?”

“I do; and if an oath is necessary to satisfy you, I swear it.”

9. Odd Place To Be by Holley Maher

As I rose and dressed, I thought over what had happened, and wondered if it were a dream. I could not be certain of the reality till I had seen Mr. Rochester again, and heard him renew his words of love and promise.

10. Wild Country by Wake Owl

I rose up suddenly, terror-struck at the solitude which so ruthless a judge haunted,–at the silence which so awful a voice filled. My head swam as I stood erect. I perceived that I was sickening from excitement and inanition; neither meat nor drink had passed my lips that day, for I had taken no breakfast. And, with a strange pang, I now reflected that, long as I had been shut up here, no message had been sent to ask how I was, or to invite me to come down: not even little Adele had tapped at the door; not even Mrs. Fairfax had sought me.

11. Untouchable by Luna Halo

“Not in your sense of the word, but in mine you are scheming to destroy me. You have as good as said that I am a married man–as a married man you will shun me, keep out of my way: just now you have refused to kiss me. You intend to make yourself a complete stranger to me: to live under this roof only as Adele’s governess; if ever I say a friendly word to you, if ever a friendly feeling inclines you again to me, you will say,–‘That man had nearly made me his mistress: I must be ice and rock to him;’ and ice and rock you will accordingly become.”

12. Eye Of The Hurricane by David Wilcox

May you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonised as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love.

13. Forever by Ben Harper

Then he stretched his hand out to be led. I took that dear hand, held it a moment to my lips, then let it pass round my shoulder: being so much lower of stature than he, I served both for his prop and guide. We entered the wood, and wended homeward.

Sooooo. What do you think? Do you ever create a soundtrack (albeit a inappropriate one) for a novel? Is there any song that absolutely must go on a soundtrack for Jane Eyre (I’m not expecting much from this one, but I’m all ears)? And, finally, Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre? Which Brontë sister will it be? You can even nominate Anne if you’d like…

44 thoughts on “Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: Literary Mixtape

    1. I hate Wuthering Heights! I am firmly a Jane Eyre fan and always will be. I don’t have much of an opinion on Anne Bronte.

      So, if just going by my opinion, skip Wuthering Heights. But I’m sure I’m offending hordes of die hard WH fans by saying so. Oddly enough, I liked the modern retelling of it – Abide with Me by Sabin Willett.


  1. I’m spamming your blog today, this is what happens when you leave it a week to catch up on your bloglovin’ feed.

    I don’t think I have ever met anyone who loves both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights either, one is usually enjoyed and the other is adored. I’m a Wuthering Heights girl myself.

    Awesome playlist! Maps, yes! I think I would equate that to Wuthering Heights too.


    1. Please continue to do so!

      It seems to be a dividing preference. I am not find of Wuthering Heights, it’s everything wrong with humanity crammed into one book.

      And thank you, it’s more or less meant tongue-in-cheek, but I do actually think most of the songs thematically match. Even if Cheap Trick doesn’t hold the same cultural value as Jane Eyre…


  2. I think Wuthering Heights is brilliant but that being said it is not fun or pleasant read for me! You know how muc Jane Eyre means to me so I LOVED this post and listened to every song..brilliant choices.. I have my own Jane Eyre song list I should post it sometime!


    1. You should! I would love to read it. I have a great memory for song lyrics, which is why I do this actually. I usually make little notes in the margins of books when something reminds me of a song (or something else).

      Wuthering Heights is a literary classic, but not a very enjoyable one.


  3. I never realized there was a Jane Eyre/Wuthering Heights divide. I guess I am one of the rare people who love both, although certainly not equally! Jane Eyre is my favorite book of all time. I think Wuthering Heights is amazing, but it’s also completely insane. I once described it to a friend as being about “a bunch of horrible people competing against one another to be the most horrible person”… (For some reason, this made her decide NOT to read it.) I DEFINITELY don’t read it as a romance, but I think it’s a fascinating character study.

    For what it’s worth, I like all the Brontes, though. In fact, I always thought the divide was between fans of the Brontes and fans of Jane Austen. I mean, I enjoy some of Jane Austen’s books, but she just doesn’t speak to me in the same way.


    1. I don’t think it divides as much as there is usually a strong preference for one or the other. But I do agree, there is usually a divide between Bronte and Austen, though I do like both for very different reasons (Bronte wins though).

      And you’re right, Wuthering Heights is essentially a competition to see who can be the worst to each other!


    1. Excellent, I like that song quite a bit as well. Someday I’m going to make a actual list of favorite songs, right now it’s sort of fluid and dependent on my current mood.


  4. I’m fully team Jane! Also, Lake of Fire is my favorite song off Nirvana’s Unplugged album. It’s a really good choice for fall too… Now I need to listen to it! I added Holly Maher to one of my Pandora stations after your last music post, just so you know, and now I kind of love her.


    1. I knew I liked you – you’re brilliant, obviously (because Jane and Nirvana?!)

      She adorable and has such a pretty voice (I secretly (or not so secretly) want her hair).

      You know I’ve never used Pandora. I’ve never even looked at it. True story.


  5. You know I’m a Wuthering Heights girl 🙂 Although I really, really like Anne Bronte. Agnes Grey & The Tenant of Wildfell Hall are both great books.

    And now I have I Want You To Want Me stuck in my head…


    1. You’re forgiven, we all have flaws. 😉

      I haven’t read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but it’s on the someday list.

      Well, that’s the plan (because I need you to need me).


  6. What, no Phil Collins?!

    Just to be difficult, I think you should have included Kate Bush in your Jane Eyre soundtrack.

    Specifically, Wuthering Heights.

    Great way to open the novel, I’m sure you agree.


    1. Damn, missed an opportunity there.

      But, I will give you Phill Collins. Sort of. I’m feeling generous, no need to thank me.

      “I know I must conceal my sentiments: I must smother hope; I must remember that he cannot care much for me. For when I say that I am of his kind, I do not mean that I have his force to influence, and his spell to attract: I mean only that I have certain tastes and feelings in common with him.I must, then, repeat continually that we are forever sundered: – and yet, while I breathe and think, I must love him.” with That’s All by Genesis.

      I always thought I should like that Wuthering Heights song – it would make sense – but I never have. A mystery, if you ask me…


      1. Now that’s an image.

        I now have to tell you – because I know you want to know – about my day (yesterday). I was on a road trip, driving through the middle of nowhere (northern Vermont), with only one radio station available…soft rock. Not only did I hear Phil Collins, but also Bryan Adams, Enrique Iglesias, The Police, and U2. I made it all the way through Take My Breath Away (by…?), some twangy Florida Georgia Line, and started a Phillip Phillips song before I opted for silence. I briefly considered waiting for a Whitney Houston song, but I couldn’t handle it.

        Later, I figured out my rental car has satellite radio.


      2. To be fair, I’ve always found Phil Collins’ solo work to be more satisfying (than Genesis) in a narrower way.

        Take My Breath Away – Berlin.

        I’m assuming for the sake of assumption that it was Everything I Do, Hero, Every Breath You Take and With Or Without You. In which case you have my pity.


      3. Very, very close – Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.

        The whole episode was an experience. And really, even if I’m poking fun at it, I knew all the words to every song. How? I’m not sure…


      4. Some songs? They’re just in here (points at head) and in here (points at heart). Sometimes, you just know these things in your bones, like they tap into some species memory, some collective unconscious.

        Ok? Now, 1…2…3…4

        Sleight of hand and twist of fate/on a bed of nails she makes me wait/and I wait…without you…


      5. It is actually, I was largely taking the Michael (although it’s true that people always seem to remember the lyrics to some, usually awful, songs)…

        But now I come to think of it, I do vaguely remember reading about some experiments that were done with isolated tribal populations being played music, recognising it as such and being able to differentiate between major and minor chords with reference to the feelings they aroused, even if the music had no connection with anything they had ever created themselves. So it seems like music might actually fulfil some sort of common need and its forms aren’t just learned behaviour.

        As for the head/heart bit – listen to your friend’s favourite song and try to work out why they say it’s the best song, like, ever, ever. Invariably it’s an awkward experience… And I think that’s largely down to the associations people make with music and read into it – so I particularly like a song by Miles Davis called Generique, because I like the atmospheric nature of it and the sound that guy got out of a trumpet was ridiculous. But it also arouses an emotional response that’s from me rather than the song itself. I think that’s why Bob Dylan refuses to explain his song meanings btw.


      6. I saw a study once that said that teenagers who listen to a lot of music are significantly more likely to be depressed, but that adults who listen to a lot of music are significantly more productive than those who don’t. I shared that for no other reason than I found it interesting. I think song preferences and interpretations are nearly entirely dependent on personal experiences – at least that’s true for me (as I cannot stand The Pretenders simply because they were my father’s favorite band) – and it’s what makes music remarkable/enjoyable/subjective. I think it’s also true of books, incidentally. This goes a long way towards explaining why favorite songs are not always good songs. For this reason, I find the songs people choose for their wedding(s) fascinating.

        For what it’s worth, my best friend’s favorite song is Radar Love by Golden Earring. And no, I do not understand the appeal.

        Re Bob Dylan, aside from what I see as his deeply rooted need to be a contrary human being, I agree. One of the reasons I’m so fond of Positively 4th Street is because there are so many interpretations of it. It amazes me that people fight to be the person that song is written about.


    1. Thank you. And I approve of your choice. It was the right one, of course. choosing between Edward vs. Heathcliff is really not a choice at all.

      I suppose I could use Wuthering Heights as one of those book I read when I want to feel like a better person…


  7. What a wonderful idea to create a playlist based on a novel! It makes me want to scour my iTunes library and see what literary themes I can find in my music. (Plus, you included lots of songs that I love…which makes sense, because they match Jane’s story, which I also love.)
    I’m a little ashamed to say that Wuthering Heights has been sitting on my shelf for over a decade and remains unread. But if what you say is true, then as a Jane Eyre afficionado, I may not appreciate it as much as others do!


    1. Well if it were up to me, I’d say skip it! There are so many more books to read that are better than that one. But I suppose for literary thoroughness you should consider it… 😉

      I think you should scour your iTunes library and then share what you come up with. Alisa at Picture Me Reading just did it today too. I’m not opposed in the least to filling the world with Jane Eyre-esque songs!


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