Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Of Hard Times

I don't remember reading much as a child but I guess I must have for many times now I'll pick up a book and it's very familiar. One such book is "Jane Eyre" which I've just started.
The early part of this novel is largely autobiographical based on her time at school. By any stretch of the imagination it's bleak. She tells a story of constant cold at school with her feet being so cold they swell and become difficult to fit into her shoes each morning. Sometimes at the beginning of a day she gets a wash. Sometimes she doesn't depending on whether the basin of water has frozen over or not. Food amounts to a bowl of often burnt porridge in the morning and slices of hard bread thereafter.
This is a girl who went on to become one of England's greatest writers. If school was bad for her one can't help but wonder what it must have been like for the many others in schools, institutes or work houses kicking around in the early 1800s. Scary really.


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