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I remember reading Charlotte Brontë’s gothic classic Jane Eyre when I was 14 and feeling enveloped and challenged by it, but also incredibly entertained. It was an experience I’d never gotten from any other book, even the ones I’d really liked, and it marked the beginning of my love and fascination for the written word. Since then there have been many, many more books that have deepened my respect and love for all genres of literature, and ultimately compelled me to major in English. It would probably take me the space of an entire novel to write about all of them, so for now I’ll just list the stars. Here are eight books that made me want to major in English — if you’re a fellow book lover, maybe you’ll relate.Broadway World has composer Paul Gordon tell the back story of five of his songs such as
1. Jane Eyre. Obviously, as I said above, this work of fiction was the one that really kicked off my desire to major in English. It’s incredibly well written, and everything from the dreary, English setting to the creepy mystery of Mr. Rochester and his weird marriage made me love reading this novel. But I also really liked seeing an independent, single, female character written in what was historically not a great time for women. (Elizabeth Enochs)
"Painting Her Portrait" - Jane EyreThe Huffington Post suggests being a patron of your own art.
"In 1993, I found myself sitting in John Caird's backyard as he was looking over my first draft of Jane Eyre, holding a menacing red pencil while he corrected my spelling. He basically liked what I had done but felt there was a song missing. It was the moment when Jane first hears that Mr. Rochester is to become engaged to Blanche Ingram. John suggested there should be a song that would allow the audience to experience Jane's low self-esteem as she compares herself to her beautiful rival. I sat down to write the song the next day and I took a direct quote from the novel, 'I'm painting my portrait, an absolute likeness,' and the melody and lyrics came to me as quickly as any song I've ever written. I played the song immediately for my friend Nell Balaban (who later went on to play Grace Poole in the original Broadway production) and I was met with instant approval. The next day I worked on the song a little more and played it again for Nell. She pointed out that a night's sleep had altered my beginning melody that I loved so much, without my realizing it. Luckily Nell has great ears and I was able to re-instate the original melody. The song remains one of my favorites because it reflects musically the agony Jane is feeling in this moment. Similar to the agony I felt when John Caird was correcting my spelling." (Pat Cerasaro)
Charlotte Brontë was a poorly paid governess who not only used her money to pay for her writing career but used her experiences as a governess for her characters of Jane Eyre and Villette. (Kristen Houghton)Technically though, it was the money their aunt had left them in her will that was initially used for the sisters' self-publication of their book of poems.