Dust off your copy of Jane Eyre, because April 21 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth, and they best way to celebrate is to bask in the glory of her marvelous writing. And don't worry, because if Jane and Rochester's story isn't enough to satisfy you, I have rounded up some of the best Charlotte Brontë quotes for you to enjoy in honor of her birthday.
Though she is best know for her Gothic novel Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë also penned several other novels of social critique, stories for children and young adults, and poetry. Her revolutionary feminist writing changed the face of literature, and she is often credited with being "the first historian of private consciousness." Her profound writing delved into the inner thoughts, emotions, and struggles of her characters, revealing a personal and intimate side of people that was previously left unexplored by other writers. She gave a much needed voice to the women of her generation, and the generations of women who followed after, by saying the things we've all thought and haven't been able to put into words.
Because there's no one else like her, not even her other talented sisters, here are 15 of the best Charlotte Brontë quotes to help you celebrate her 200th birthday. She may be two centuries old, but her writing will always be timeless.
1. "To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company."
2. “I am not an angel,' I asserted; 'and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me - for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.”
3.“Love is real--the most real, the most lasting, the sweetest and yet the bitterest thing we know.”
4. “There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.”
5. “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!”
6. “I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots. I believe that this life is not all; neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep.”
7. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you."
8. "If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed."
9. "I would always rather be happy than dignified."
10. “Strange that grief should now almost choke me, because another human being's eye has failed to greet mine.”
11. “Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”
12. “His mind was indeed my library, and whenever it was opened to me, I entered bliss.”
13. “I'll borrow of imagination what reality will not give me.”
14. "Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.”