#dwjmarch: you can quote me on that

I reread Howl’s Moving Castle for #dwjmarch, or #marchmagics or whatever the kids are calling it these days. It’s one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors and reading it is always a joyful and rewarding experience. I have many favorite scenes and quotes, many of which are very useful in real-life situations. I have listed some of my favorites below, with suggestions on their use.



“But I discovered that people like me- they do, you know, if you like them– and then it was all right.”

Use as good advice for pretty much any social situation.

“I’ve heard of you, Miss Hatter, and I don’t care for your competition or your attitude.”

Use as a good throw-down statement any time you come across one of your many nemeses.

“But I’m surely due to have a third encounter, magical or not. In fact,  I insist on one. I wonder what it will be.”

Use when you know what you want and that you’re gonna get it and if you’re open-minded about the details.

“What a stupid way to treat a building!”

Use when faced with atrocities of architecture, either in aesthetics or utility.

“I refuse to be exploited.”

Use when needed.

“I hope your bacon burns.”

Use as an all-purpose curse, but be aware it is particularly vicious.

“I am a total stranger,” Sophie lied firmly.

Use when you come across someone you have met that you would rather not speak to, e.g. , oh no it’s that lady I met at a party once and I don’t remember her name but she was awful OH NO SHE IS SPEAKING TO ME.

“I’ve reached that stage in my career when I need to impress everyone with my power and wickedness.”

Use when you’re feeling supremely self-confident and ready to take on the world.

“Keep that broom still while I cross my own room, please.”

Use when someone is in your space, messing up your vibes, and you want to show your disapproval.

“I know I’m slapdash, but there’s no need for you to copy me.”

Use when you’re showing someone how to do something and they’re foolishly trying to do it as fast as you do.

“Michael was a nice boy, Sophie thought, but a bit helpless in a crisis.”

Use when describing that one friend we all have that we wouldn’t want to trust our life to in a tense situation.

“Why have you made a jigsaw puzzle of my best suit? Just a friendly inquiry, you know.”

See “Keep that broom still” up above.

“Is that all you can do in the face of tragedy? Make toast!”

Use when someone isn’t taking your personal crisis as seriously as you think they should be.

“Don’t you think I did any of me myself, then? Put in just a few touches of my own?”

Use when others are claiming responsibility for anything good or important you’ve ever done.

“I feel ill,” he announced. “I’m going to bed, where I may die.”

Use when you’re sick enough to feel miserable but not sick enough to go to the doctor.

“I can tell Sophie is in top form at the moment, and I want this room the usual size when I come back to it.”

Use when babysitting or supervising humans of any age whom you don’t trust.

“I have caught an everlasting cold, but luckily I am terribly dishonest. I cling to that.”

Use when you need something to cling to.

“I assure you, my friends, I am cone sold stober.”

Use when those around you don’t trust your frame of mind or decision-making skills.

“You’ve no right to make jigsaws of people!”

Use to show your disapproval of someone’s completely immoral choices.

“All my flanks were weak!”

Use to admit when you were wrong and you have regrets.

Jane Eyre: Chapters 12-16

This post contains spoilers through chapter 16 of Jane Eyre.

I realized that I haven’t been making as many jokes or using as many gifs with this book as with the others. I’ve been trying to figure out why, but all I can conclude is that I take this book more seriously than our previous readalong books. Is that fair? You tell me.

That being said, I will try to include more gifs this time around by assigning a gif to each chapter that I feel encapsulates that chapter as a whole. Spoilers: I love these early chapters with Rochester. I love watching Jane turn him upside down in every conversation, his crazy unexplained moodswings, and their progression  into a weird friendship.

Chapter Twelve, or

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actual footage of Rochester’s entrance.

Jane is content with her life at Thornfield but is getting complacent and even bored with the sights and people. Fortunately for her (and the narrative) Rochester crashes his way onto the page because he doesn’t know how to drive, apparently.

Best quote:

“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 constraint, 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. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

This was revolutionary thinking for the time that Jane Eyre was published. It’s still revolutionary for some today, which is sad.

“Gytrash”: For some reason I’m having a hard time finding references to this mythological dog that AREN’T just quoting Jane Eyre. Here is a good blog post on it.

Chapter Thirteen, or

Rochester has an odd idea of polite conversation.

Best quote:

“Arithmetic, you see, is useful: without its aid, I should hardly have been able to guess your age. It is a point difficult to fix where the features and countenance are so much at variance as in your case.”

Jane Eyre is an old soul, and Rochester recognizes this almost immediately. I think it’s interesting that whereas Jane thought of the gytrash creature when she heard his horse, he suspected her of being a fairy when he first saw her. These crazy kids need to calm down with their flights of fancy.

Physiognomy: Victorians were REALLY into judging the outward appearance of a person and using it to figure out what their personality was. It also helped them be even more racist than their wildest dreams. Jane is referring to physiognomy when, for example, she notices his “full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler.” Rochester is also referring to it when he asks Jane about his large forehead in the next chapter.

Chapter Fourteen, or

Jane is good at avoiding conversational blunders.

Best quote:

“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 as durable as flint.”

This whole conversation, but especially this bit, tells us so much about their characters. Jane has a rigid code of morality, and she holds to it, but she thinks that others are, or can be, as disciplined as she is. At the other extreme is Rochester, who is so aware of his own faults that he self-sabotages himself by being convinced he won’t hold to any resolutions he may make. Rochester on the whole in this chapter is very determined to show us how wretched he is, but can come across as whiny. I go back and forth with this guy.

Chapter Fifteen, or


Best quote:

“In short, I began the process of ruining myself in the received style, like any other spoony. I had not, it seems, the originality to chalk out a new road to shame and destruction, but trode the old track with stupid exactness not to deviate an inch from the beaten centre. I had- as I deserved to have-the fate of all other spoonies.”

Rochester is a pretty sketchy guy. I like that Jane, as shocked as she must have been by this whole story, doesn’t dismiss him based on it but considers him as a whole, and observes his current faults and his current strengths. Ughhh I just love their friendship but I also love the part where she saves him from the fire and then he’s all “UGHHH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” but doesn’t actually say that? I have feelings, people, about this chapter and these characters.

Apollo Belvedere: presented without comment.

Chapter Sixteen, or

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Jane finding out about Blanche, probably

Jane is getting real thirsty in this chapter, as well as incredibly frustrated by the cover story for the fire that she has to go along with.

Best quote:

When once more alone, I reviewed the information I had got; looked into my heart, examined its thoughts and feelings, and endeavoured to bring back with a strict hand such as had been straying through imagination’s boundless and trackless waste, into the safe fold of common sense.

Arraigned at my own bar, Memory having given her evidence of the hopes, wishes, sentiments I had been cherishing since last night-of the general state of mind in which I had indulged for nearly a fortnight past; Reason having come forward and told in her own quiet way, a plain, unvarnished tale, showing how I had rejected the real, and rabidly devoured the ideal-I pronounced judgement to this effect: –

That a greater fool than Jane Eyre had never breathed the breath of life: that a more fantastic idiot had never surfeited herself on sweet lies, and swallowed poison as if it were nectar.

Jane has no chill, especially not when she feels she’s let herself fall into unrequited love. I really love and relate to the above quote, though. Self-talk is never harsher than when you feel like you’ve made a huge mistake, especially when you knew you knew better. You know?


What were your favorite scenes from this section? Favorite quotes?

Did anything strike you as strange or confusing?

Do you find Rochester as a sympathetic character or just whiny?

What do you think of Adele? How does Jane treat her? How do other characters treat her? Do you think Adele is treated well or poorly by those around her?

How effective is the Mysterious House and Mysterious Grace Poole plot? How is the suspense being built, or what parts of the story/characters/setting are adding to the suspense?



Literature and Realism

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.

— C. S. Lewis

Somehow my brain connected the idea in this quote to the recent obsession with 3D movies. 3D movies and HDTV and such are obsessed with giving us the clearest picture, the absolute most detail in every single frame. But I usually enjoy the more traditional (almost old-fashioned at this point) 2D. It’s warmer and fuzzier, with more of a fantastical feel than a THIS IS SO REAL IT LOOKS LIKE A DOCUMENTARY sort of feeling.

I feel the same way about the books that I enjoy and get the most out of. It doesn’t need to reflect reality perfectly, it doesn’t have to be completely believable at all times. If it describes something that I have experienced in real life, that’s great, that’s fascinating. But there has to be something more. I can get real life while I’m in real life; literature, real, good literature, “enriches,” adds significance or meaning, expands, what we see  so that we perceive it in a completely different or much more expansive way.