Getting 1800s with it.

Mrs. Reed Tweets

These days everybody wants to express themselves and make sure their opinions are heard. Luckily for them, there are numerous social platforms on the web which allow people to do just that- say whatever they want, whenever they want. Websites such as MySpace (before its popularity plunged), Facebook and Tumblr offer anyone the chance to speak their mind. However, there is one site that masses of people have been rushing to the past few years, a site called Twitter. Twitter is somewhat different than other social networking pages in that one is only given 140 characters to say what’s on their mind. It seems to work though, as millions frequent the site including musicians, actors and actresses, authors and comedians.

While it’s no surprise that people love Twitter because they can follow their friends as well as their favorite celebrities, just imagine how much more popular the site would become if characters from beloved books could tweet their thoughts. This idea sparked someone’s interest, who began tweeting as Jane from Jane Eyre, which became the inspiration for this project.

Tweeting as Mrs. Reed from Jane Eyre was an interesting, sometimes frustrating endeavor. An appropriate feeling, as Mrs. Reed was not a pleasant woman to anyone save her horrid children in the novel. I chose to modernize Jane’s aunt before tweeting as her, but keeping her nineteenth century mindset that most things going on around her were trivial and not as important as the tasks she needed to accomplish. Imagine Mrs. Reed as a “Real Housewife” with a blase attitude and a permanent sneer. She is a very disapproving individual and, small as her parts in the novel were, I imagined Mrs. Reed to be incredibly snarky and thought it would be fun to tweet her innermost thoughts.


For her inaugural tweet, Mrs. Reed is bothered by her daughters to start tweeting. A woman like Mrs. Reed definitely would not spend her time informing other people how she feels or what she’s thinking, but because her children want her to she gives it a try. It’s clear in the novel that Eliza, Georgiana and John are the only people who she cares for and would try to make happy in her own way.


However, her niece Jane could not bring her more shame or agitation. While Mrs. Reed promised her dying husband that she would care for Jane as her own, she doesn’t keep her word and treats Jane as a recalcitrant child. In a modern view, Mrs. Reed would be Jane’s “evil stepmother”, barely tolerating her and forcing her to take care of herself.


While Mrs. Reed did not reside at Thornfield Manor with Mr. Rochester and his crazy wife Bertha, she would have been appalled at any noise emanating from the latter. She responded to Bertha’s tweet by telling her to be quiet, which is what Mrs. Reed would have done, trying to keep her household quiet and orderly, not to be disrupted by any nonsense or ruckus.


In the novel, Jane believes that she sees the ghost of her uncle while she is locked in an upstairs room as punishment. Her aunt tells her she is being ridiculous and to calm down. In this tweet, Mrs. Reed the modern housewife is tired of her niece’s shenanigans, especially since her hysterics have brought up memories of her late husband that she would rather forget. Mrs. Reed is a cold woman and I believe a majority of that can be contributed to her husband’s passing. If he were alive, Jane would not be as much of a problem for her since he would be there to care for her as well. 


Here, Mrs. Reed is responding to a tweet from Alice Fairfax, a housekeeper at Thornfield, who has been rebuffed by Georgiana about appearing on her television show. While her children are her only reprise from her tiresome life, Mrs. Reed can still be embarrassed by them. So, she apologizes to Alice on behalf of her daughter, who would never be kind enough to do so herself.


Nineteenth century wives didn’t have much to do besides watch over the household, raise children, and throw parties. As a modern housewife, Mrs. Reed still takes pride in being able to put together a respectable, beautiful dinner party. At the time of this tweet, the Giants were in the middle of a sweep and Halloween was just around the corner, so naturally black and orange were absolutely everywhere. If Mrs. Reed happened to be running errands, she would have seen these colors and been repulsed by the theme. She would have thought them too bright and tacky to be considered for a party.


At this point, as in the novel, Mrs. Reed is exhausted by Jane’s insistence that she is seeing her uncle’s ghost in the house. Seeing as how she doesn’t care for Jane in the first place, Mrs. Reed prays that she can come back and be Jane’s personal poltergeist.


This tweet was meant to poke fun at the fact that Eliza indeed grows up to become a nun due to her shame of her sister Georgiana and her despair over her mother’s death. While Mrs. Reed wholeheartedly disagrees with the whole premise of Halloween, she allows her children to go out for the night, scoffing at young Eliza’s choice of costume.


Anyone can picture Mrs. Reed lying in the dark in her room with a bottle of Tylenol on the nightstand. She’s simply not the kind of woman to tolerate a whole night’s worth of strangers ringing her doorbell, expecting free candy to rot their teeth. While she was gracious enough to allow her daughters out, she certainly isn’t letting the neighborhood kids in.


I imagined Mrs. Reed would be downright disgusted by the concept of No Shave November. The nineteenth century Mrs. Reed was accustomed to clean cut gentlemen in her company, and the modern version of her would expect no less. A man not shaving for a month would make him less respectable in her eyes, as well as dirty and a generally sub-par individual.


Where others would respond with sympathy for the victims of a hurricane, Mrs. Reed thinks only of herself. She knows she’s a tough, independent, and resilient woman and is rather sure she could handle whoever this “Sandy” may be. As in the novel, Mrs. Reed doesn’t take lip or attitude from anyone and would surely be a hurricane herself if tangled with.


Here, Mrs. Reed is all but finished with Jane. It is mirroring the point in the novel where she is ready to send Jane to Lowood to get her out of the house and, more importantly, out of her life. Jane has been something of a leech on Mrs. Reed’s life and she wants nothing more than to live in relative peace with her daughters, who are much less bothersome.


After seeing the slew of “I Voted” pictures on her daughters’ Facebooks, Mrs. Reed feels fed up with the youth of America and offers up her two cents about it. As a modern woman with the right to vote, but with a nineteenth century mindset, she feels other young women and men should exercise their right but keep it to themselves. She doesn’t feel a need to share who she voted for (if she voted at all) and thinks everyone else should do the same.

It was a different experiment tweeting as a character from a novel, but an eye opening one. Pretending to be Mrs. Reed in the twenty first century was both interesting and silly, because one probably couldn’t see her functioning in our modern world, much less knowing how to use Twitter.


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