Essay on Religion in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
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Religion in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
In Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte intertwines various religious ideas in her mid-nineteenth century English setting. Throughout the novel, Jane Eyre blends various religious insights which she has learned from different sources. While Jane was young, she had only a Biblical textbook outlook on life combined with the miserable emotional conditions of her surroundings. This in turn led to Jane being quite mean with Mrs. Reed. When Jane eventually goes off to Lowood and meets Helen Burns, she learns of her religious philosophy far more than the words would mean. Over the course of many years Jane then applies the basis of Helen's religious philosophy and adjusts it for herself in relation to the…show more content…
Helen Burns is probably the turning point of life for Jane, although we don't see it happening immediately. When Jane explains to Helen what she feels about being good she says, 'you are good to those who are good to you. It is all I ever desire to be. If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way.' Helen tells the "little untaught girl," about life: 'It is not violence that best overcomes hate - nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury,' and 'Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you.' Jane is incredibly confused by this statement; she cannot understand how she could ever love someone she hates so dearly, as in this case Mrs. Reed and her son, John. So Jane quickly responds with, "Then I should love Mrs. Reed, which I cannot do: I should bless her son John, which is impossible." Although Jane does not yet comprehend Helen Burn's words at this time, she will eventually learn the basis of what Helen is saying later in adult life; as shown when Jane returns of to Gateshead to Mrs. Reed?s deathbed showing forgiveness and compassion.
Religion and Evangelicalism in Jane Eyre Essay
860 Words4 Pages
Religion and Evangelicalism in Jane Eyre
When orphans of the nineteenth century were able to receive an education, it usually came from a charity instution. These charity institutions were founded on a basis of religion. This is the case in Jane Eyre for Mr. Brocklehurst is a clergyman who owns and overlooks the Institution that Jane became a part of. Jane's conversation with the newly met Helen Burns exposes this to the reader. Jane asks the question, "Who was Naomi Brocklehurst?" The reader finds out that she was the lady who built the new part of the Institution. It is her son, Mr. Brocklehurst who "overlooks and directs everything." At Lowood he "is the treasurer and manager of the establishment." It is also at this time that…show more content…
While she is still in the care of Mrs. Reed, she first meets Mr. Brocklehurst. In her conversation with him, he asks her many questions about her daily prayers, whether or not she knows her Psalms, and if she reads the Bible faithfully. When her answers do not comply with what he expects, he, too, thinks that she is "wicked" (65; ch. 4). Further, her first full day at Lowood begins with over an hour worth of religion (prayers, Scriptures, chapters in the Bible) and then before and after breakfast, grace is said and hymns are sung (77-78; ch. 5).
Jane even receives more religious teaching from her new friend, Helen Burns. Helen says, "the Bible bids us return good for evil" (88; ch. 6). Later, shortly before Helen dies, she tells Jane "I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is good; I can resign my immortal part to Him without any misgiving. God is my father; God is my friend; I love Him; I believe He loves me" (113; ch. 9). Mr. Brocklehurst, when upset about seeing curls on a child's head says, "here in an evangelical, charitable establishment" (96; ch. 7) and even before she enters the Institution, he speaks of the "Christian duties" and "Christian grace" that the Institution holds (66; ch. 4); "The church exercised an unchallenged domination over education" (Vaughan 3).
Jane is effected by Lowood Institution.