Bronte's Treatment of Religion in Jane Eyre

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English coursework – Examine Bronte’s treatment of religion in ‘Jane Eyre’ Show how your understanding and appreciation of the theme have been informed by your study of D H Lawrence’s ‘Selected Tales’ and critical readings of both novels. In your essay consider the context of the writing Religion plays a big role in ‘Jane Eyre’ and Bronte presents this well and it is portrayed throughout the entire novel In ‘Jane Eyre’, Jane comes across three main religious influences which are: Mr. Brocklehurst, Helen Burns and St. John Rivers. All three showed different models of Christianity which Jane ultimately rejects as she chooses to create her own pathway into her faith and forms her own ideas about religion. Throughout the novel, Bronte presents contrasts between these characters who believe in and practice what she considers a true Christianity, and those who use religion to further their own ends. Here are further examples: The Evangelicalism that Mr Brocklehurst presents to Jane is full of hypocrisy. Mr. Brocklehurst illustrates the dangers that Charlotte Bronte perceived in the nineteenth century Evangelical movement. Brocklehurst is described as a “black pillar” because he is intimidating and describes his physical presence. He lives in a life of luxury and tells Jane he purges his students of pride where he really humiliates and subjects them to various privations. What he does is completely un-Christian like and he hurts the students at Lowood emotionally. Helen Burns’ form of Christianity is too meek and passive for Jane and although she does admire Helen for making this choice, the forgiveness and tolerance for everything is not what Jane is looking for. When Jane reaches the Rivers’ household, Hannah the Rivers’ housekeeper tries to turn her away even though she is begging. Jane tells her, “if you are a Christian, you ought not consider poverty a crime.”
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