Jane Eyre Essay

408 WordsOct 27, 20122 Pages
1. On Jane’s second morning at Lowood, the girls are unable to wash, as the water in their pitchers is frozen. Jane quickly learns that life at the school is harsh. The girls are starving, overworked, and forced to sit still during seemingly endless sermons. Still, she takes comfort in her new friendship with Helen, who impresses Jane with her expansive knowledge and her ability to patiently endure even the cruellest treatment from Miss Scatcherd. Helen tells Jane that she practices a doctrine of Christian endurance, which means loving her enemies and accepting her privation. Jane disagrees strongly with such meek tolerance of injustice, but Helen takes no heed of Jane’s arguments. Helen is self-critical only because she sometimes fails to live up to her ascetic standards: she believes that she is a poor student and chastises herself for daydreaming about her home and family when she should be concentrating on her studies. 2. Mr. Brocklehurst is a religious hypocrite, supporting his own luxuriously wealthy family at the expense of the Lowood students and using his “piety” as an instrument of power over the lower-class girls at Lowood. He claims that he is purging his students of pride by subjecting them to various privations and humiliations: for example, he orders that the naturally curly hair of one of Jane’s classmates be cut so as to lie straight. The angelic Helen Burns and her doctrine of endurance represent a religious position that contrasts with Mr. Brocklehurst’s. Utterly passive and accepting of any abjection, Helen embodies rather than preaches the Christian ideas of love and forgiveness. 3. ‘Bessie, when she heard this narrative, sighed and said, "Poor Miss Jane is to be pitied, too, Abbot.’ "Yes," responded Abbot; "if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as

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