Jane Eyre Essay

748 WordsMay 13, 20143 Pages
Some critics have frowned upon the way in which Christianity is represented by Bronte in Jane Eyre. They argue that its presentation in the novel is ambivalent or ambiguous. Clearly, religion, specifically the Christian religion, is a major theme in this novel. Bronte represents Christianity with three major characters: Mr Brocklehurst, Helen, and St John. There are instances in the novel where Jane seeks assistance from God in order to survive her environment but to suggest that Christian is the "core of Jane's moral sense" is to misread how Bronte represents this religion in the novel. Mr Brocklehurst undeniably characterizes the degree of hypocrisy and cruelty that Christianity can shape. Scenes involving this character in the novel are often parodic and satirize Christian religious figures to an extreme. While at Lowood, Jane and the other residents are tormented by Brocklehurst who uses religion as a justification for their cruel conditions. He even goes so far as to chastise Miss Temple for providing the children with an extra meal when their breakfast had been too poor quality to eat, justifying this with "a judicious instructor would take the opportunity of referring to the sufferings of the primitive Christians; to the torments of the martyrs" as a basis for letting the girls go hungry (p. 53). Another example of Brocklehurst's hypocritical nature is evident in this same chapter wherein he insists that the girls' hair be cut because curls are un-Christian, not modest enough, however it seems that he now failed to mention this to his wife and two daughters who walk into the scene with their hair done up grandly in curls. These examples denote his hypocrisy and cruelty but as Helen notes he is "not a god." (p. 58) Helen, though a brief character, does represent yet another side of Christianity, though perhaps in not such an extremely parodic way. Helen and

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