Jane Eyre-along

Time to get over our Bronte issues.

04 August 2006

Ch 1-7 Complete!

Hypocrisy! Wow, how did I never see Bronte’s commentary on the Evangelical movement as uncaring of the welfare, the true needs of day to day life, of those they were intent on “saving” while enjoying their own luxuries? Mr. Brocklehurst’s unreasonableness is so well highlighted by the quite and caring form of the school superintendent Miss Temple who truly cares for the well being of the ENTIRE person.

I find it interesting that shortly before the arrival of Mr. Brocklehurst there is much mention of bullying by the older bigger girls of those who are weaker in order to steal: 1) food and 2) warmth. Then along comes Mr. Brocklehurst sprouting his high ideals for these poor orphaned children: “you are aware that my plan bringing up these girls is, not to accustom them to habits of luxury and indulgence, but to render them hardy, patient, self-denying (65).” Bronte makes soooo clear that he is teaching many of the students anything but these “Christian” qualities on which he places such value through his methodology of deprivation for the body. He is in fact so caught up in his beliefs he does not, cannot, see the reality of the situation.

In contrast are the quite forms of Helen Burns and Miss Temple who seem to truly embody the Christian ideals through their actions. Likewise, although clearly struggling to find her way, Jane displays the Christian qualities of kindness and generosity in the face of her own hardship. I am fascinated! The first two seem to actively choose to behave in this manner while Jane’s behavior comes from an inherent “goodness” which very few seem willing to recognize. Why? She is a plain girl rather than a beauty. Clear commentary, again, that many of this time period were far more concerned with outer than inner beauty!


Blogger jessie said...

Excellent analysis. I just finished chapter 7, and all I could think about was how abusive the society is. I'll have to look more closely at the religious commentary.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

hmm ... my earlier comment seemd to have disappeared. bummer.

From my earlier readings of the book, I just remember being profoundly sad at the state of the schol. Need to reread for more in-depth analysis :)

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people read this book? it's so confusing!

1:50 PM  

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