Christianity Portrayed in Jane Eyre
There is a distinction between spirituality and religion, and Bronte provides this to readers through her book. In times of anguish and problem, Jane turns and relies on the God in whom she believes. As with any faith, Christianity is the faith of many individuals, often identified “good”, and sometimes labeled “bad” by society. Jane Eyre is a novel that depicts the real, as well as hypocritical aspects of Christianity and varying members of the faith.
It seeks to truthfully tell the story of a lady from youth to the adult years as she experiences Christianity in various scenarios and environments, consisting of the favorable and unfavorable elements. Jane Eyre is as much of an anti-Christian novel as a pro-Christian novel, as it is a real representation of a frank experience with the Christian faith. While Bronte does promote the spiritual awareness of the protagonist in some circumstances, she does make a point to slam some aspects of the Christian religion in other points.
Brocklehurst, the headmaster of Lowood, where a young Jane participates in school, functions as the embodiment of spiritual hypocrisy and seriousness. Upon fulfilling the little Jane, Brocklehurst is already presented as a hard-hearted and insensitive guy. After confessing that she is not interested in the book of Psalms in the Bible, Mr. Brocklehurst rebukes her and declares, “That shows you have a wicked heart; and you need to pray to God to change it– to offer you a new and tidy one– to eliminate your heart of stone and provide you a heart of flesh” (Bronte 32).
This severe manner is the one Brocklehurst assumes the remainder of the unique, as he oppressively resides over the all women’ school whilst withholding important resources he labels “conveniences” and institutes general guidelines of thriftiness even as he resides in a big comfortable estate in an upper class lifestyle. His choices for the school cause widespread disease and ultimate death, in addition to lots of pains among the young girls in school. Mr. Brocklehurst is represented as a cold, uncompassionate and threatening authority figure.
He relies on religious beliefs to belittle individuals in lower social functions than he, and to further his own appearance of a “excellent” Christian man. Upon his initial meeting and very first discussion with Jane, he states to her, “Little woman, here is a book entitled the Kid’s Guide: read it, with prayer, specifically that part consisting of an ‘account of the very unexpected death of Martha G—-, a naughty child, addicted to falsehood and deceit'” (Bronte 34). He frightens her with religion and instills fear in her, although she is very young and naive.
This conversation and Brocklehurst exist as cold and needlessly extreme, Brocklehurst acting as yet another serious aspect of Jane’s life rather of a loving one that religion might have the power to give her. Besides acknowledging negative aspects of Christianity, Bronte requires time to exhibit the truthful characteristics and actions of a sincere member of the Christian faith. Helen is a real fan of Jesus Christ through her actions and expressed thoughts. Throughout a conversations about the Christian faith with Jane, Helen says, “I think; I have faith; I am going to God”, to which Jane responds with the questions, “Where is God?
What is God?” (Bronte 90). When the discussion concludes, Jane believes, “Where is that area? Does it exist?” regarding the hopeful afterlife Helen described in their previous conversation (Bronte 90). Helen plays an important function in Jane’s life. She is her one true pal at Lowood, and she is an individual that holds the value of others much greater than herself. She functions as a somewhat of a spiritual leader for Jane. Prior to becoming close with Helen, Jane never ever had an individual confidant to direct her or share wisdom or real knowledge about Christianity, specifically in the caring manner Helen assumes.
Living a bulk of her childhood and teenage years in Lowood, Jane wanted to Helen as a good example in many methods, even after Helen’s young death. Jane appreciated Helen for her gentility, humbleness, and utter compassion for others. Helen served as a precise representation of caring Christians, a representation Jane had not experienced previous to her experiences with Helen, or with Miss Temple, a notable teacher who looked after Jane more than any other member of the Lowood faculty.
These figures in Jane’s life play an essential function in sharing the ideal functions of Christianity, not the manipulated Christian worths promoted by other characters such as Brocklehurst. After suddenly leaving Thornfield and the getting away romantic pressures from Rochester, Jane discovers herself struggling for survival on her own throughout her journeys to the unidentified future and locations. Yet in the struggle, Bronte writes, “I felt the might and strength of God. Sure was I of His efficiency to save what He had made … I turned my prayer to thanksgiving; the Source of Life was also the Saviour of spirits.
Mr. Rochester was safe; he was God’s, and by God would he be secured” (Bronte 377). It ought to reveal a good deal about Jane’s awareness and relationship to God that she takes the time to thank God in times of perceived blessing, and that she seeks and finds comfort in Him. There appears to exist a level of convenience and guarantee in the God she praises that she encounters nowhere else. Among the primary lessons discovered in Jane Eyre is to not settle one’s goals to comply with others’ expectations.
Jane has opportunities to adhere to others’ demands and to become somebody she is genuinely not, exemplified by the circumstances of St. John demanding her hand in marital relationship to become his missionary buddy and of Rochester’s deal for her to basically become his mistress. She does not reduce her requirements, and trusts in God when her well believed decisions seem unwise initially. Jane, although she stays independent in her thinking for actions and significant life choices, does rely on God in times of problem and misery.
She thanks the deity when mysterious blessings or events are bestowed upon her. Her spiritual propensities throughout these times seem to reveal a lot about her truthful views towards God she keeps in her heart. After Jane finds comfort and rescue with her unknown cousins, Bronte composes, “I thanked God; experienced in the middle of unutterable exhaustion a glow of grateful pleasure– and slept” (Bronte 392). Plainly Jane holds a reverence for God and does see him as a major working hand in her life. Bronte’s life holds numerous parallels to Jane’s life in the book.
She too went to a boarding school as a child, in an organization with low maintenance standards, as two of her siblings passed away due to health problems gotten there (Cody). Bronte married, and although she “admired” her spouse, she never fell in love with him (Cody). This relationship can remind us of her relationship with St. John, and how she loved him as a great guy of God and as a familial cousin, however not as a spouse. In her fictional novel, Bronte, maybe momentarily living through Jane, escaped this kind of marriage and found love with Rochester.
Perhaps the novel is the life Bronte would have chosen, and viewed it as her escape into a life with a result she wanted. Of the most popular critiques of Jane Eyre is the critical review by Elizabeth Rigby, published in the Quarterly Evaluation in December of 1848. Rigby claimed, “Altogether the autobiography of Jane Eyre is pre-eminently an anti-Christian structure” (Rigby). This evaluation harps on the “unregenerate and unrestrained spirit” Jane supposedly has, in addition to Jane being “happy and … unthankful” (Rigby).
Rigby affirms that “Currer Bell” (Bronte’s pen name) is a male, and criticizes the unidentified author for his “overall lack of knowledge of the practices of society … and a heathenish teaching of faith” (Rigby). According to Rigby, Jane never goes through a visible modification from the grace savlvation of God. Yet is she not a compassionate human being, putting others before herself and making decent life choices for herself? Does she not contact us to God in time of difficulty, and of blessing?
Jane had a peaceful, and typically removed external character in the majority of scenarios of conversation and interaction with others; this does not equal to a tough heart or a sprit untouched by Christ. Jane Eyre might barely be considered an anti-Christian novel from nearly any perspective. Bronte exemplifies some hypocritical and uninviting aspects of the Christian faith, such as Brocklehurst in his spiritual and overbearing predicament over Lowood and the students, and St. John’s insistence upon the marriage and missionary service for Jane.
Yet Bronte specifically assures readers’ of Jane’s overall faith, the honest faith that is not snazzy or shallow, and is presented just in genuine and authentic scenarios.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York City: Barnes & & Nobles Books, 1847.
Cody, David. “Charlotte Bronte: A Bried Bio.” 1987.
Rigby, Elizabeth. “An evaluation of Vanity Fair and Jane Eyre.” December 1848.