Religion In Jane Eyre
Uploaded by Majestic_Wolfess on Apr 17, 2005
*Please Note* The page numbers in this essay reffer to the paper back version of the book published by Scholastic Inc.
Religion in Jane Eyre
In Charlotte Bronte’s coming of age novel Jane Eyre, the main character Jane not only struggles with the aspects of social class deviations but also her journey to find her own faith in God and religion. On her journey she encounters three greatly different variations on Christian faith, all of which, though she ultimately rejects, help her come to her own conclusions of her own faith and spirituality. Her first true questioning of religion is with her friend and Lowood school Helen Burns. Jane finds Helen to be serenely devout in her faith in God, and Jane admires her for it. However, Jane struggles to accept Helen’s passive view, as it lacks the understanding that Jane seeks. Also, at Lowood Jane encounters the owner of the school Mr. Brocklehurst, who acts as a dictator over the girls and teachers at Lowood. His religious ideals are those of sacrifice but it is apparent that Mr. Brocklehurst takes no consideration of these ideals in his own life style. Jane immediately rejects Mr. Brocklehurst’s point of view as it is so obviously hypocritical. Finally Jane meets her cousin St. John, a minister. Upon observing him and observing one of his sermons she realizes that though he is driven and passionate his views focus on “disquieting aspirations” as oppose to the uplifting of spirituality. She realizes that St. John lacks a true understanding of what faith and spirituality really mean. In Jane’s search for spirituality her journey leads her to find her own faith through the observations of the various and widely differing views of Helen, Mr. Brocklehurst and St. John.
Jane first questions religion and faith when her friend at Lowood, Helen Burns, becomes deathly ill. She states that her “mind made it’s first earnest effort to comprehend what had been infused into it concerning Heaven and Hell; and for the first time it recoiled, baffled, and for the first time glancing behind, on each side, and before it, it saw all around an unfathomed gulf” (p. 83). Helen’s sickness personalizes everything she has been taught about religion, and so when she turns to it for solace, she finds that she doesn’t truly understand what she has been taught, and becomes lost without her own faith to guide her. Just before...