Christianity Portrayed in Jane Eyre
There is a difference between spirituality and religion, and Bronte presents this to readers through her novel. In times of despair and difficulty, Jane turns and relies on the God in whom she believes. As with any religion, Christianity is the faith of many people, sometimes labeled “good”, and sometimes labeled “bad” by society. Jane Eyre is a novel that portrays the genuine, as well as hypocritical aspects of Christianity and varying members of the faith. It seeks to honestly tell the story of a woman from childhood to adulthood as she encounters Christianity in different situations and environments, including the positive and negative aspects. Jane Eyre is as much of an anti-Christian novel as a pro-Christian novel, as it is a genuine representation of a frank experience with the Christian faith. While Bronte does promote the spiritual awareness of the protagonist in some situations, she does make a point to criticize some aspects of the Christian religion in other points. Brocklehurst, the headmaster of Lowood, where a young Jane attends school, acts as the epitome of religious hypocrisy and severity. Upon meeting the small Jane, Brocklehurst is already presented as a hard-hearted and insensitive man. After admitting that she is not interested in the book of Psalms in the Bible, Mr. Brocklehurst rebukes her and proclaims, “That proves you have a wicked heart; and you must pray to God to change it—to give you a new and clean one—to take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Bronte 32). This harsh manner is the one Brocklehurst assumes the rest of the novel, as he oppressively resides over the all girls’ school whilst withholding vital resources he labels “comforts” and institutes general regulations of frugality even as he lives in a large comfortable mansion in an upper class lifestyle. His decisions for the school cause widespread illness and ultimate death, as well as many discomforts among the...
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