Explore the use of religion in the text of Jane Eyre
Religion is a main theme throughout the novel; we are reminded that everything in this period of time is focused around religion at almost every stage in Jane’s life. There are three religious figures that Jane encounters throughout the novel, Mr Brocklehurst, Helen Burns and St.John Rivers. With each encounter Jane struggles more with religion, she struggles with the balance of what is her moral duty and what she thinks is right herself. Mr Brocklehurst is an example of how religion could be abused into the use of one’s own benefit; this character represented how religion was very cruel and hypocritical in those times. Mr Brocklehurst thinks himself as a highly religious man, but does not seem to practice his beliefs himself. Brocklehurst believes “I have a master to serve whose kingdom is not of this world, my mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh; to teach them to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety”, yet Brocklehurst himself does not live this life. Mr Brocklehursts family is described as “splendidly attired in velvet, silk and furs”, this is a complete contradiction to Mr Brocklehursts beliefs of how girls should look and be plain to fulfil the God’s wishes. Here is the first time we see how Mr Brocklehurst hides behind religion to justify the cruel conditions at Lowood. Religion hides the fact that the standards at Lowood are unliveable, and that the girls are completely mistreated, we see this when Miss Temple is chastised for serving the girls an extra meal after their breakfast had been burnt and inedible, he justified this by saying “a judicious instructor would take the opportunity of referring to the sufferings of the primitive Christians; to the torments of the marters”. Helen Burns represents a different side of religion to Mr Brocklehurst, she represents the belief of forgiveness and tolerance. Jane does take Helen’s beliefs into consideration and uses...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document