Hypocrisy in Religion in Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre is a classical novel that was written by Charlotte Bronte and originally published in 1847. At the time, the novel presented themes that were taboo or very uncommon in that era. One theme that is focused upon throughout the novel is that of religion. In the very beginning of the story, two characters who are seemingly alike and yet quite opposite in regards to religion are presented; Mr. Brocklehurst, the owner of the Lowood school, and Helen Burns, a student of Lowood. They both belong to the Evangelical creed, but both establish different ways of showing their beliefs. These two established fundamental views are presented in the beginning to contrast the opinions of Jane that are thereafter a central part in the story and development of Jane's character. We first meet Mr. Brocklehurst when he comes to Jane's house at the request of Mrs. Reed. He is told by Mrs. Reed that Jane is an evil child who is in need of spiritual saving. One of his first questions he asks Jane regards her spiritual well being. “Where do the wicked go after death?” he asks. “They go to Hell,” Jane answers. When Brocklehurst asks how one stays out of Hell, Jane replies one should not die. Brocklehurst retorts that he had just buried a child that was surely going to heaven, but that he could not say the same for Jane. When asked if she liked the Bible, Jane responds with the books she likes out of it. Brocklehurst believes that Jane thinking the Book of Psalms is boring proves she has a wicked heart (Chap 4, pg 27-28). At Lowoood, he orders that all girls with curly hair need to have it cut off even if it is natural for, “we are not to conform to nature…I desire the hair to be arranged closely, modestly, plainly Miss Temple” (Chap 7, pg 61). With these examples of Brocklehurst's forced views one can see the hypocrisy and absolute rigidity of it all. Brockelhurst himself lives in a “large hall” away from Lowood and after he orders the girls hair to be cut, two ladies come in with...
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