Literature ENG – 1100C
19 September 2014
What was Miss Temple’s influence on Jane?
The story of “Jane Eyre” takes place in a period where women were repressed and restricted compared to men. This period was known as the Victorian era. Women had few options for jobs; one of the few respectable jobs to choose from was to become a governess. A governess is a woman who is employed to teach children in a private household. “Jane Eyre” is not only a novel discussing a women’s journey, but is used to express the social injustices of the Victorian Era, such as sexism and poverty. Jane’s status as an independent girl is portrayed in the beginning of the novel when we are introduced to her family members. Her treatment in the house shows how she is shunned and forced to be independent. This helps shape Jane into the women we see throughout the novel. Another major factor in Jane’s personality is her experience at the school of Lowood. The school of Lowood is described as a school of charity that takes in orphans and gives them an education. Mr.Brocklehurst was in charge of the Lowood School and had made the conditions the girls lived in excruciating. He served them small portions of food and gave them inappropriate clothing in severe weather conditions. Miss Temple had been the savior of Jane’s pain at Lowood. While reading the book, one could already tell that Jane would find peace in Miss Temple by their first encounter in the school. At their first encounter Jane is “impressed”… “by her voice, look, and air”. (Chapter V, pg. 36) Miss Temple is described by Helen as “above the rest, because she knows far more than they do.” (Chapter V, pg. 43) Helen is very established for her age and had already been at Lowood before Jane, making her opinion on Miss Temple more significant. Throughout the novel, there are many examples portraying Miss Temple’s kindness and consideration for others. For example, in the early stages of Jane’s stay at Lowood, the kitchen had burnt the porridge and none of the girls could eat it. She had felt their hunger and had ordered bread and cheese, even though she knew it would get her in trouble with Mr. Brocklehurst. It shows how Miss Temple is brazen enough to stand up to her superior, which is a characteristic we often see in Jane later in the novel when she is interacting with Mr. Rochester. Miss Temple also affects Jane in the simplest ways, for example, how Miss Temple treats her friend Helen, has a major effect on Jane. Miss Temple had invited Jane and Helen to tea and cookies and Jane is affected by their conversation of how intellectual, courageous, and independent minded it was. Jane had never seen two knowledgeable women speaking with equality towards each other, even though their ages were dramatically different. Jane had admired their way of interaction so much that she went to seek these qualities for herself. She had not only succeeded in gaining these qualities, but she had mastered them as we see in the quote with Mr. Rochester. “You examine me, Miss Eyre," he said, "do you think me handsome?"… “No”. (Chapter XIV, pg. 112) This shows how courageous Jane is. For a women to tell her superior he is not handsome is not only rude, but has severe consequences, such as losing her esteemed position as a governess. Miss Temple’s influence on Jane shapes her for the rest of her experiences in the novel. The reader sees how big the influence in Jane’s reaction to Miss Temple’s departure from Lowood is. “ From the day she left I was no longer the same: with her was gone every settled feeling that made Lowood in some degree a home to me.” (Chapter X, pg. 71) Miss Temple’s absence influenced Jane enough to leave teaching at Lowood and become a governess due to the fact that Lowood will never be the same without her. “The reason for tranquility was no more.” (Chapter X, pg.72). Without Miss Temple’s influence on Jane, Jane would have most likely not found a home in Lowood and have never been...
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