Jane Eyre: Christian Values

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Jane Eyre: Christian Values

Throughout the novel, Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte, Jane struggles to find the right balance between moral duty and earthly pleasure; between obligation to her spirit and attention to her physical and emotional needs. She lives most of her childhood as a rebellious and defiant youth, but the impact of those whom she is surrounded by helps her grow and develop into a disciplined woman of the Christian faith. Bronte represents Christianity with three major characters: Helen Burns, Mr. Brocklehurst, and St. John. The saint-like Helen Burns practices selfless faith and is able to love those who persecute her. Mr. Brocklehurst is a hypocritical Christian and uses religion as justification for his cruelty. St. John has a strong religious conviction and an equally powerful sense of duty and mission in spreading the word of Christianity. The Christian values Helen Burns, Mr. Brocklehurst, and St. John Rivers demonstrate are extremely influential in Jane’s Christian life and how she comes to define her own faith and values. During her stay at Lowood School, Jane develops a close relationship with Helen Burns. Jane considers both Helen and herself as alienated from the other students. Though a brief character in the novel, Helen’s model of Christianity helps Jane discover how to live her life like a true Christian. Helen endures cruel treatment and forgives the people who abuse her with humble self-restraint and grace. Her view is primarily that you should, “Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you.” (p. 60) However, this outlook is not easily accepted by Jane who cannot understand Helen’s belief of tolerance of injustice. Young Jane believes, “When we are struck at without reason, we should strike back very hard… so as to teach the person who struck us to never do it again.”(p. 60) Even as Helen is lying on her death bed conversing with Jane about...
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