With Detailed Reference to Chapter 7 Discuss Bronte's Presentation of Mr. Brocklehurst

Topics: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, Hypocrisy Pages: 5 (1677 words) Published: February 27, 2005
With detailed reference to chapter 7 discuss Bronte's presentation of Mr. Brocklehurst

Chapter seven sees Jane slightly more experienced to the ways of Lowood School. She has come to accept the poor conditions laid down by Mr. Brocklehurst, however has not yet learnt to ignore them and Bronte describes Jane suffering a lot in this chapter. This lack of food and appalling living conditions are down to the head of the school, Mr. Brocklehurst. This man uses his apparent strong beliefs in Christianity as an excuse to provide the children of Lowood with the absolute bare minimum. Brocklehurst claims his "mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh", presenting the idea that perhaps Brocklehurst is simply a man that has a immensely firm grasp of his beliefs and has made it his "mission" in life to enlighten others into the ways of christianity.

This idea is however proved corrupt with the entrance of his three daughters. They are described as "splendidly attired in velvet, silk and furs", which brings an immense sense of hypocrisy down onto the impression the reader gets of Mr. Brocklehurst, and suddenly his doctrine of privation is for the first time exposed as a possible method of stealing from the school to support his seemingly luxurious lifestyle.

Brocklehurst enters chapter seven with an aura of fear about him, and Jane states that she "recognized almost instinctively that gaunt outline", presenting him as a predator. The use of the word "instinctively" gives the situation an animalistic feel, and the whole school fear this predator. He is described as taking "a long stride [which] measured the school room", suggesting that he is observing the room quietly, and when he is described as a "black column" the atmosphere becomes increasingly ominous and forboding.

Bronte introduces an interesting theme here. Jane describes Brocklehurst as "looking longer, narrower and more rigid than ever" and it is later revealed that Mr. Brocklehurst and Miss Temple are the talking about the need for needles to repair the girl's clothes. This could be comparing Brocklehurst to a needle, with the intention of fixing the girls souls; however a needle is hardly a pleasant image, so what could be the gentle image of a caring man doing his best to ensure all these little girls go to heaven is transformed into a quite sadistic image. Needles are assosciated with piercing and pain in general, and the fact that Brocklehurst should be compared with this is a clue towards his cruel personality.

Shortly after, Brocklehurst gives a short lecture to Miss. Temple ("Madam allow me an instant...starve their immortal souls!") proclaiming the righteousness behind his puritanist doctrine he forces upon the girls. He speaks to Miss. Temple in a civil tone, however he maintains a superior, self-obsessed tone throughout. His beliefs are directly spoonfed to the reader here, he simply reels them off and this is where the reader's initial interpretation of Brocklehurst simply being an immensely cruel man with no empathy whatsoever is replaced with a view of him being a religious fanatic. He is not portrayed as hypocritical at this stage, simply quite obsessive towards his beliefs. It is possible to interpret him as a decent human being here, as it appears he genuinely believes that unless the girls live a life following a set of standards like what he is putting across here they will without go to hell. The girls had recently been prepared extra food after their breakfast was spoilt. He states that a "judiscious instructor" would take this oppurtunity to refer to the "suffering of primitive christians" and the "torments of martyrs", suggesting that he genuinely believes he is creating faithful martyrs out of the girls by treating them like this. He quotes from the Bible "If ye suffer hunger...happy are ye", apparently valuing this quote and doing everything he can to inflict this upon the girls. He ends by saying "When you put...
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