Jane Eyre


Chapter 6 to Chapter 10

Chapter 6

After prayers, breakfast is served: porridge again, but this time it is not burnt and is edible. However, the portion is small. Jane’s hunger does not subside.

She is enrolled in the fourth class and is still very eager to observe what goes on around her. She sees the girl with whom she spoke the day before now being addressed as “Burns” by Miss Scatcherd. Burns is once again at the receiving end of Scatcherd’s ire. Burns accepts all rebukes with humility and passivity. Even when Burns knows the answers to Scatcherd’s question, the teacher still finds fault with her and beats her with sticks. Jane is indignant at this abuse. When she meets Burns later by the fireside, she once more begins conversation with her.

Jane discovers that her name is Helen Burns and that she holds no antipathy towards Miss Scatcherd or anyone else. Helen is a faithful adherent of the Christian religion and believes that good should be returned for evil. Jane cannot quite understand this doctrine, since it appears to her that evil must be fought rather than meekly accepted. Helen asserts that Miss Temple is full of goodness but that even she cannot help Helen overcome her faults. Helen simply cannot pay attention to that which does not interest her in her studies. Her mind constantly wanders.

Helen appears to be a very spiritual girl who, by looking to the end—her union with God in the world to come—suffers afflictions on Earth. Her discourse compels her to drop off into a meditation. Her thoughts are, however, rudely and soon interrupted by a monitor who approaches and orders her to clean her drawer. Helen merely sighs and obeys.

This chapter presents Jane with a character contrary to her own. Jane is a girl with a strong sense of injustice, who believes that cruelty should be fought against. Helen believes that Christians should accept persecution no matter what and be good to those who abuse them. Helen is a source of wonder for Jane. She also shows in her weary body...

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