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Different Outlooks

'Oh, madam, when you put bread and cheese, instead of burnt porridge into these children's mouths, you may indeed feed their vile bodies, but you little think how you starve their immortal souls!'
~Mr. Brocklehurst in Bronte's Jane Eyre, page 75.

'I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is good; I can resign my immortal part to him without any misgiving. God is my father; God is my friend: I love him; I believe he loves me.'
~Helen in Bronte's Jane Eyre, page 95.

It's interesting how Bronte included different views of religion: the fire and brimstone view and the loving view.

Mr. Brocklehurst is definitely used to get the fire and brimstone view across. His ideals promote neglect and abuse to promote discipline. He goes to the extreme in thinking that no one matters on earth. He creates a living hell at the school. His character definitely gets the point across that this extremist view can be harmful.

Many characters exemplify the loving view. One of these characters is Helen. Unlike Brocklehurst, she doesn't look at God in a fearful way. She looks to Him in the way that the Bible suggests. She, a child, understands the message better than the grown man does.

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Comments (2)

I may be giving away the ending, (though not really, as I haven't read to the ending myself yet) but in the introduction, Michael Mason writes that, "So the novel ends with, at the least, an expression of strong assent to Christianity as the only true creed, and to the consequent necessity of Christian evangelizing."
I know that this was part of what I was thinking of when I read a lot of what Helen had to say on faith. I thought it really interesting that so early on Jane was dealing with (at least through her friends) some very powerful religious debates. Afterwards she seems to forget about faith for awhile, or at least it seemed to me. I'm assuming though that it will come back, but it is curious that Brontë included it so early and then seemed to drop it.

I agree. There are conflicting views of God in the story. Maybe to illustrate good and evil. Some people believe God is vengeful, other loving. The Bible was meant to guide us in life, many events and stories not meant to be taken literally. Mr Brocklehurtst has taken it upon himslef to be the "God" of Lowood, punishing the girls for their wicked ways. But only God is supposed to punish. we are not to judge. I believe that Helen is sort of an angel, sent to Jane by God to help her.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 8, 2007 2:52 PM.

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