How Is Religion Presented In Jane Eyre English Essay

1350 words - 6 pages

How is religion presented in the novel Jane Eyre?
Angus Lau 11C (11)
As a clergyman’s daughter who lived in a highly religious Victorian society, Charlotte Brontë was able to witness the hollowness of religion with hindsight. People manipulated religion just to achieve their goals and justify their moral conscience. To condone the hypocritical nature of religion at the time, Brontë contrasted the ways in which characters such as Mr. Brocklehurst, St. John, and Jane Eyre utilized religion; the former two used religion as an excuse for their actions, while the latter employed religion as guidance by creating a spiritual connection with God.
Firstly, Brontë reflects the misuse of religion by depicting Victorian people’s blind preaching of religion. This is first evident from how Mr. Brocklehurst proclaimed that Jane had “a wicked heart” and “must pray to God to change it: to give you a new and clean one: to take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” when she remarked that “psalms are not interesting.” From how Mr. Brocklehurst immediately denounced Jane’s disinterest in the psalms without determining the reason, readers are able to infer that Mr. Brocklehurst’s connection to religion was shallow, as he was only concerned about people’s adoration for all aspects of religion, but not their understanding of religious values or ability to integrate religion into their morals. This idea is also displayed when he would gift two nuts to his son just because he chose “a verse of psalm to learn” over “a gingerbread-nut to eat” and would proclaim “I wish to be a little angel.” However, this is ironic as Mr. Brocklehurst was completely ignorant that his son only chose to learn the psalms because was fully aware that doing so would grant him a larger reward, exhibiting the facile nature of religion during Victorian times. Not only that, but Mr. Brocklehurst’s superstition that Jane genuinely had a “heart of stone” reinforces his naive attachment to religion as he only interpreted the teachings of the bible literally, not metaphorically.
Brontë further portrays people’s simplistic view of religion by showcasing how religion was not used to teach virtue, but manipulated as a mode for punishment. This is again reflected by Mr. Brocklehurst as he threatens Jane by forcing her to read “a book entitled the ‘Child’s Guide,’” which contained “an account of the awfully sudden death of Martha G -, a naughty child addicted to falsehood and deceit” so that she would be able to envision the punishments that would be inflicted on her if she breached such Christian values. From how Mr. Brocklehurst utilized religion as a weapon, but not as a facilitator for the teaching of integrity, readers are able to infer how Mr. Brocklehurst simply used religion as a means to inflict harm on others while cementing his authority as the headmaster of Lowood. Similarly, this is reiterated as Mr. Brocklehurst announced that “I have studied how best to mortify in them the worldly sentiment of pride.” Despite Mr. Brocklehurst trying to prevent the pupils at Lowood from indulging in pride, one of the seven deadly sins, from how Brontë implemented “mortify,” it implies that Mr. Brocklehurst’s intention was to humiliate and to forcefully employ discipline. This ironically contradicts with the teachings of the bible, in which he has previously proclaimed was the basis of his moral principle. Besides, Brontë conveys how religion is employed as a weapon by illustrating how St. John tried to coerce Jane into marrying him. This is pronounced as St. John states that if Jane refuses to be his “suitable missionary’s wife,” “it is not me that you deny, but God.” From how St. John exploits Jane Eyre’s religiousness and manipulates a higher power to achieve his goals, Brontë displays how people corrupt religion to justify their immoral behavior.
Furthermore, Brontë exhibited how religion was often employed simply as an excuse for one’s actions. This is observable from how despite Mr. Brocklehurst stating that Julia Severn was “in defiance of every precept and principle of this house” by wearing “her hair one mass of curls” and demanded “all those top-knots should be cut off,” his daughters wore “grey beaver hats, then in fashion, shaded with ostrich plumes” and “wore a false front of French curls.” From how Mr. Brocklehurst was willing to strip the natural identity of the students at Lowood, but was unwilling to abandon a luxurious lifestyle that was made possible only by the exploitation of school resources, readers are able to discern the hypocrisy of organized religion as people were only willing to preach the religious values that suited themselves. Again, Brontë repeats how religion is used as pretext by using St. John as an example, in which he uses religion as a shield against his feelings for Rosamond Oliver. This is displayed when St. John announced that “if I offered my heart, I believe you would accept it. But that heart is already laid on a sacred altar.” By stating that his passion for religion is greater than that for humans, St. John deprives himself of happiness in the belief that it would lead to a better, more spiritual afterlife in spite of admitting that he loves “Rosamond Oliver so wildly—with all the intensity, indeed, of a first passion.” From how St. John used religion as a way to deny his love for Rosamond Oliver, it is evident how despite not always being a disguise for immoral behavior, religion is implemented as a higher power that provides a rationale for all activity, no matter how absurd.
On the other hand, Brontë also paints religion in a good light by demonstrating how Jane Eyre and Helen Burns use religion as a connection that provides emotional and spiritual support. To begin with, when Jane was distressed over Mr. Brocklehurst’s public denunciation of her for being a “liar,” Helen Burns taught her that “spirits are commissioned to guard us,” and “if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognise our innocence.” From Helen’s view that God is the only consistent being in life, and that he loves and accepts, readers spectate the contrast between her perception of religion and those of Mr. Brocklehurst and St. John. Additionally, from how Helen transformed Jane’s cynical view to one in which she treasures the teachings of religion, Brontë depicts the way in which religion provides a lifeline for those who are lost. This is indicated when Jane “lay faint, longing to be dead,” and only had one idea that “still throbbed life-like within me—a remembrance of God: it begot an unuttered prayer: these words went wandering up and down in my rayless mind.” From how Jane turned to God as her weakest point, which allowed her to rediscover herself and her values, it exemplified how religion was a strength-giver to those whose cherish its value instead of a tool of manipulation. This notion is reinforced when Mr. Rochester asks Jane “What shall I do, Jane? Where turn for a companion and for some hope?” in which she replied “ ‘Do as I do: trust in God and yourself. Believe in heaven,” because not only is religion portrayed as a guide to morality in which one uses to cleanse themselves of previous sins, from how Mr. Rochester was ultimately rewarded by being able to marry Jane, religion is a mechanism that rewards virtue. Brontë culminates the positivity of religion as she outlines how it teaches forgiveness. This is seen when Jane expresses that “Yes, Mrs. Reed, to you I owe some fearful pangs of mental suffering, but I ought to forgive you,” for you thought you were only uprooting my bad propensities.” From how this is almost a direct quote from the bible just before Jesus died on the cross, this again emphasizes the uprightness of religion by showing Jane’s great capacity for forgiveness.
In conclusion, by expressing the contrasting ways in which religion is implemented by different parties, Brontë presents religion as a way in which the inner motives and views of the different characters are reflected.


Roles that Religion plays during Jane Eyre Charllote Bronte- Jane Eyre

377 words - 2 pages Religion is having faith in god, prophet, and angels or anything like that. Now a days people don't have that much faith as people did in the old times. The old people used to do nothing except religion. It's a very discipline and good thing but some people take advantage of it and Jane Eyre gives us a perfect example of it.Mr Brocklehurst visits Gateshead and has a talk with her on Mrs Reed saying. Mr Brocklehurst takes advantage of Jane

Essay about jane eyre and comparison to other womens in book - brooklyn college - jane eyre

663 words - 3 pages Konstantyn Umanskyy English 102 Essay 1 Revision In the Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte shows that the character, Jane Eyre, becomes important that shows how she express British women and show how characters changes during the story progress. She is a smart, plain featured, honest young girl whose reaction to her situations brings more depth to her personality. At the beginning, Jane has an emotion for pride and the idea of freedom, along with her

How is Othello presented in Act 1 - A-Level English Literature - Essay

491 words - 2 pages Which books would you compare The Handmaid’s Tale from dystopian literature? I would compare the book “1984” by George Orwell, the book is an example of dystopian literature. The dystopian novel was set in 1984 in which most of the population of the world have become victims of perpetual war (endless war), omnipresent government surveillance (the government is always watching them) and propaganda (biased and misleading information). In

Color and Weather Motifs in Jane Eyre - AP English Lit - Essay

412 words - 2 pages Jane first moves to Thornfield, she sees that Mr. Rochester’s room has red finishings all over it, symbolising the passionate man he is. However, his room also has white decor, representing peace. The duality of his room is accurate to his character. He is both fierce and gentle. The weather is a useful tool in gothic novels such as Jane Eyre. The weather can't be used to set the mood for a scene, or to foreshadow. When Mr. Rochester proposes to

Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte (1210 Words)How Is The Way Charlotte Bronte Created The Character Of Jane In Her Novel Jane Eyre Meant To Change Our Veiw Of The Role Of Women ?

1288 words - 6 pages to influence opinion and effect social change. In reading Jane Eyre we can see that she aimed to do this in her own novel as well. We also see that the nature and placement of the characters in it (especially Jane) and the particular way they are created in our minds, is, in many ways, for this particular purpose.Jane Eyre was published in 1847, at the height of the 'infamous' Victorian Era. It was an age of science and industrial revolution, of

The Characterization of Jane Eyre - English 12 - Essay

907 words - 4 pages to an end soon after wedding a man she did not love due to a fatal case of pneumonia (SparkNotes Editors). Jane Eyre follows the life of the young orphan, Jane Eyre. The novel begins with Jane living with her cousins and wealthy aunt, Mrs. Reed. The Reeds are cruel, unkind people, and after an incident in which Jane is locked away in the room where her uncle died as a punishment, Mrs. Reed sends her away to boarding school. At first, Jane is

the commons of Bluebeard and Jane Eyre - English 110 - Essay

863 words - 4 pages The tale of “Bluebeard” is written by Charles Perrault and the novel “Jane Eyre” that is written by Charlotte Bronte are both gothic stories. At first, you might not connect the two together, but after giving it some thought, you might realize that there are quite a lot of similarities between the two plots. The similarities occur between the two males in the stories, Bluebeard and Mr. Rochester, in the way the two stories developed and in the

How Does Charlotte BrontÉ Convey Jane Eyre's State Of Mind In Chapter 2 Of The Text 'Jane Eyre'?

1253 words - 6 pages Free Jane Eyre is a 13 year old girl living with her aunty and cousins. She is very left out from the family and has a strong character. Jane Eyre's state of mind in the text "Jane Eyre" written by Charlotte Bronté is delivered through the use of pathetic fallacy and imagery throughout this chapter. Jane's fiery temper changes to a relieved state of mind when her surroundings change and when she is alone. Her feelings and emotions change

how is the role of women presented in frankenstein - English G11 - Frankenstein

768 words - 4 pages . Elizabeth is depicted to ‘shed radiance from her looks’ and to be ‘a child fairer than pictured cherub’ – she accepted into the Frankenstein family due to her looks, which are linked to heaven and benevolence using semantic field of religion (‘cherub’ and ‘radiance’). However, the monster is abandoned in Chapter 5 by Victor after being terrified by the monster’s ‘dun white eyes’ and ‘shrivelled complexion’. Both the monster and Elizabeth are

How is Caius Martius presented in the first scene of Coriolanus? What conflicts and oppositions are set up in this scene? - English Literature - Essay

1882 words - 8 pages How is Caius Martius presented in the first scene of Coriolanus? What conflicts and oppositions are set up in this scene? The play commences in the city of Rome where the common folk, the “plebeians”, are rioting against the patrician class due to the increase in hunger. The action of the play is semi-historical and is set in the aftermath of the fall of Tarquin. It focuses on the ongoing struggle between the plebeians and patricians during

How and Why Is A Particular Social Group Presented in a Certain Way? - ENGL 102 - Essay

923 words - 4 pages How and Why Is A Particular Social Group Presented in a Certain Way? In the article, “Meet The Millennial 1%, Young, Rich, and Redefining Luxury”, Forbes Columnist Larissa Faw takes a look at a group of young people she refers to as the Millennials. A millennial is anyone aged 18-30. Faw takes a look at the affluent members in the millennial category and compares them to their not as wealthy counterparts. Through use of statistics, and language

How Prejudice is presented in To Kill A Mockingbird - Year 10 - Essay

717 words - 3 pages To Kill a Mocking Bird Prejudice Essay Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), is a story of racial oppression in the American south. The novel deals with the themes of prejudice, loss of innocence, bravery, and integrity. This didactic novel represents prejudice as something that can be overcome. This is demonstrated through the lessons that Atticus teaches Scout about empathy, the children’s perception of Boo Radley, and the symbolism of

Independence within Romantic Love in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - eng119 - essay

975 words - 4 pages Roda Warsame Dr. John Corr EN119 – OC1 20 November 2014 Independence within Romantic Love in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë The novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë faced much controversy when it was released. To begin with, a novel written by a woman was uncommon, but the opinions and views of the character Jane were out of the ordinary and before their time. The protagonist, Jane is a character that encounters many hardships and faces difficult

Why Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre - English - Book Report

630 words - 3 pages Iselah Cabello Period 2 Honors English Charlotte Bronte's Reason For Jane Eyre Jane Eyre is a book of a love story with a hint of suspense and tragedy. Charlotte Bronte, the writer of Jane Eyre, taught and entertained her reader through Jane Eyre’s life. She informed the reader of the social injustices in Jane Eyre’s time and she also weaved her own story into Jane Eyre life. She also entertained her reader with the love story but also a sense

How is Fate and Chance presented in Thomas Hardy’s the Mayor of Casterbridge? - St.Albans year 12 - Essay

1968 words - 8 pages How is Fate and Chance presented in Thomas Hardy’s the Mayor of Casterbridge? The people of the 1800s believed in many superstitions however, the 19th Century is generally remembered as a time of science and technology, when the ideas of Charles Darwin and Samuel Morse changed the world forever. Perhaps the otherworldly was a way to hold on to a superstitious past. According to Thomas Hardy “an evil power rules the human’s destinies which thwart