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Jane Eyre: Religion

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 07:26 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69.2 
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        Since the dawn of man, human beings have had religions. People establish religions as a means to define who they are. Religion is an essential aspect to identity. It sets moral standards and defines a person’s place in society. The novel Jane Eyre is a coming-of-age story. It begins with a young girl named Jane who, by the end of the story is a strong, independent woman. A major component of maturing is finding one’s identity, and Jane seeks to find her own identity as well. Throughout the novel, the theme of religion plays an important part in Jane’s maturation. She is faced with several main characters that give Jane examples of different ways people choose to follow their religion.

At Lowood Academy, Jane meets two important people who represent two very different types of Christians. The first, Mr. Brocklehurst, is a hypocritical, judgmental, and cruel man. He claims to “mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh” (Brontë, 57), by depriving them in even slight “privileges”. His own family, on the other hand, is vain and extravagant. The second person she meets at Lowood of religious significance is Helen Burns. Helen Burns accepts hardship, and is meek and passive in her Christian principles. “Hush Jane! You think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive…” (Brontë, 62). Jane looks at both people and realizes that she is different from both of them and eventually decides not to adopt either of their beliefs.

St. John Rivers is another religious figure that helps Jane understand herself better. St. John’s sole motivation in life is glory. He values his reputation over anything. “Literally, he lived only to aspire…” (Brontë, 375). Also, St. John tries to make Jane go to India with him as a wife “We must be married - …” (Brontë, 390). For a while, Jane is almost convinced to accept the proposal. At this point in the story, however, Jane has developed quite a strong sense of who she is. She decides to be loyal to herself...

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