Charlotte Bronte addresses the theme of Religion in the novel Jane Eyre using many
characters as symbols. Bronte states, 'Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness
is not religion'(preface v). In Jane Eyre, Bronte supports the theme that customary actions
are not always moral through the conventional personalities of Mrs. Reed, Mr.
Brocklehurst, and St. John Rivers.
The novel begins in Gateshead Hall when Jane must stay away from her aunt and
cousins because she does not know how to speak pleasantly to them. Mrs. Reed,
possesses a higher standing in society. Due to Jane's lower class standing, Mrs. Reed
treats Jane as an outcast. As Bessie and Miss Abbot drag Jane to the 'red room' a most
scary room for a child, she is told by Miss Abbot: 'No; you are less than a servant for you
do nothing for your keep'(14).She must stay in the red room after she retaliates to the
attack John Reed makes upon her, her obnoxious cousin.
John tells Jane 'mamma says;
you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not live here with
gentlemen's children like us and eat the same meals that we do, and wear clothes at our
She receives no love or approval from her family. The only form of love that she does
have is the doll she clings to at night when she sleeps. Mrs. Reed is a conventional woman
who believes that her class standing sets her to be superior, and therefore better than a
member of her own family. As a result of Jane's tantrums, quick temper, and lack of self-
control, society classifies her as an immoral person. She speaks up for her herself when
she knows she is not supposed to, and her family believes that...