Religion in "Jane Eyre ", Charlotte Bronte

Essay by SuperFitzHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 1997

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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

mama's expense'(12).

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...