In Jane Eyre, religion is embraced through a series of spiritual
explorations. Bronte portrays Jane's character and zest for religion
by revealing Jane's transitions from Gateshead to Lowood, Lowood to
Thornfield, and Thornfield to Moor House. Jane ultimately rejects
everyone of these organized styles of worship. However, that does not
mean that she rejects all their beliefs. She is forever changed by
each experience and they have helped mold her view on religion and her
relationship with God. Each location plays a significant role in the
development of Jane's perspective on religion. Jane struggles to
acquire true faith in God, which will help her overcome the obstacles
of her nomadic life.
Within Jane Eyre, Bronte shows a feeling of anti-Catholicism through
the character of Jane?s cousin, Eliza Reed. The novel portrays Eliza
as a picture of rigidity:
Two young ladies appeared before me; one very tall, almost as tall as
Miss Ingram,--very thin too, with a sallow face and severe mien. There
was something ascetic in her look, which was augmented by the extreme
plainness of a straight-skirted, black, stuff dress, a starched linen
collar, hair combed away from the temples, and the nun-like ornament
of a string of ebony beads and a crucifix. (Bronte 228)
Eliza had certainly taken on the ritualistic side of Catholicism.
(Rife) She is described as a busy person, but "it was difficult to say
what she did: or rather, to discover any result of her diligence"
(Bronte 234). Bronte had the same feelings toward the Catholic faith.
Charlotte and many other English Protestants viewed Catholics as
people who worshipped idols diligently, yet d...
... middle of paper ...
...r himself. (Cashwell)
As we can see, Jane is obviously affected by her experiences at each
of these different stages in her life. At Lowood she learned the
strict adherence to the religious and moral values that were taught
there. Even though she may not have agreed with all of them, they
molded her views on morality, shown in her experiences with Rochester.
She also learned of sacrifice through St. John, who sacrificed true
love for the greater good of his religious calling. Bronte deals with
quite a few religious topics and pretty much finds something wrong
with each form of Christianity. Jane finally finds a personal
relationship with God, and even though she may not agree with one of
the forms of organized Christianity, she finally fells a spiritual
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1996.
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