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In the story of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Mr. Broklehurst becomes a very controversial character that Jane encounters early in the story. Mr. Broklehurst, a rather annoying clergyman, feels that he has a specific goal. His goal, at least in his eyes, is to save the otherwise lost souls of his girls in the institution, but in reality he is trying to mold the girls to his own vision rather than God’s. For starters, he thinks that his depiction of what is good and evil is the same as God’s. He, in a sense, thinks he knows exactly what god knows. The only way that would work would be if he though he was God, right? He limits the girls appearance and he is very selective on what the girls should and should not eat for religions spiritual purposes.
Mr. Brocklehurst feels that for spiritual reasons and to follow the motto of Lowood which says,
Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven- (St. Matt. v. 16.)
He must limit the appearance of the girls. He had Julia Severn, a girl of natural curls, cut her hair off. When Miss Temple had tried to rationalize with Mr. Brocklehurst and tell him that her hair is natural he replies and says,
Naturally! Yes, but we are not to conform to nature: I wish these girls to be the children of Grace: and why that abundance? I have again and again intimated that I desire the hair to be arranged closely, modestly, plainly. Miss Temple, that girl’s hair must be cut off entirely; I will send a barber to-morrow: and I see others who have far too much of the excrescence- that tall girl, tell her to turn round. Tell all the first form to rise up and direct their faces to the wall. (pg. 55)
This quote leads me to think who are the girls suppose to follow the motto of, God’s or his? And in all honesty, I don’t feel that God would think a person impure if they had curly red hair. Especially considering the fact that it is natural, meaning from God. He is very picky of what they should eat. I really don’t believe that god would condemn you if you had an extra piece of bread but there again you have Mr.
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Madam, allow me an instant. You are aware that my plan in bringing up these girls is, not to accustom them to habits of luxury and indulgence, but to render them hardy, patient, self-denying. Should any little accidental disappointment of the appetite occur, such as the spoiling of a meal, the under or the over dressing of a dish, the incident ought not to be neutralized by replacing with something more delicate the comfort lost, thus pampering the body and obviating the aim of this institution; it ought to be improved to the spiritual edification of the pupils, by encouraging them to evince fortitude under the temporary privation…(pg54 – 55)
Mr. Brocklehurst proceeds to go on and on about a topic that to any one else would seem trivial and in the process tries to make Miss Temple feel bad. Mr. Brocklehurst also thinks that his view of how god sees good and evil is the same as how god views good and evil and is basically under the assumption that he knows exactly what God knows as good and evil. This is shown when he is speaking with Jane for the first time and says
No? Oh, shocking! I have a little boy, younger than you, who knows six Psalms by heart: and when you ask him which he would rather have, a gingerbread-nut to eat, or a verse of a Psalm to learn he says: ‘Oh! The verse of a psalm! Angel sing psalms,’ says he; ‘I wish to be a little angel here below;’ he then gets to nuts in recompense for his infant piety…(pg 28)
He tries to make Jane look evil not only in his eyes but in the eyes of the Lord as well and tries to make that evident to her just because she isn’t as interested in psalms as much as Mr. Brocklehurst is.
In conclusion, Mr. Brocklehurst tries to instill his visions of what is good and evil upon his girls at Lowood but in reality what is good and evil in his eyes may not be the same as God’s vision and Mr. Brocklehurst doesn’t see that. By doing so he is straying from what God’s vision is and is trying to instill his own visions on the girls like he is their God.