Lit Paper 1 - Lit Paper 1 350:220 sect 08 2/28/08 The...

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Lit Paper 1 350:220 sect 08 2/28/08 The Triumph of Faith over Religion in Jane Eyre There are two modes of Christianity represented in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. One mode conveys a life of religious self deprecation, deprivation, and encourages a minimalist lifestyle. The other mode represented is more true to the foundations of Christianity, such as faith. This mode encourages a life of love, giving, and forgiveness. Jane Eyre, having been raised by the Reeds and educated at Lowood, was exposed to the cruel religious mode of Christianity. While at Lowood she was exposed to the gentler, more forgiving mode in being close with Helen Burns, who preached about the teachings of Christ as well as faith and belief. Both modes are equally represented in the novel, but the Christianity that Helen Burns practices and subsequently teaches Jane is proven to be vastly superior to the Christianity that the Reeds and Mr. Brocklehurst, for example, exposed Jane to. Jane’s ability to thrive at Lowood and Mr. Brocklehursts failure to maintain an Institution through devout deprivation, the failure of the Reeds to find happiness and success in life, and St. John’s failure to marry Jane all prove that devout deprivation, Evangelical Protestantism, is weaker than the faith based practice that Helen preaches and Jane imbibes. The Lowood section of the novel highlights the particularly destructive practice of Christianity and the failures of those who conform to it, but also draws attention to, and 1
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reveals the success of those who practice the vastly superior forgiving and loving model of Christianity. Jane leaves Gateshead with such happiness in her heart that was previously unknown to her. Never had Jane such hope for a new and brighter beginning. Upon seeing the rigid structure, the regimented schedule, and favorable tendencies to corporal punishment, Jane found herself in yet another prison. The Lowood Institution is for orphans, or for girls whose families cannot support them. They are all “charity” cases at Lowood and are reminded of such by the dismal quality and quantity of the basic needs of survival. The food is scarce and ill prepared; the water is putrid and frozen, and the clothes unfit for the harsh weather. This is not because there are not enough funds for the Institution. Mr. Brocklehurst, the Master and Treasurer of funds, uses the benefactor’s money to support his own lavish lifestyle. In the following quote, Brocklehurst is in the middle of preaching his theory on the girls at Lowood should be taught, in the image of good Christians, when his daughters walk in and refute everything Brocklehurst was saying: ‘I have a master to serve whose kingdom is not of t his world: my mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh; to teach them to clothe themselves with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with braided hair and costly apparel; and each of the young persons before us has a string of hair twisted in plaits which vanity itself might
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Lit Paper 1 - Lit Paper 1 350:220 sect 08 2/28/08 The...

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