As she decends from her punishment, Jane weeps tears of frustration at the persecution she has faced. Helen attempts to comfort her, but when Jane shows a dramatic coveting of a love of other’s opinions, Helen admonishes her:
“Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings, you are too impulsive, too vehement: the sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognize our innocence …. and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness — to glory?”
They visit Miss Temple’s room, and she promises Jane absolution if she discovers Mr. Brocklehurst’s comments to be unjust, then gives the girls a sumptuous feast of tea, toast and seedcake. The conversation between Helen and Miss Temple is at once informative, as well as profound. Although the next morning Helen is made to wear the word “Slattern” around her neck for keeping messy drawers, she accepts the punishment, although Jane is indignant. Miss Temple indeed absolves Jane of the accusations, and our heroine is beginning to learn that ‘Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.’ The hardships faced at Lowood among people who care about her are like gold, whereas the luxuries of Gateshead are like dross.
|School Girl in Black (1908)
As spring arrives, some of the privations of the previous months are lessened and Jane begins to wander further than the walls of Lowood into the natural beauty of the forest-dell. But the fog that surrounded the area brought typhus with it, and especially because of their lack of nutrition and physical weakness, many of the students succumb to the pestilence. Jane is left with the other healthy students to ramble around the environs, as the teachers are busy dealing with the sick pupils. But while Helen is absent, Jane does not realize that her illness is critical until she hears from one of the teachers that Helen’s life will soon be over. Visiting Helen in her sick-bed, her friend imparts more words of her gentle wisdom before succumbing to the consumption that the reader had seen glimmers of since her first introduction.
“My Maker and yours, who will never destroy what he created. I rely implicitly on his power, and confide wholly in his goodness. I count the hours till that eventful one arrives which shall restore me to him, reveal him to me.”
With the Reeds cruelty and no other connections other than Bessie, Jane receives her religious instruction from this angelic girl who seems to have a wisdom from beyond the world.
|Plague Hospital (1798-1800)
The story is put in fast forward. The disease at the school brings the attention of the public and an examination is held, which finds the conditions deplorable and positive changes are made. Jane continued 8 years there as a student and two as a teacher, but when Mrs. Temple marries and departs, a wanderlust seizes Jane and she applies for a position of governess at Thornfield Hall.
Bessie arrives to reveal the scandals at Gateshead: Georgianna’s attempt to run away with a Lord was prevented by her sister, Eliza, and John is living a debauched life of drink and women. Her uncle, John Eyre, arrived, looking for Jane, but left for parts unknown. And so Jane leaves for Thornfield Hall.
|Young Girl Learning to Write
I don’t have much insight to add to these chapters. We observe the development of Jane’s character in a positive way, which exemplifies the fluctuations in life and circumstance and enforces that adversity and hardship can be good for building inner strength of character, depending on how we choose to face it.
Yikes, I’ve fallen behind in the pace with my busy non-book schedule, so I need to catch up. Wish me luck —– I’ll need lots of it!!!