Who is a True Christian?

It appears that Jane has had a strong belief in God, but she
seems to have a more wholesome and wholehearted belief
than some other characters in the novel. In the beginning of
the novel young Jane is painfully rejected by her aunt, as
well as her son and daughter.She is unable to alter the daily
pattern of abuse and neglect. This makes it obvious that she
did not live as a member of a truly Christian family, but she
was mature enough to develop her own beliefs through
daily prayers and biblical readings.

Further in the story, she meets Mr. Brocklehurst for the
first time and interviews Jane about sin, hell and the Bible.

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At one point in the conversation he asks her if she knows
any psalms, she replies that “Psalms are not interesting
(Bronte,490). This proves to Mr. Brocklehurst that she has
a wicked heart, and must pray to God to change it and give
her a new and clean one. Why must Mr. Brocklehurst be
so harsh with such a young child? Would a truely Christian
man ever be so quick to condemn someone he doesnt
know anything about?
Eventually Jane moves to Lowood Institution, an old,
drafty, dreary place. It is there that Jane comes to realize
that although Mr. Brocklehurst was able to put on a good
show at Gateshead Hall about his religious beliefs, he is
lacking in basic human necessities. The meals that were
served were meager portions; during some occasions it
was burned. Her knowledge of the shortcomings at
Lowood were supported when she over heard the teachers
whisper “Abominable stuff! How Shameful!”(Bronte,499).

This situation along with the dreadfully cold sleeping
quarters show that Mr. Brocklehurst although
knowledgeable in biblical psalms and parables had no
concern with the conditions these children lived in. Also,
when Jane accidentally breaks her slate he punishes her by
making her stand on a high stool as punishment. From this
point onward in the novel, it is clear that Mr. Brocklehurst
symbolizes hypocrisy and insensitivity.
In particular, Mr. Brocklehurst was complaining about
holes in stockings and expounding the virtues of a good
Christian, he is interrupted by his fashionably dressed wife
and two daughters. Their ostrich plumes, beaver hats and
false French curls contrast with the cold, underdressed
children huddling over a fire to keep warm. Obviously most
of the donated money is used to spoil his family, and not
being used for what it was given for. Is this the behavior of
a true Christian? Jane doesnt not think so, but she is smart
enough to disregard things she can not change and is able
to find a few role models that influence her development.

Janes relationship with Helen Burns seems to strengthen
her belief in God. Helen tells Jane that she is happy, and
that she doesnt want Jane to grieve her death. By dying
she is escaping great sufferings, and that she has strong faith
in God. Helen also tells Jane about her beliefs in heaven.

She says, “I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is
god; I can resign my immortal part to him without any
misgivings. God is my father; God is my friend: I love him; I
believe he loves me”(525). After Helen tells her this she
feels dearer to her, the reader can feel an emotional bond
between the two girls and the sense of a developing of
strong faith.
Eventually, Jane meets a man named St. John Rivers who
takes her in as a poor, helpless woman. Later they feel an
attraction toward each other that must be avoided because
they learn that they are distant relations. She notices that St.

John is a good-hearted, caring man with strong faith in
God. She appreciates those qualities and almost falls in
love with him. St. John asks her to join him on a religious
mission in India. Think that she was not a woman with a
mind of her own he tries to convince her by saying “God
and Nature intended you for a missionarys wife… A
missionarys wife you must-shall be. You shall be mine: I
claim you-nor for my pleasure, but for my Sovereigns
She almost accepts but comes to realize that he wants her
to be his wife not his companion to spread the word of
God. She feels a brotherly bond with St.John which would
make marrying him a seem an incestuous activity which
maybe a condemnatory offense in the eyes of God whom
she does not want to offend. Also she begins to realize that
his religious missions are not done from the heart, he feels it
is his job. She is confused that a self- proclaimed man of
God could overlook such a situation.Jane makes it clear
that she does not want to be a part of his proposal.

After comparing these two characters the reader can see
that there are major differences in their belief or beliefs in
God. Both Mr. Brocklehurst and St.John Rivers have a
very narrow-minded view of God. They believe that
memorization and recitation of psalms and Scripture
readings will get you to heaven, but they dont realize that
human neglect is looked down upon by God. While Jane
on the other hand has a more worldly, open-minded view
of God. That not only must a person be knowledgeable of
what He has done and what He expects of us, but that we
must care for each other as we care for ourselves. Jane
believes that God accepts people by what is in their heart
He will not be fooled by the masks or religious fronts that
people wear and build.

Also, note that she does not hate them because of their
hypocritical ways she hopes that their eyes open to what
they are doing, and chooses not to get to involved. Jane is
a very intelligent woman, and though she has had a hard life
she still knows to lead with her mind and love with her
heart.She exemplifies a true christian.