Jane Eyre – Mr Brocklehurst and Social/moral hypocrisy (5 quotes) Flashcard Example #56895

“A black pillar!” “straight, narrow” “grim face” “stony stranger” AO2
“Straight, narrow” suggests an unwillingness to bend or change their views, which is symbolic of Mr Brocklehurst’s character (sees in black and white, things are right or wrong)
“Grim” faced “stony stranger” is not welcoming or warm and foreshadows danger.
“Black pillar” of a church
“A black pillar!” “straight, narrow” “grim face” “stony stranger” AO3
Males in the patriarchy always seem superior and frightening.
He was based on Revd Carus Wilson, founder of the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge, attended by the four eldest Bronte sisters. Charlotte held Carus Wilson responsible for the deaths of her sisters Maria and Elizabeth, who died of tuberculosis at the school .Therefore Helen Burn’s death and Brocklehurst’s character has a personal and narrative resonance. Charlotte Bronte claimed that her account of Cowan Bridge as Lowood was accurate and said that Carus Wilson “deserved the chastisement he had got” as Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre.
“a gingerbread-nut to eat of a verse of Psalm to learn, he says: ‘Oh! The verse of a Psalm… I wish to be a little angel here below'” “And the Psalms? Do you like them?” “No Sir” AO1
AO1 This is only because he has cleverly learnt that is he gives the right answer he will get two biscuits. This greed and lying are ironically unchristian values and make Brocklehurst appear hypocritical and silly when he gives her a book on lying, because she is being completely honest when she tells him “No Sir”. Terrible irony that Jane always telling the truth and following a strict moral guide, but she gets punished by a Society full of lying and deceit.
“a gingerbread-nut to eat of a verse of Psalm to learn, he says: ‘Oh! The verse of a Psalm… I wish to be a little angel here below'” “And the Psalms? Do you like them?” “No Sir” AO3
AO1 This is only because he has cleverly learnt that is he gives the right answer he will get two biscuits. This greed and lying are ironically unchristian values and make Brocklehurst appear hypocritical and silly when he gives her a book on lying, because she is being completely honest when she tells him “No Sir”. Terrible irony that Jane always telling the truth and following a strict moral guide, but she gets punished by a Society full of lying and deceit.
Mr Brocklehurst protests about a girls “Red hair, ma’am, curled – curled all over?” AO2
AO2 “Curled” “red” hair is a viewed by Brocklehurst as an expression of personality and individuality. Vibrant “red” hair would be seen as sluttish. Brocklehurst wants to mortify the flesh, therefore he sees this as a deliberate act of rebellion and an attempt to indulge the flesh.
Brocklehurst is incredibly cruel during this chapter, because he tries to make a girl with naturally curly hair ashamed of herself and think herself naturally evil and sinful.
Quote for Brocklehurst’s daughters – hypocrisy
“splendidly attired” “tresses, elaborately curled”
“Who subscribes?” “Benevolent-minded ladies and gentlemen in this neighbourhood and in London”
AO1/AO3
The upper class in the Victorian Era would want to do good thinks like this to show off to their other upper class acquaintances. Clearly simply subscribing to pay money to a charity school does not show genuine interest in the school or the children’s welfare, so Bronte includes this to show that society is corrupt and not truly Christian. Bronte is criticising this aspect of her society.
They are hypocrites, because they claim to care for the school and for charitable cases, yet they don’t care enough to visit and notice the incredibly unchristian and cruel treatment of the charity children.
“Who subscribes?” “Benevolent-minded ladies and gentlemen in this neighbourhood and in London” AO2
AO2 “benevolent-minded ladies and gentlemen” seems like a textbook definition Helen Burns has been taught to say and not something she genuinely believes. “Benevolent” is incredibly ironic considering the lack of care for the poor children. Bronte chooses this language to deliberately mock and criticise the upper class.

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