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.
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 doesn’t
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 doesn’t 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.

Jane’s relationship with Helen Burns seems to strengthen
her belief in God. Helen tells Jane that she is happy, and
that she doesn’t 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 missionary’s wife... A
missionary’s wife you must-shall be. You shall be mine: I
claim you-nor for my pleasure, but for my Sovereign’s
service".(749)

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