Human beings are a type of social animals who search to improve the well-being of their own. While many things collocate the betterment of the people physically, religion adjusts the spiritual development. To make the concept of religion as a very familiar one for the people, some authors inscribe it into their creations. In this light, when we give our attention towards the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, religion plays a significant role as a theme and also it can be discussed under two portions including charity and missionary works. The term charity stands for helping others by giving money and foods as well as paying kindness and sympathy towards those who need it, while the missionary work depicts expanding religion by travelling to a foreign country. Though it is especially connected with Christianity, every religion determines to do their services as above. However the author of Jane Eyre clears his way to canvass these two aspects of the religion through the novel by using minor characters.
The author culls the charity schools to highlight the notion of charity. At the beginning chapters, Lowood School symbolizes the concept of charity of the religion. Charity schools are a type of school that gives the basic needs for orphans and look-after them until they accomplish the goal of education up to their point. Here the author uses the character of Mr Brocklehurst to signify the charity in the novel. The dialogues between Jane and her friend Helen Burns reveal the contribution of Mr Brocklehurst and his dealings with the charity school.
“Then why do they call us charity children. Do they feed us for nothing?”
“Because fifteen pounds is not enough for board and teaching, so the deficiency is made up by subscription”
In addition to this, in one situation Helen describes to Jane how Mr. Brocklehurst supplies the things for the charity school as following.
“She has to answer to Mr. Brocklehurst for all she dose. He buys our food and all our clothes”
In this way, the author uses the character of Mr Brocklehurst as a minor character in the novel to signify the notion of charity.
Miss Temple is another minor character of the novel that the author uses to exemplify the notion of charity, because of her kindness towards the girls in the school. When the meals are not good enough to eat, Miss Temple orders cheese and bread without thinking about the troubles that can come to her from Mr Brocklehurst. This gives the evidence for her kindness towards the helpless poor girls.
“ I have a word to say to you, girls, she said. “ this morning you were given a breakfast you could not eat. You must be hungry. I have ordered that some bread and cheese shall be served to all”.
In another situation, Miss Temple helps Jane to prove her real condition in front of others after she was accused by Mr Brocklehurst, because the sympathy of her heart doesn’t allow to occur unfair happenings for the students of Lowood school. So, she calls for Jane to her chamber and discusses about what they can do to regain the name that she lost.
“Well now, Jane, when a criminal is accused, he is always allowed to speak in his own defense. You have been called a liar. Defend yourself to me as well as you can. Say what you remember to be true, but add nothing and exaggerate nothing”
“When I had finished, Miss Temple looked at me for a few minutes in silence. Then she said “I know Mr. Lloyd. I will write to him and if his reply agreed with your story, you shall be publicly cleared. To me, Jane, you are clear now.”
At the final half of the novel, the author takes the advantage of another minor character called Mr Revers to signify both the notion of charity and the missionary work of the religion. Mr. Rivers or St. John is a clergyman who helps for poor. He goes to look-after the poor and sick people in his parish.
“St. John was seldom at home. His parish was large and its population scattered. He was busy visiting the poor and sick and he took his church work very seriously”
And also Mr. Rivers plans to go East and fulfill his duty as a missionary, because as the representative of the religion, it is his responsibility.
“Meanwhile, I came to know St. John Rivers more intimately as the weeks went by, and he talked long to me of his great desire to work among the poor of the East as a missionary”
According to these exemplifications, Mr Revers is the person who accomplishes his maximum on behalf of the religion. As a man it is easy for him to travel place to place and country to country, without any difficulty. However for females it is somewhat difficult to follow the things. Women can engage with the notion of charity with full respect of their heart, in the case of their religion. So in this way it is possible to see that minor characters of the novel support for both these ideas of charity and missionary works.
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