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Jane Eyre as a Feminist Novel - the Unique Religious Belief of Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre as a feminist novel.The Unique Religious belief of Jane Eyre

It is noticeable that Jane Eyre, the protagonist in the famous novel Jane Eyre, holds unique religious belief different from those around her. Her religious idea is leading a pious life in the secular world, which requires her to behave according to the religious principle, while pursuing her own happiness and love boldly. The unique religious belief is mostly in accordance with the Methodism (or Evangelicalism) principles, a denomination of Protestantism, and largely due to the religious background of the author, Charlotte Bronte, who was the daughter of a Methodist priest. Methodism advocates free will through God's prevenient Grace, self-salvation, practical piety, and plain life. This uniqueness is attested in three periods of time of Jane Eyre's life: in Lowood, in Thornfield, and in St. John's house.

First, in Lowood, Jane encountered Helens Burns, and became good friend with her. Jane was highly influenced by Helen's serenity, tolerance, piety, and erudition. However, there are fundamental differences between Jane and Helen, that is, Helen was obedient, submitted to her fate humbly, and had a staunch, if not fervent, belief to heaven. Jane, in contrast, was more rebellious. She wouldn't forgive the injustice blindly, and she didn't have so strong a passion toward the afterlife in heaven. Helen was treated most unfairly by Miss Scatcherd. She was scolded as "dirty, disagreeable", and was dismissed from class for trifling reasons and even beaten despite her poor health. Not as Jane expected, Helen didn't "dislike her, resist her", or "break the rod under Miss Scatcherd's nose". In contrary, she "neither wept nor blushed: composed, though grave, she stood, as if she were thinking of something beyond her punishment, of something not round her nor before her", and she even told Jane to forgive those who had done hurt. Helen's behavior was quite justified according to the Bible, "That ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."(Matthew 5:39) but Jane chose to rebel against the bullying of her aunt and cousins to try to maintain her self-esteem. She couldn't tolerate the injustice, and "would rather die than live solitary, hated." Also, Helen embraced death calmly. She firmly believed that she would go to God, and "be received by the mighty, universal Parent" once she died, whereas Jane still doubted "Does it exist?" even if she was told so by Helen, and she was distressed by Helen's death despite the religious consolation of Helen. Helen was a saintly girl who had more divinity in her than secularity. It seemed that she was too good to live. Jane Eyre had more secularity instead, and though this period was her childhood and her religious belief

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