Character analysis of Helen Burns in the novel Jane Eyre - Essay Example

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Helen has a very strong impact on Jane because she infuses a strong sense of religion and spirituality in her. Helen is depicted as keeping up with the great Christian canon of…
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Character analysis of Helen Burns in the novel Jane Eyre
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Character Analysis of Helen Burns in the Novel Jane Eyre (05.11.11) In the novel Jane Eyre, Helen Burns is Jane’s friend at the Lowood boardingschool for orphans. Helen has a very strong impact on Jane because she infuses a strong sense of religion and spirituality in her. Helen is depicted as keeping up with the great Christian canon of forgiveness and functions as the force that frustrates the objectives of people such as Mr. Brocklehurst who is cruelly arrogant in not having any sympathy or kindness. She also proves to be strong enough in foiling Jane’s anger at people that mistreated her. Helen is portrayed as a character who advocates Christianity in asserting that God always rewards truthfulness and kindness. Like Jane, Helen is also an orphan and holds that her actual family is in heaven. In having confidence in such beliefs she devotedly offers herself for other forms of punishments at Lowood. Helen does not complain while facing the torturous treatment of Mrs Scratcherd and although she is tormented by such conduct she continues to remain steadfast in her belief. Helen is ready to bear with all difficulties at Lowood and copes with the several injustices done to her. She is also ready to die and get tortured for her religious beliefs and continues to guide Jane to always give religion top priority in life.
Although Helen appears only in a few chapters in the novel, she has a very strong influence on Jane because of her views on Christianity. This guidance helps Jane a great deal as she grows into an adult. However, some aspects of Helen’s character do not reveal a strong personality in setting examples of a realistic and matured person. For instance, she argues that the other cheek should be offered while being punished and that unhappiness and injustice should be tolerated because greater joys await a person in heaven. However, these arguments can be contested because Christianity does not advocate tolerance of injustice and exploitation. Christianity also advocates that an individual should work towards achieving happiness through good deeds.
Nevertheless, Helen’s faith remains constant till the time she dies. She sets examples in acting in ways that she believed are prescribed by God and religiously forgives all forms of heartlessness that she faces. She always believes that people doing good deeds will be rewarded and those doing bad deeds will be punished. Helen’s character is exposed through her relationship with Jane. When Helen is dying in Jane’s arms she tells her “I am very happy, Jane; and when you hear that I am dead you must be sure and not grieve: there is nothing to grieve about” (Bronte, 1997, p.71). Jane is fearful about Helen’s death and the unavoidable aloneness that she will suffer after her death but Helen has the wisdom to tell her that she should not be unhappy because she too will eventually find peace with god. Helen passes away while she is in Jane’s arms, saying the words “I have faith, I am going to God” (Bronte, 1997, p.71). This statement, coming at the time of death, is clear indication of the faith that Helen had in God and in her destiny. She demonstrated immense strength in coping with the harsh realities and injustices at Lowood while also guiding Jane and others to have faith in God.

Bronte, Charlotte, 1997. Jane Eyre, Signet Classics. Read More
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