Jane Eyre - Miss Temple\'s Influence on Jane


Eyre - Miss Temple\'s Influence on Jane

"Jane Eyre" is set during the Victorian
period, at a time where a women\'s role in society was restrictive and repressive
and class differences distinct. A job as a governess was one of the only
few respectable positions available to the educated but impoverished single

Not only is "Jane Eyre" a novel about one
woman\'s journey through life, but Brontë also conveys to the reader
the social injustices of the period, such as poverty, lack of universal
education and sexual inequality. Jane\'s plight and her "dependant" status
is particularly emphasised at the beginning of the novel.

Miss Temple is the kind and fair-minded
superintendent of Lowood School, who plays an important role in the emotional
development of Jane Eyre.

Miss Temple is described by Helen as being"good and very clever" and "above the rest, because she knows far more
than they do". This description is more significant because it has been
said by Helen, and she herself is extremely mature.

One of Miss Temple\'s most outstanding qualities
is her ability to command (perhaps unconsciously) respect from everyone
around her, "considerable organ of veneration, for I yet retain the sense
of admiring awe with which my eyes traced her steps". Even during their
first encounter Jane is "impressed"... "by her voice, look and air".

Throughout Jane\'s stay at Lowood, Miss

Temple frequently demonstrates her human kindness and compassion for people.

An Example of this is when after noticing that the burnt porridge was not
eaten by anyone, she ordered a lunch of bread and cheese to be served to
all, realising their hunger. This incident is also evidence of her courage,
of how she is not afraid to stand up to her superior, when she feels that
too much unnecessary suffering has been inflicted on the children

Miss Temple\'s Christianity contrasts with
that of Mr Brocklehurst, where instead of preaching restrictive and depressing
doctrine, which he then proceeds to contradict, she encourages the children
by "precept and example".

After the incident involving Mr Brocklehurst
announcing to the whole school that Jane is a liar, the reader becomes
aware of Miss Temple\'s sense of natural justice, where before accepting
what Mr Brocklehust has said, she inquires from Jane her version.

It is of no coincidence that Brontë
choose to coincide Miss Temple\'s arrival into the schoolroom with the moon\'s
light "streaming in through a window near". Brontë throughout the
novel uses weather to set the mood of a character.

Jane\'s time at Gateshead Hall was one of
misery and anguish. She was subjected to domestic tyranny, and abused by
her cousin John Reed continually. Jane, from her "very first recollections
of existence" had been told that she had better not think herself "on an
equality with the Misses Reed and Master Reed" and that it was her "place
to be humble". At Gateshead she was made to feel like a "discord" and a
person "not worthy of notice". Even the servants treated her with inferiority,
because of her "dependant" status, which in Victorian society was viewed
without compassion. Her strong desire to love and to be loved was not fulfilled
here. Whereas at Lowood Jane was treated with respect and as an equal by

Miss Temple, and her desire to be loved and cared for was fulfilled by

Miss Temple and Helen Burns.

Jane arrives at Lowood as a passionate
little girl, who is deeply resentful of her aunt and cousins, but due to
the influence of Helen Burns and Miss Temple\'s example, Jane learns to
control these feelings, and be happy, "I had given in allegiance to duty
and order"... "I believed I was content"... "I appeared a disciplined and
a subdued character".

Jane admits "to her instruction I owed
the best part of my acquirements; her friendship and society and been my
continual solace; she had stood me in the stead of mother, governess, and
latterly, companion".

Miss Temple\'s treatment of Helen also has
an influence on Jane. Jane has a great deal of admiration for Miss Temple,
and in many ways copies her behaviour. Miss Temple\'s treatment of Helen
shows Jane how to treat other people, with kindness and respect.

When Miss Temple invites Jane and Helen
for tea, Jane listens enraptured to Helen\'s and Miss Temple\'s intellectual
discussion, while observing a real warmth and affinity between them. It
is clear to Jane that both Miss Temple and Helen are both very intelligent
and well read, Jane admires these qualities and tries to seek them herself
as they lead to an independence of mind, another quality that Jane wishes
to acquire.

The extent of