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Rory Book Discussions > Jane Eyre - chapters 5-10

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) What do you think of Lowood school?


message 2: by Mary (new)

Mary | 29 comments I can't put this book down! I read it in high school, but I barely remember anything about it. I love the section where Jane is at Lowood. The development of Jane's character, the way she matures and settles into herself while still keeping her spark and spunk, are so masterfully written. I love Helen and Miss Temple, too, in spite of (or because of?) the one-dimensional nature of their characters. Their utter purity and sweetness might be nauseating if written by a less brilliant author. And I love to hate Mr. Brocklehurst! The irony of his wife and daughters flouncing in clad head to toe in furs while he lectures the teachers about teaching the girls to "clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety" just killed me. I'm so glad we picked this book!


message 3: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Ditto, Mary. I feel like I'm reading it for the first time, also.

Helen Burns is a saint, advising Jane, "It is not violence that best overcomes hate--nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury." and "I live in calm, looking toward the end."

Also, "if all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved your from guilt, you would not be without friends."

Also looked up "Resurgam", written on the grave at the end of this section. In Latin, it's "I shall rise again."

I'm so glad Jane made it to Lowood (despite the starvation, epidemics, etc.) "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."


message 4: by Sera (new)

Sera Oh, Alison, I loved your use of quotes to illustrate your points. Jane really begins to find herself in these chapters, which I found to be very enjoyable to read. I knew nothing of this book going in so it's been a pleasant surprise for me.

Isn't it interesting how the running of Lowood changes between chapters 5 and 10? Also, the departure of Miss Temple leads Jane to the next stage of her life, which I am looking forward to reading today.


message 5: by Liz (new)

Liz | 35 comments I was afraid for Jane at first when she arrived at Lowood. I was also not to sure of Helen Burns at first. Then after the "evil" Mr. Brocklehurst put Jane on display as such an evil child I loved how Helen gave Jane confidence!! Then Miss Temple also coming to her rescue. The forging of those relationships made my heart soar for Jane. I was more concerned for her finding a dear friend then the conditions considering she was somewaht "used to" doing without.


message 6: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany I was pleasantly surprised by Jane's development throughout these chapters. I was afraid she would go down the bitter, cynical path at school especially after her encounters with Mr. Brocklehurst and the loss of her friend. But to see her evolve into a confident, well-liked young lady was refreshing.


message 7: by Sera (new)

Sera My favorite part of these chapters was that Jane was given a chance to set the record straight and to have her reputation restored when she told the teacher about her life at the Reed house. She heeded Helen's earlier lessons about taking the melodrama out, which added to her credibility. I was so glad to read that the Reeds lost on this one, even though Mrs. Reed continued to try and to hurt Jane after she no longer lived with them.


message 8: by Star (new)

Star Shiflett (stargirlexplosion) | 2 comments I enjoyed reading about her days at Lowood. The horrible cold and lack of food was a sad state of things, but Jane was getting an education. This education could make her an independent working woman. Well as much as the time would allow.

I loved Ms. Temple. She was such a good role model for Jane. She knew how to be a caring disciplinarian.


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I think I read somewhere that Jane's experience at Lowood, with the poor conditions and typhus epidemic, was based on Bronte's own school. Does anyone know if I am remembering that right?


message 10: by Anna (new)

Anna (olive415) Yes, you're right Sarah. Bronte's 2 older sisters died while the Clergy Daughter's School and she blamed the conditions.


message 11: by Haley (new)

Haley | 8 comments Yikes, that's scary about Bronte's sisters. I found it very interesting that the typhus epidemic that broke out at the school was the cause for lots of freedom and general good health for those girls that were not afflicted. I was suprised that my overall reaction to the typhus chapters left me wanting to play in the sunshine. However, I was heart broken about Helen Burns.


message 12: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) Mary and Despina, I totally agree about hating Mr. Brocklehurst, especially when his wife and daughters come in. I hated his line from Chapter 4 when he quoted his daughter about how "quiet and plain" all the girls look and how the girls "looked at my dress and mamma's as if they had never seen a silk dress before." And then to have the daughter come in all dressed up and with her hair curled after he had just gotten upset with the poor little girl with naturally curly hair - GGRRR!! Despina, you are right - total hypocrite!

I also read this book in high school, but I remember very little about it. It's moving along at a faster pace then I remember (although that may have more to do with my age and the fact that I'm reading this for pleasure then anything else).


message 13: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
I thought it was funny that it was "sinful" and vain to have your hair curled. Haha. Now, people flat-iron their hair to make it pretty. (And of course, curly hair is still fashionable, too).


message 14: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 38 comments Lowood was a great escape for Jane. I enjoyed seeing her grow up in these chapters.


message 15: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Zimny (jen_the_librarian) | 2 comments Just a little more enlightenment on the Clergy Daughter's school. . .

Yes, it was school with horrid living conditions. I have a lengthy biography on the Brontes by Juliet Barker, and the description of the food alone there would make anyone gag!

But I found it funny that when Charlotte arrived there, their assessment of her was "Reads tolerably-Writes indifferently-Ciphers a little and works neatly. Knows nothing of Grammar, Geography, History, or Accomplishments.

Maria and Elizabeth (the older sisters who dies there) were given much higher marks then her. . .what they could have become. . .


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Yay! Jen joined!


message 17: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Zimny (jen_the_librarian) | 2 comments You know I can't resist anything Bronte, Sarah! It's like an addiction!

Yes, my name is Jen, and I'm a Bronteholic.


message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Plus you're my GG buddy, so I knew you'd love this group.


message 19: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 197 comments I'm really enjoying the book too. I was happy that Jane finally found someplace where she fit in a bit better but isn't it crazy that because the girls are orphans it was viewed as appropriate to dress them in rags and feed them rotten food? It's like people didn't think they were worthy of anything better. It's sad that even today when kids don't have some adult to advocate for them they can get stuck in some substandard care situation.

I'm also not sure what to make of Helen, maybe she really was supposed to seem like a martyr in the literal sense of the word. She was almost too good for my taste.


message 20: by Meghan (new)

Meghan This is so far my favorite part of the whole book. I almost cried when Helen Burns died. And I love what they wrote on her tombstone. Other than that, I think Bronte could have stopped after Chapter 10. I'm not so much enjoying the rest of the book. Sorry - I'll be the lone dissenter of the group.


message 21: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) That is so funny, Meghan. These chapters were the slowest for me!


message 22: by Anna (new)

Anna (olive415) I hear you Sarah. It was like pulling teeth to get through this. I've read this book before and I know that I like it, but I find this front matter so hard to wade through.

The part that struck me most in this reading was how much Jane felt like her personality was being changed or held in check by both Helen and Miss Temple's presence. As a teenager I probably just dismissed this part, but as an adult now I thought that it was a really interesting look at the nature of love and relationships. I thought it showed how feeling loved and having someone, not necessarily a significant other, can really bring out a better/different side of a person.


message 23: by Meghan (new)

Meghan I think that's so strange. Because to me, the first 10 chapters have the only interesting people in the whole book. You may hate the Reeds and Brocklehurst but I found them wickedly wonderful and loved that they got their 'just desserts' in the end. It wouldn't have been so wonderful if they hadn't been so bad.

I really wanted to know more about Helen Burns. Why was she there? How did her family die? How did she get to have such a mature outlook on life? It just reminded me of kids with cancer. They're just so brave and kind hearted. Their positive outlook helps them keep moving forward when otherwise you just want to curl up.


message 24: by Arielle (new)

Arielle | 120 comments "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."
Wow, what a quote.
It's pretty impressive that Bronte can entirely manipulate how I'm feeling about the characters so easily. I for one, find them really easy to completely buy into.
I still can't figure out the answer to Alison's question on the other thread: what fairy tale character does Brocklehurst remind you of? I can see a cartoon villian in my head, tall, gaunt, clad in black and with a twisty mustache, but I can't figure out what story he belongs in. Hmm...


message 25: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Exactly, Arielle!!!!!! I think he's from a Disney cartoon, but I can't place him.


message 26: by Anna (new)

Anna (olive415) To me he's kind of the archetype of the villain, as opposed to just one. He's kind of like the asylum keeper in Beauty and the Beast and the Bishop in Hunchback of Noter dame crossed with the wicked step mother in Cinderella.


message 27: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 197 comments That's what I kept picturing too, the asylum keeper from Beauty and the Beast! (who, incidentally, also reminds me of someone at work-but don't tell!)


message 28: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Maybe it's because I've seen the movie so many times but I kept picturing Alfred Molina's character the Comte de Reynaud from Chocolat. He and Brocklehurst are both darker characters, very stern and conservative. Or maybe I'm just not very creative and tend to recycle my villains! ;)


message 29: by Arielle (new)

Arielle | 120 comments Ah Ha! Asylum keeper meets Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons!


message 30: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Absolutely Bowler Hat guy from Meet the Robinsons! I thought that but didn't say it. That's exactly it.


message 31: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 74 comments When I picked this book up from the library, my favorite librarian said to stick with the book, even if the first chapters were slow. I didn't find them slow or tedious at all. I really enjoyed them. I'm a few chapters passed ten and I'm still enjoying the book. After the first couple pages I've just been soaring through. I picture Brockehurst as Gargamell(sp) on the Smurfs cartoon I used to watch as a kid.


message 32: by Cristalle (last edited Feb 15, 2008 09:16AM) (new)

Cristalle | 7 comments In my head, Brocklehurst is like Count Olaf from those Lemony Snicket books... Gargamel is a good one too!


message 33: by Arctic (last edited Feb 15, 2008 09:56AM) (new)

Arctic | 571 comments Ooh! both great comparisons! (love(d) your old lady avatar incidentally, Cristalle - very modern american gothic or something. edit: the new tatoo av is great too.)

Unfortunately I'm with Meghan on this book. I was really hoping to have started The Eyre Affair by now. I'm finishing up chapter 13 instead. It's been slow going.


message 34: by Shannon, the founder of fun (back from sabbatical) (new)

Shannon | 254 comments Mod
OMG - I just discovered how cool Bronte is. Once I got through chapter 10 I was hooked. I love Jane!


message 35: by Shannon, the founder of fun (back from sabbatical) (new)

Shannon | 254 comments Mod
Ok I really enjoyed this being carved into Helen's grave resurgam - which I had to look up and means - I shall rise again. I was totally thinking about what this could be foreshadowing and I'm excited about Jane really doing well.


message 36: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Oh Tiffany, how can you compare Brocklehurt to Comte de Reynaud?! I could never picture Brocklehurst lying in a window full of chocolate. (That was one of my favorite scenes, when he finally gives in.)

I do concur with Arielle. He definitely has that creepy Bowler Hat Guy feel.


message 37: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Hang in there Heather! I've only 180 pages left. I'm so mad at Penguin Classics though. I normally love footnotes because it helps me understand what the author is trying to get at. But this version completely spoiled the "mystery" 3 chapters BEFORE the book got to it. Talk about need for spoiler alerts. garumph.


message 38: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I hate that, Meghan. The endnotes of Northanger Abbey spoiled it for me too. But that wasn't even a mystery?

I think with some classics the editors assume everyone's familiar with the story. But you know what happens when you ass-u-me.


message 39: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Maybe Brocklehurst just needed a good chocolate binge to help him lighten up. ;)
The part where Brocklehurst was lecturing the girls about humility and sobriety reminded me of the scene where Reynaud is preaching to the congregation about abstinence and self-control. That’s where the similarity was for me between the two.


message 40: by Dini, the master of meaning (new)

Dini | 691 comments Mod
I didn't think the part when Jane was at Lowood was especially slow or even the opposite, but I kind of expected the story of her childhood to last a little longer. I knew the core of the novel would take place during her life as a governess, but I didn't expect it to begin as early as Chapter 11 -- well, it feels early to me as the book has 38 chapters.

I also think Helen Burns was too good to be true. At first I actually thought she was quiet and submissive outside but rebellious inside, like a ticking bomb just waiting to explode. But of course her subsequent description and speech proved the opposite. I do love it that she provides moral encouragement for Jane -- even an angel like Helen acknowledged Mr. Brocklehurst's wrongs.

Helen's speech often foretells her fate, e.g.: "Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness-- to glory?" It was rather obvious to me that she would die during the epidemic.

Meghan, Helen's positive outlook also reminded me of terminally ill children. I often hear stories about these kind of kids whose wisdom and maturity are well beyond their age.

Overall, I love it how Jane was afraid of living poorly during her stay in the Reeds' but changed her mind afterwards because only in Lowood she can get education, protection and companionship. "I would not now have exchanged Lowood with all its privations for Gateshead and its daily luxuries."

It seems I'm the slowest reader in here! Heh ;P


message 41: by Meghan (new)

Meghan ooohhh...fantastic conmparison Tiffany! Man, now I'm going to have to go read that book (yes, Chocolat is a book too) and then go get me some Johnny Depp in the movie version! heh


message 42: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Dini - Better to read slow and enjoy the book than rush through just so you talk about it and not really get into it. That's the great thing about here. You can post 10 months from now and people will still respond!


message 43: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Exactly, Meghan! This thread's going nowhere.


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