"Jane Eyre" and A Picture of Dorian Gray's emphasis on individual morality.

Essay by jennabugUniversity, Bachelor's September 2005

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It is important to read Jane Eyre and A Picture of Dorian Gray in order to catch the subtle messages about the importance of individual morality.

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte provides readers with a message that morality is a manner of acting, rather than speaking. Bronte uses satire to illustrate how religion preached but not followed is useless. The first example of this comes while Jane is at Gateshead. "God will punish her: he might strike her dead in the midst of her tantrums" Bessie tells Mrs. Abbot, of Jane. The servants, and all the residents of Gateshead make empty judgments of Jane. Next, Mr. Brocklehearst provides a powerful example of preach devoid of practice. Mr. Brocklehearst is a hypocrite- living in luxury while forcing the residents of Lowood to lives simple "Christian" lives. Brocklehearst belittles and humiliates his students, all the time giving them lessons on the bible.

Jane is unable to find religion for herself at Lowood in the wake of such hypocrisies.

Helen Burns provides the first example of true Christian morality in Jane's life., for the first time. It is Helen's teachings that frame Jane's adult morality. Helen tells Jane to live a Christ like existence, and to be kind to those who are unkind to her (Bronte 55).While Jane does not immediately put this theory into practice in her adult life she finds herself facing rudeness and adversity and brushes it off gracefully. She does not get offended or flustered by Rochester's initial intimidation of her. She returns to Gateshead to sit by the bed of her cruel Aunt at her death. She has learned what it is to be truly moral and unselfish.

By learning this sort of purer morality, Jane is able to distinguish better what her own moral code is.