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Mr Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre

            Discuss Bronte's portrayal of the character of Mr Brocklehurst and how this reflects her views on the Evangelical religion and clergy.
             "I looked up he seemed to me a tall gentleman, but then I was very little; his features were large, and they and all the lines of his frame were equally harsh and prim." This detailed description of Mr Brocklehurst not only shows his outward appearance, but also matches his character. In this extract, even before conversation with him, Jane immediately gets a negative impression of him. His cold qualities seem inhumane and symbolise Bronte's views on Evangelism, "a black pillar the grim face at the top was like a carved mask". Mr Brocklehurst appears a very serious and stern character, because everything about him shows little emotion "two inquisitive looking grey eyes which twinkled under a pair of bushy brows, said solemnly in a bass voice." It is unusual that Bronte uses the verb "twinkled", which at face value seems the opposite to Brocklehurst's character, yet it shows that he gains joy from meeting a new pupil, and interrogating her in order to subdue her.
             As the extract continues, Mrs Reed explains to Mr Brocklehurst about Jane's apparently disturbing character, and he believes every word, "Sorry to hear it! She and I must have some talk." His character is in complete contrast to Jane's as he is very rigid and imposing. He tries to scare Jane, and indeed seems to succeed. He asks Jane many questions in a dramatic way so that she feels intimidated, "Do you know where the wicked go after death?" His questions are all based on religion, and Jane answers each one honestly, but this unfortunately is not what Brocklehurst wants to hear, "children younger than you die early". His faith seems all hell-fire and brimstone and he tries to oppress her. Jane sees what he is trying to do and becomes more uncomfortable, "continued my interrogator" the vocabulary used for this shows the effect Mr Brocklehurst had on Jane, as he indeed was an interrogator.

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