I need help with an essay I'm writing about the concept of 'Christian duty' in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The concept of 'Christian duty' in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is complicated by there being several major and conflicting approaches to this idea in 19th century Anglicanism. The first approach, emphasized by the High Church party, followed some of the ritual requirements of the Mosaic laws, especially those pertaining to sacraments, marriage, and observing the Sabbath. The Evangelical party was concerned with obeying the moral precepts of the Old Testament, thus Sabbath and marriage laws, but was less sacramentalist and more concerned with good works; both shared a concern with regulation of outward life. The main difference between these two parties was that the Puseyites sought for guidance in ecclesiastical tradition and the Evangelicals were a "religion of the heart" seeking inspiration mainly in their own "private judgements" about Scripture and inner emotional certainty. Jane Eyre represents a romantic extreme of the evangelical party as religion of the heart, defining duty in terms of her own private judgements, whereas the school and Reed family display a different facet of the Evangelical movement, more heavily Calvinist, and more reliant on conventional judgements.


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