How is poverty portrayed in Jane Eyre? How is poverty portrayed in Jane Eyre?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Not unlike Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte exposes one of the social institutions of the age and its ill treatment of the orphaned.  Her father, Patrick Bronte, was an Anglican minister and of a most charitable spirit that, too, concerned itself with the poor and needy. So, it is certainly understandable that she should convey the plight of the poor in the character of Jane Eyre.

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I have to support the other posters here. Jane, while she should have been taken care of, was forced to live in horrible conditions. After leaving Thornfield, she must find anyway she can to survive. For Jane, nothing is beneath her at this point in her life. Her poverty has overtaken her.

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Of course, Jane herself experiences poverty at various stages during this excellent novel. The most notable sections are when she is sent to school at Lowood and experiences the terrible living conditions there, including very poor quality food and also cold and exposure to disease. The second time she experiences poverty is when she flees Thornfield Hall after her abortive marriage day and is forced to beg.

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Verdie Cremin eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One very significant aspect of the portrayal of poverty in Jane Eyre is that Mr. Brocklehurst, a nominal Christian, is presented as a person who benefits from exploiting others.  In this respect, Jane Eyre resembles some of the poetry of William Blake, who also sometimes showed how hypocritical Christians benefitted from the poverty of others.  Of course, both Blake and Bronte admired people who genuinely lived their Christian faith.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Jane Eyre , we see poverty in several instances....

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