How does Bronte use biblical references in Jane Eyre?

"One idea only still throbbed life-like within me - a remembrance of God: it begot an unuttered prayer... 'Be not far from me for trouble is near: there is none to help.'

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Jane’s exposure to religion and The Bible is not all positive.  When she reaches school, we see a hypocritical and cruel use of The Bible to scorn Jane.  When Mr. Brocklehurts interrogates Jane, he is basically looking for something to impeach her with.  When Jane tells him she does not like psalms, he has found it.

“That proves you have a wicked heart; and you must pray to God to change it; to give you a new and clean one: to take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (CH 4, enotes etext pdf p. 24).

Despite this negative association, Jane continues to draw comfort from The Bible.  She even considers marrying St. John.

It was at all times pleasant to listen while from his lips fell the words of the Bible: never did his fine voice sound at once so sweet and full—never did his manner become so impressive in its noble simplicity, as when he delivered the oracles of God. (p. 298)

At the time of your quote, Jane is at her lowest point.  She let her guard down, and fell in love.  She agreed to marry Rochester.  Then he betrayed her, because he was already married.  So she comforts herself by thinking of her relationship to God. 

It takes all of Jane’s strength to leave the only adult love she’s ever known, but she cannot become a mistress. Once again, Jane proves her integrity by not succumbing to Rochester’s offers. Brontë has Jane Eyre holding onto her sense of self here; Jane is afraid that if she were to become a mistress, she would turn into someone Rochester couldn’t respect. (enotes summary, Jane Eyre, ch 26-27)

Basically, it is a representation of Jane’s independence.  There is no one there to help her. She is all alone.  Jane feels so wronged by him that she retreats again to the idea that she is the only one who can help herself.

Read the full summary here:

Read a description of Jane’s character here:


REA. "Jane Eyre.", 2000. Web. 07 May 2012. <>.

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