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In Jane Eyre, what are Helen Burns’s personality traits?

AI Generated Answer

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Helen Burns, a character in Charlotte Brontë's "Jane Eyre," is portrayed with distinctive and memorable personality traits that significantly influence the protagonist, Jane. Helen is characterized primarily by her strong sense of morality, deep spirituality, and remarkable stoicism. Here are some key aspects of her personality:

  1. Patience and Stoicism: Helen endures hardship and mistreatment with a calm and accepting attitude. She believes in bearing suffering silently and with dignity, which contrasts sharply with Jane's more passionate and sometimes rebellious nature. Helen's approach to life's challenges is encapsulated in her advice to Jane to learn to endure quietly.

  2. Intellectual and Thoughtful: Helen is intelligent and well-read, often engaging in discussions about religion and morality. Her thoughtful nature allows her to provide Jane with guidance and to argue her points with maturity beyond her years.

  3. Spiritual and Pious: One of Helen's most defining traits is her deep Christian faith. She trusts in God's plan and often discusses the importance of forgiveness and the afterlife. Her spirituality is a source of comfort and strength to her, and it influences her perspective on life and death.

  4. Compassionate and Kind-hearted: Despite her own troubles, Helen is always considerate of others. She shows kindness to Jane and the other girls at Lowood School, often offering them comfort and wisdom. Her compassion extends even to those who mistreat her, as she consistently advocates for forgiveness over resentment.

  5. Resigned to Fate: Helen accepts her life and eventual early death with resignation, influenced by her religious convictions. She does not rail against the injustice she faces but instead finds peace in her belief that a better life awaits her beyond death.

Through Helen Burns, Brontë explores themes of suffering, faith, and endurance, making Helen a pivotal figure in Jane's early life and development. Her traits and the lessons she imparts have a lasting impact on Jane's character and moral outlook.

Expert Answers

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The generated response correctly identifies the major personality traits of Helen Burns in Jane Eyre. Helen is indeed patient, intellectual, pious, compassionate, and accepting of whatever life and death may throw at her because of her strong faith.

You might also think about the way Helen’s character affects Jane. Jane has never met anyone like Helen before. She has never seen such a collection of traits in a human being. Remember, of course, that Jane has not met many people and must base her ideas largely on what she has seen of her aunt and cousins. Helen is the polar opposite, and she opens up Jane’s world, giving her a whole new vista of what a human being can be like.

Jane learns to imitate Helen in many ways, for she admires and loves her deeply. You might think about how Helen’s influence affects Jane as the latter grows and faces challenges. Jane, too, develops a great patience and piety as well as a strong faith and a commitment to doing what is right no matter how hard that may be.

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