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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 7

Summary

The first term at Lowood is a period of physical hardships for Jane. However, Jane is more concerned about adjusting to new rules and tasks. The severity of the winter makes it impossible for the girls to venture beyond the garden walls. Their clothing is inadequate, and their hands and feet are covered with chilblains. Most of them also suffer from under nourishment.

Sundays are the worst days. Every week on this day, daring the frosty wind, they are made to walk two miles to Brocklebridge Church and back. The two teachers and students have to endure two services through the biting cold weather and are rewarded with only a little food. However, Miss Temple makes an effort to boost their morale.

Jane has been dreading Brocklehurst's arrival all along. He arrives at Lowood for an inspection. He reprimands Miss Temple for pampering the girls. He proclaims that their bodies should be starved so that their souls can be saved. He even wants the girls' hair to be cut off. However, his own family members project an image far different from that which he preaches. They are elaborately dressed in velvet, silk, furs, plumes and false curls.


In an attempt to conceal her face with a slate, Jane accidentally drops and breaks it. Brocklehurst suddenly notices her and warns the teachers against her deceitful nature. He places her on a stool as an example of a naughty child who should be ostracized.

Notes

The first section of this chapter is devoted to an account of Jane's hardships in the first three months of her life at Lowood. Apart from the prison-like existence at Lowood, with its poor food and routine labor, the children are subjected to the difficulties of a severe winter.

During Mr. Brocklehurst's visit to the school, the readers get a glimpse of one important aspect of his character, namely, his hypocrisy. He is seen lecturing to the pupils and the staff, including Miss Temple, on the virtue of grim poverty, unrelieved by any natural pleasures. One cannot fail to notice the power of money in these scenes. Brocklehurst is quite ready to bully Miss Temple because she is a paid employee. The reader can also sense the violence of Charlotte Bronte's hatred of hypocrisy. This vice is embodied by Brocklehurst. He lectures like a philosopher but lives as a selfish man. While he preaches the value of Christian sacrifice, he is somehow unaware of the extremely fashionable way that his wife and daughters dress.

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