JE: Helen Burns
Posted by Cheryl on September 21, 1997 at 20:06:50:
OK, confession time. How many people cried the first time they read Jane Eyre and Helen died? I didn't on this read, but well remember my first read, picturing Jane asleep, her arms around the dead Helen. *sniff*
What a lot Helen gave to Jane in such a short time! The most important, to my mind, is a different view of religion that would carry her throughout her life, and act as an antidote to the hypocritical and supercilious Mr. Brocklehurst--yuck! Although I will always chuckle at Jane's solution to avoid hell "I must keep in good health and not die." ;-)
Helen opened Jane's mind to other possibilities in life, and gave her other means with which to cope. Jane would never have made it through her public humiliation without Helen's encouragement.
My edition has a footnote which reads:
Helen Burns is based on Charlotte Bronte's sister Maria. CB insisted that she was true-to-life, despite the pathos of her story, and even fell short of reality: "I abstained from recording much that I remember respecting her, lest the narrative sound incredible"
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