Posted by Helen on September 23, 1997 at 06:27:04:
In response to More about Helen Burns, written by Amy on September 22, 1997 at 16:31:26
] I guess Helen knew she wasn't going to live to adulthood. Sad, like Beth March.
Reading this is a very freaky experience ;-)
] I know she taught Jane some useful ways to think of her situation that probably got Jane through some rough times, but I'm like Jane in having trouble with turning the other cheek and can't help but agree with Jane's take on the world as I read some of the earlier dialogs between Jane and Helen.
] "But I feel this, Helen: I just dislike those who. whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who pu nish me unjustly. It is as natural as that I should lvoe those who show me affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved."
] "Heathens and savage tribes hold that doctrine, but Christians and civilized nations disown it."
] "How?" I don't understand."
] Me neither. The Christian doctrine of forgiveness eludes my grasp. Family members of Jeffery Dahmer's victims forgiving him on TV. I don't get it. Call me a heathen, I guess.
Jane does forgive later on, but it's not Helen Burns' rational principles which motivate her, she is more emotionally moved. I agree with Cassia: forgiveness is something you need to do for yourself, to move on from the past. But what prompts her to forgive Mrs. Reed is the realisation that this monster from her childhood is actually a pitiable old woman - something she recognizes in her early outburst before she leaves. Sometimes forgiveness - recognition that the wicked are in fact weak - is the best revenge.
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