Jane Eyre Contents
- Social / political context
- Educational context
- Religious / philosophical context
- Literary context
- Note on chapter numbering
- Volume 1 / Chapters 1 - 15
- Volume 1: Dedication and Preface
- Volume 1, Chapter 1
- Volume 1, Chapter 2
- Volume 1, Chapter 3
- Volume 1, Chapter 4
- Volume 1, Chapter 5
- Volume 1, Chapter 6
- Volume 1, Chapter 7
- Volume 1, Chapter 8
- Volume 1, Chapter 9
- Volume 1, Chapter 10
- Volume 1, Chapter 11
- Volume 1, Chapter 12
- Volume 1, Chapter 13
- Volume 1, Chapter 14
- Volume 1, Chapter 15
- Volume 2 / Chapters 16 - 26
- Volume 3 / Chapters 27 - 38
Volume 1, Chapter 9
Synopsis of Volume 1, Chapter 9
As winter gives way to spring, conditions at Lowood seem to improve, but then the school is struck by an epidemic of the deadly typhus. Many girls die, but Jane remains fit and enjoys the relaxed regime while the staff are busy nursing the sick. Helen Burns is also ill, but with tuberculosis, and she finally dies in Jane's arms.
Commentary on Volume 1, Chapter 9
fog-bred pestilence … breathed typhus through its crowded schoolroom and dormitory Typhus epidemics were not uncommon in the nineteenth century and were especially lethal in closed communities, such as that of Lowood School. At this time, typhus was thought to be spread by a miasma, a kind of cloud of disease: hence the use of the term ‘fog-bred'.
the drug and the pastille Typhus would be treated with aromatic medication and the school is fumigated by burning pastilles giving off aromatic smoke.
going to God Helen regards her death as the last part of her journey to God. Compare her earlier comments on the subject, especially what she says about the return of the spirit to its Creator: see Going deeper: Volume 1, Chapter 6
fifteen years … Resurgam (Latin) I will rise again: a reference to Helen's belief in Resurrection and the afterlife. Jane erects the stone when she has been married to Rochester for about five years.
- A deadly epidemic brings about a change at Lowood:
- What might this tell us about the way in which the novel is constructed?
- See Development of the narrative.
- To what extent is Jane able to accept Helen Burns as an example of the way she should live her own life?
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