Volume 1, Chapter 8

Synopsis of Volume 1, Chapter 8

Jane is comforted by Helen, and Miss Temple summons them both to her room for tea. Jane listens with delight to the educated conversation between Helen and the teacher. When they return to the dormitory, Helen is punished for untidiness. Miss Temple writes to Mr Lloyd, who confirms that Jane is not a liar, and she is exonerated before the whole school. Jane resolves to apply herself to her school work.

Commentary on Volume 1, Chapter 8

sovereign hand created your frame Helen refers to God. Compare Brocklehurst's comments on Jane's appearance in the previous chapter: see Going deeper: Volume 1, Chapter 7.

separation of spirit from flesh ... a full reward Helen frequently refers to death and her belief in the afterlife when her faith will be rewarded in Heaven. Jane always finds it hard to share Helen's views and places much more importance on the pleasures and rewards of earthly life.

nectar and ambrosia In Greek mythology, the drink and food of the gods.

Virgil Publius Virgilius Maro (70-19 BCE) was the great Roman poet who wrote the Aeneid, an epic poem about the Trojan Wars.

my organ of veneration See the explanation of phrenology in Going deeper: Volume 1, Chapter 5.

Photo by Yoavlemmer, available through Creative Commonsphylactery A small box (usually made of wood or leather) containing a paper with a verse from the Bible and bound to the left arm or forehead by Jewish men during prayer. Orthodox Jews still wear them.

the leaning tower of Pisa Completed in 1173 as the bell tower for the nearby cathedral of this city in Northern Italy, the tower began to lean almost immediately because of the sandy subsoil on which it was built, and is now about 5 cm out of the vertical.

the Barmecide supper The reference is to a story in the Arabian Nights Entertainment (see Volume 1, Chapter 4). Barmecide was a prince who served a beggar a series of empty plates, claiming that they held a delicious feast; the beggar enjoyed the joke. Here, it is an ironic comment on the poor quality and small quantity of the food at Lowood.Aelbert Cuyp

Cuyp-like groups of cattle Albert Cuyp (1620-91) was a Dutch painter famed for landscapes, which often contain groups of cattle grazing or drinking.

‘Better is a dinner of herbs .. and hatred therewith' Proverbs 15:17. This quotation prepares the reader for the final sentence of the chapter.

Investigating Volume 1, Chapter 8
  • What kind of role does Miss Temple begin to play in Jane's life?
  • How does this chapter contribute to the ideas of education developed in the novel? See Educational context.
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.