Charlote Bronti?? in her romantic novel Jane Eyre presents factual information and attitudes toward education in the19th century England. As far as is known, during this period people experienced the harmful effects of severe class division typical of the era. At all levels of society boys and girls were taught separately. The children of poor or workingclass families were taught in local schools and the children of upper and upper-middle-class families were enrolled in exclusive private schools (known as public schools).
Additionaly, young children in upper-class and upper-middle-class families – both boys and girls – often received their earliest education from governesses. In other words, before 1870, education was largely a private affair. Throughout the novel, we can explore Jane’s own education at one of the Victorian charity school , her work in education at one of the local school, her position as a governess and beneficial consequences of the education also.
The Lowood School for girls, portrayed in this novel, can be described as one, which curriculum was designed particularly to train children to a lower-middle class occupation, such as becoming a governess or a school teacher, unlike private schooling for upper-class girls, which focused much more on acting like a lady. Education there was not concerned at all with the abilities and talents of individual students. They were all taught strictly the same things to give them the kind of education that would prepare them for their limited future job options.
Pupils were rewarded and moved up in the class when they did well, and they were punished if they didn’t learn. Moreover, pupils were expected to memorize many facts in order for learning to take place. The novel portray the girls of Lowood being forced to recite facts they were to have memorized, reflecting the Victorian teaching methods of memorization through repetition and testing. Furthermore, Charlotte Bronte is using Lowood school as an example of how terrible and unhealthy boarding schools could be and to demonstrate the need for change.
Lowood is portrayed as extremely bad in terms of sanitation, nutrition. As Jane says “keen appetites of growing children, we had scarely sufficient to keep alive a delicate invalid. ” (62). Moreover, life at school is strict, discipline harsh, the philosophy behind it class-bound, Calvinistic, and hostile to all independence of thought and action. The head master, Mr Brocklehurst, controls the regime of punishment which amounts to sadism, and he is followed in this by the worst of the teachers (Miss Scatcherd) and silently opposed by the best (Miss Evans).
However, once Mr. Brocklehurst’s authority was reduced and the girls at Lowood benefited from healthier conditions, Jane becomes rather satisfied with the school. She says “I had the means of an excellent education placed within my reach; a fondness for some of my studies, and a desire to excel in all, together with a great delight in pleasing my teachers, especially such as I loved… “(88). As I mentioned above, many of the rich young children were privately tutored at their homes by governesses. In 19th century England, being a governess was one of the few occupations considered suitable for an unmarried middle-class woman.
In this novel Jane Eyre secures a job as governess to the lovely French girl named Adi??le . Jane Eyre taught her French, music, drawing and other subjects. Lessons came from what Jane had learned from Lowood School. Furthermore, as a governess she rarely received any formal instruction regarding teaching or curriculum. Even within the schoolroom, Jane Eyre and Adele were utterly alone. Despite governess’ circumstancing not receive many teaching resources, she gives a good education to Adele. Jane tries to assess Adele’s individual talents and subjects where she struggles and teaches her accordingly.
Nevertheless, the reader can also discover that other children were not encouraged to respect their governess and so discipline was sometimes impossible; as Amy Eshton says “Louisa and I used to quiz our governess too; … we might do what we pleased-…… she would give us anything we asked for”(177 ). Jane Eyre’s position as a country teacher, allows the reader to discover the educational situation at local schools of the Victorian Era.
After discovering Jane’s true identity, her distant relative St. John invites Jane to work at Morton’s local school: “In the village school I found you could perform well, punctually, uprightly, labour uncongenial to your habits and inclinations; you could win while you controlled. In the calm with which you learnt you had become suddenly rich,.. “(399). It was Jane’s dream since she was a child to set up and run her own school and now she was given the chance to do so. She becomes the schoolmistress and a resident at a school in Morton. There Jane had 20 scholars and that enabled her to spend more time with each student, and every student could receive work appropriate for his own age and ability.
There ” Jane taught the elements of grammar, geography, history, and the finer kinds of needlework”( 355). However, she resolves to help her students who, while not orphans, are poor and largely uneducated. Nevertheless, at the very beginning, Jane was bored because she had far more talent than her position allowed her to apply. The scholars seemed her hopelessly dull, but soon she found out that she was mistaken: “… I discovered amongst them not a few examples of natural politeness, and innate self-respect, as well as of excellent capacity…. ” (362).
Soon Jane took great delight in her work and started liking her students, by saying:” I must not forget that these coarsely-clad little peasants are of flesh and blood as good as the scions of gentlest genealogy; and that germs of native excellence, refinement, intelligence, kind feeling, are as likely to exist in their hearts as in thoser of the best-born. My duty will be to develop these germs” (355). Thereafter, Jane was treated respectfully by her pupils and their parents. Charlotte Bronte, in her novel, also shows the beneficial consequences of the education.
Even as a child, Jane comes to realise that the importance of an education is a unique thought for her time, since she was not a rich girl. She has an interest in getting an education, going away to school. Being a child, Jane is very fond of her books, reading the ‘Berwick’s History of British Birds’. She also learns from looking at the pictures, by what goes on and lead her to believe mysterious things go on. Later, education was a ticket to break free from the expectations of a lower-class person in England during the Victorian period.
Obviously, Jane herself spends most of her life, as portrayed in the novel, in the English education system, first as student and later as teacher. Actually, one of the most famous Victorian novelists, Charlotte Bronte, focused in a larger part of her novel on the brutality and consequences of Victorian education. The novel transports readers into the Victorian time education system and allow them to see how ineffective, discriminatory Lowood school for girls was. Many teachers of Lowood School were strict disciplinarians and corporeal punishment was considered acceptable.
Students were punished for varying offenses. Moreover, individual learning differences were largely ignored in favor of forcing upon students the monotonous and rigorous task of memorizing a huge amount of facts. Moover , Bronte’s Jane Eyre portrays the governess’ situation and presents education for poor pupil at school in Morton . In fact, the reader also can find out there that, without education nothing was expected of women in the Ninetheens century England. A narrowness of education resulted in narrowness of experience, outlook, and life.