How does Mr. Brocklehurst ill-treat Jane at Lowood School

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Jane Eyre is a notable literary work by Charlotte Brontë. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Jane Eyre.


How does Mr. Brocklehurst ill-treat Jane at Lowood School in “Jane Eyre”?


At Lowood School in “Jane Eyre” (1847) by Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855), Mr. Brocklehurst, the authoritarian and hypocritical headmaster, ill-treats Jane in several ways. This treatment makes her early experiences at the school difficult and miserable.

Humiliation and Allegation: Mr. Brocklehurst publicly humiliates Jane on her first day by accusing her of being a liar. He believes Jane is deceitful. He says that she is inherently untrustworthy.

Unjust Punishments: He subjects Jane and other students to harsh and unjust punishments for minor violations. When Jane’s friend, Helen Burns, accidentally drops her slate, he punishes both girls regardless of the unintentional mistake. He claims,

I see no occasion for falsehood,

Neglecting Basic Needs: Brocklehurst is known for providing insufficient living conditions for students. During an inspection, he rebukes Jane for her untidy hair and inadequate clothing. He declares,

This girl is… dirty… neglectful.

He fails to understand the financial limitations that Jane and other students face.

Religious Hypocrisy: Mr. Brocklehurst emphasizes a strict religious doctrine, but his actions do not align with his preaching. He advocates simplicity and self-denial while leading a luxurious life himself. Brocklehurst steals from the school’s funds. He even orders the girls’ hair to be cut off. He states,

Your hair must be cut off entirely.

Emotional and Physical Abuse: Brocklehurst believes in breaking the students’ spirits to make them humbler and more obedient. He neglects their emotional well-being and imposes physical hardships upon them. He proclaims, 

You have no business to take our books… to give yourself a consequence.

In summary, Mr. Brocklehurst ill-treats Jane at Lowood School by humiliating her, imposing unjust punishments, neglecting her basic needs, demonstrating religious hypocrisy, and subjecting her to emotional and physical abuse. These experiences shape Jane’s character and resilience, ultimately leading her to overcome the challenges and grow into a strong, independent woman.