Jane Eyre in Flash Fiction Chapter 4
How I met Mr Brocklehurst
November, December, and half of January passed away. Christmas and the New Year had been celebrated at Gateshead with the usual festive cheer; presents had been interchanged, dinners and evening parties given, but from every enjoyment I was, of course, excluded.
On the 15 of January I was called to the breakfast room to meet a visitor.
‘What is your name?’ The tall man with the large eyes and grim face asked.
“Jane Eyre, sir.”
‘How old are you?’
‘Are you a good child?’
My aunt shook her head. ‘The less said on that subject the better, Mr. Brocklehurst.’
‘Do you know where the wicked go after death?’ he asked.
‘They go to hell,’ was my answer.
‘And what is hell? Can you tell me that?’
‘A pit full of fire.’
‘And should you like to fall into that pit burn forever?’
‘What must you do to avoid it?’
‘I must keep in good health, and not die.’
He looked displeased. ‘Do you say your prayers night and morning?’
‘Do you read your Bible?’
“Do you read the psalms?”
“They are not interesting.”
Mr Brocklehurst gasped. “That proves you are wicked.”
‘And deceitful,’ said my aunt. ‘May I depend upon this child being received as a pupil at Lowood to be to be brought up in a manner suiting her prospects and to be made useful and to be kept humble.’
He nodded. ‘You may.’ Then he turned to me. ‘Here is a book entitled the ‘Child’s Guide,’ read it carefully. There is an account of the awfully sudden death of Martha, a naughty child addicted to falsehood and deceit.’
When he left, knowing I would soon be leaving, I told my aunt how I felt. ‘I will never come to see you when I am grown up; and if anyone asks me how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserable cruelty.’
The fourth chapter of Jane Eyre introduces Mr Brocklehurst, a clergyman and fanatical christian who is the supervisor of Lowood Institution for Orphaned Girls. we will see as the novel progresses how he mistreats the girls at the boarding school.
This chapter shows ten-year-old Jane to be sure of herself and eloquent enough to maintain a lively discussion with Brocklehurst and tell her aunt exactly what she thinks of her.
The reader has no inclination to feel sorry for this girl, who has a strong, principled character, and although she is still a child who needs to learn to control her temper, we know that she will survive whatever ordeals she will encounter at Lowood.
If you check out this page of the British Library you can see a photograph of Charlotte Bronte’s handwritten manuscript of Jane’s conversation with Mr Brocklehurst.
The summary is based on the free ebook by planet books which you can find here.
I’ll be posting a chapter of Jane Eyre in flash fiction every Friday. If you’re wondering why, read all about it here.
If you’d you’d like to Reread Jane Eyre with me, visit my blog every Friday for #JaneEyreFF posts.
See you next week for chapter 5!
Images from Pixabay