Mr. Brocklehurst is creepy, and that's all there is to it. I mean, come on, dude -- that's how you speak to a child? Try to scare her into obedience, give her tracts about children you identify with her getting sent to Hell, and then tell her stories about unctuous little yes-men who know how to weasel two treats out of you by telling you what you want to hear? Bleah.
I'm sure Mr. Brocklehurst thinks he's helping. But he makes Austen's Mr. Collins look positively charming and intelligent, doesn't he?
Okay, anyway, what I like best about this chapter is that Jane finds the courage to stand up to her aunt. Twice. Yes, her aunt is in authority over her, and we should respect our parents or others God has placed over us. But I don't think Jane is being disrespectful in this chapter so much as trying to defend herself the best she can. She appeals to her aunt's conscience first, asking her what Uncle Reed would say if he were alive. But after hearing Aunt Reed denounce her to Mr. Brocklehurst most maliciously, ten-year-old Jane feels she must defend herself. Is she more passionate than strictly necessary? Yes. But she's ten, and about to be sent to her doom at Mr. Brocklehurst's school. If not excusable, I think her passion is at least understandable.
(Incidentally, Mrs. Reed is my age. I now loathe her even more.)
Favorite Lines: You think I have no feelings, and that I can live without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so (p. 45).
Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine (p. 49).
Possible Discussion Questions: How do you view Jane's outbursts toward her aunt?
Do you agree with Bessie that if you dread someone, they'll dislike you?