Finally, finally, light enters the story. Whew!
Which is not to say that everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows for the rest of the book. There will be more unhappiness, I'm afraid -- of such is drama made. Stories where everything goes well are boring, right? (I need to remember that more often in my own writing. My inclination is to make things easy and happy for my characters, but then there's no real story!) Still, it's nice that the unremittingly awful part of her childhood has passed.
Anyway, chapter eight begins dismally enough, with Jane face-down on the floor, crying, feeling "crushed and trodden on" (p. 82). But in comes Helen Burns with food and cheer (and coffee). Jane doesn't want the food, but she is overjoyed to learn that most of the people at Lowood don't like or respect Mr. Brocklehurst and are not inclined to believe him. What comfort!
And then Miss Temple takes both girls to her own quarters which look, if you can believe it, cheerful! Something cheerful within Lowood! There is hope for the future. In fact, after some nice food and listening to Miss Temple and Helen Burns talk intelligently about things, Jane even gets a hug! By the end of the chapter, she says, "I would not now have exchanged Lowood, with all its privations, for Gateshead and its daily luxuries" (p. 89). What a difference some friends, the approval of her teachers, and the discovery of a talent for artwork have made!
Then her soul sat on her lips, and language flowed, from what source I cannot tell (p. 87).
...they spoke of books; how many they had read! What stores of knowledge they possessed! (p. 88).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Jane says, "if others don't love me, I would rather die than live -- I cannot bear to be solitary and hated." Do you agree with Helen that Jane thinks "too much of the love of human beings" (p. 83)?
Jane feared having Mr. Brocklehurst denounce her as a liar because she thought it would make her classmates and teachers despise her. Instead, it has the opposite effect. Does this strike you as being realistic or overly convenient?