by Charlotte Brontë
Character Role Analysis
Helen is Jane’s first real guide and mentor. As Jane’s peer, she first gets Jane’s interest because she’s studious and virtuous and doesn’t seem bothered by the injustices of Lowood. Helen is able to let injustice roll of her like water of a duck’s back, and Jane can’t understand why. Although Jane never really agrees completely with Helen’s "turn the other cheek" philosophy, Helen’s example shows her the wonders of education and the power of strong morality and religious faith.
We know it seems a little odd to consider Jane as her own guide and mentor, but in this novel that’s exactly what happens. Although Jane does find a few friends and mentors as a student at Lowood (Helen Burns and Miss Temple) and some friends at Moor House (Diana and Mary Rivers), for most of the novel, she relies entirely on herself for moral, spiritual, and practical guidance. Jane has to think up a plan to get a job all on her own; she has to figure out how to do that job on her own; she has to figure out how to conduct her romance with Rochester all on her own; and she has to decide whether to make a moral stand against his attempt at bigamy completely alone. Jane is her own moral touchstone most of the time, and that’s that.