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Additional resources for Charlotte Brontë: The Novels
Her father sobbed, but she, I remarked, did not. Having put her down, he shook hands with the rest present, and departed. ' During an ensuing space of some minutes, I perceived she endured agony. She went through, in that brief interval of her infant life, emotions such as some never feel; it was in her constitution: she would have more of such instants if she lived. Nobody spoke. Mrs Bretton, being a mother, shed a tear or two. Graham, who was writing, lifted up his eyes and gazed at her. I, Lucy Snowe, was calm.
With Brocklehurst's frightening fangs, we have entered, teetering on the brink of comedy, the world of Little Red Riding Hood, in which Brocklehurst plays the Wolf-Granny. At this point he Characterisation 43 becomes, briefly, a pantomime figure. We are tempted to laughter as, indeed, an older Jane might be; but that does not make him any the less frightening for the immature Jane. Jane does not have the advantage of meeting Brocklehurst when she is older, and in this respect, her reactions to him are very different from her feelings towards Mrs Reed, whom she finds it possible to pity when she visits her later in her last days.
The periphrastic description of their behaviour as 'a course of proceeding' hints at its waste of lavished energy, while the parallel of the weaver at his loom reminds us that the weaver differs from the curates in producing something useful at the end of his labours. The most direct blow against the curates is struck in the middle of the last paragraph. The parallel sentence structure of 'It is not friendship ... It is not religion .. ' highlights the conclusive point: 'theology they may discuss occasionally, but piety - never'.