Tone Analysis of Jane Eyre
Mr. Brocklehurst is a condescending, judgmental hypocrite. His entire character is a weakness. Although he has a small part in the book he managed to poison Jane’s future with his unsympathetic treatment. The novel uses Jane's point of view, Mr. Brocklehurst's diction and intense foreboding imagery to create a pessimistic and grim view of any type of happiness Jane could ever have.
Jane's tone throughout the novel changes dramatically. When Jane meets Mr. Brocklehurst she describes him as large “harsh and prim” (31). Her initial assessment will prove to be correct. Mr. Brocklehurst has a personality that matches his solemn exterior. Jane worries that she will turn into an “artful, obnoxious child” (33) under his tutelage. He could have used his influence to calm the condescending Mrs. Reed but he only added coal to the fire of hatred she had for Jane by characterizing Jane as wicked.
Mr. Brocklehurst diction was condescending and uncompassionate towards the feelings of a young child. Upon learning that Psalms was not her favorite part of the Bible he tells her “that proves you have a wicked heart”(33). And even when she begins to cry at the hopelessness of her gloomy situation he presses on and tells her “deceit is, indeed, a sad fault in a child”(33). Although he purported to be a Christian he showed her no grace or thoughtful caring of her young age he only used his words to harm her further vowing to “mortify” her in the worldly sentiment of pride by making her wear plain long dresses like poor people.
The foreboding imagery Mr. Brocklehurst uses in his short time with Jane added to the grave and fearful future she could expect in his school. He tells her that liars “will all have their portion in the lake burning with fire and brimstone” (33). Mr. Brocklehurst is keen on telling Mrs. Reed that Jane's life will be “plain fare, simple attire and unsophisticated accommodations” (34). He went out of his way to explain how difficult Jane's life will be. As if arranging a depressing, desolate life would be something so horrible that Mrs. Reed must think it's a perfect place to unburden herself with an unwanted child.
Mr. Brocklehurst could have used his authority to help Jane in many different ways. He could've told Mrs. Reed that Jane was a perfectly normal lovely child, but he didn't. He went out of his way to showcase how he planned to torture Jane in the near future and for years to come and he couldn't have found a better audience. Mrs. Reed was desperate for Jane to suffer all the days of her life simply because she didn't like her. Although he was a small character Mr. Brocklehurst had a huge impact on the gloomy foreboding that awaited Jane in her future.