Loss of a Friend

Lowood - She is dead. In the spring of Jane's first year at Lowood, her only friend, Helen Burns dies from Typhus. Jane Eyre is left alone once again to stick up for herself without aid or companionship. 

This is a critical moment for Jane Eyre. She has gone all of her life without a real friend up until now. Just when she thought her life was turning around, Burns was taken from her. "I really was devestated," Eyre said. "I can still remember those words she told me, 'If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.' I think that was one of the most inspiring things anyone had ever said to me."

From trivial things like explaining her outlook on life to supporting Eyre, Burns did it. Eyre said that one of the biggest things that she learned from her friend was her resiliency. "Helen just had this sort of attitude that she could withstand anything," Eyre said. "Like right after Burns knew all the material Miss Scratchered still yelled at her saying, 'You dirty disagreeable girl!' and then went to on to demean her cleanliness calling her 'slatternly.' Something she had no control over."

Although Jane Eyre never became heavily religious she still learned how inspired Burns was as a christian. Through Burns' christian ideals and Eyre's self advocating mentality the two formed bonds quickly. "You could definitely say I was inspired about her beliefs. After the torment I endured in my life, I don't know if I would ever believe in all that but she endured the hardships insisting that, 'Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it.'"

After Burns died from Typhus, Eyre wa somewhat lost. All of her inspiration seemed to go out like a light. "I couldm't really get along with her christian ideas after that. I don't really believe in anyone looking out for me now. Helen after all was the one that endured the most evil at Lowood and that didn't get her far. I'm glad that I advocated for myself and didn't wait for the world to change around me. Sometimes I think about her and I know I stayed at the school to honor her memory."

Jane Eyre learned many things at Lowood, from history to art and even French. The thing she learned the most came from Helen Burns and that was that life is so precious. Eyre attributes this lesson to the passage that states, "Why then would we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death so certain." 

Eyre said that she owes a lot to the words that Burns introduced into her life. Many of them helped take her life under her own grip and take it where she wanted to go. "Helen really was a joy in my life, perhaps one of the first," Eyre said. "I could only imagine what we could be capable of if she were still around today."