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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 9

Summary

Lowood is beautiful in the springtime, and the hardships of winter are greatly reduced. However, typhus spreads through the school and infects over half the pupils. Classes are not held and the rules are relaxed. Miss Temple is entirely occupied attending the sick. Many girls die in the school and many others go home to die. Since there are only a few people to feed, there is finally an ample supply of food. Fear of infection keeps Mr. Brocklehurst and his family away from Lowood. Jane spends her time with another new friend, Mary Ann Wilson. Unfortunately, Helen is suffering from tuberculosis and is not allowed outside.


One day Jane finds the doctor's pony at the garden door. The nurse tells her that he has come to see Helen Burns. Jane feels a strong desire to see her friend and rushes to her bedside. Helen seems happy that she is going to God. The next morning Jane is found asleep with her arms around the dead Helen.

Notes

The chapter begins with the soothing effects of spring after the rigors of winter. Frost, snow and cutting winds are replaced by pleasant sunshine and colorful flowers. However, typhus fever also quickens with the spring and converts the boarding school into a hospital.

Jane enjoys the company of Mary Ann, but she is aware that this friendship lacks depth. By contrast, Jane's genuine love for Helen helps her to overcome her fears and to develop as a person. Jane chooses to remain with Helen at the time of her death. Helen endures her disease patiently and greets her death with equanimity. Jane, however, has her own doubts about the existence of God and of Heaven, that "region of happiness."

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