Thursday, 29 November 2007

Avoiding hell: theology with Jane Eyre

“Well, Jane Eyre, and are you a good child? [...] No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.

“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”

“A pit full of fire.”

“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”

“No, sir.”

“What must you do to avoid it?”

I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: “I must keep in good health, and not die.”

—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1848), chapter 4.

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