Jane Eyre: Novel Summary: Chapters 5-6
Chapter 5: On the morning of the nineteenth Jane is ready early for her carriage ride to Lowood. She does not wake Mrs. Reed or her children, as the night before Mrs. Reed had told her that there was no need for it. Jane is too excited to eat, and Bessie walks her to the coach stop. On the coach ride they pass through many towns, and when they stop for dinner, Jane again has no appetite. When they reach Lowood, Miss Miller and a woman who impresses Jane quite a bit welcome Jane. Jane is taken into a large room with about eighty girls ranging in age from nine or ten to twenty. She cannot eat much, and is then put to bed with Miss Miller.
When Jane is awaken the next morning by a bell, all of the girls are up and dressing and washing in the basins, although it is not yet dawn. The Bible is read, and when breakfast comes, Jane is very hungry because she had eaten so little the day before. The porridge is burned, and all of the girls can eat hardly any of it. The girls then go into the schoolroom where they are separated into classes. Jane finds out that the woman who so impressed her the day before is named Miss Temple, and that she is the superintendent of Lowood. She tells the girls that she has ordered bread and cheese for them since they could not eat their breakfast, and when the other teachers look at her with surprise, she says that she will take responsibility for it.
When talking to a girl later at break time, Jane learns that Lowood Institution is a charity school, and that all of the girls there have lost one or both parents. Mr. Brocklehurst is the treasurer and manager of the Institution, and Miss Temple has to answer to him for all of the food and clothes. Jane also learns who each of the teachers are, and after dinner, they go back to the schoolroom. Jane is surprised to see how calm her new friend is when she is made to stand in the middle of the room as punishment for something. Jane feels as if she would cry if it happened to her.
Chapter 6: The next day the girls get up and dress, but there is no washing, as the water in the basins had frozen overnight. It is very cold in the school, and when Jane gets her porridge, while it is not burnt, it is a small portion. Jane is enrolled in the fourth class, and at first finds it hard, as she is not used to learning by heart. Later when she is sewing, she notices that her new friend is under constant observation by the teacher, and is then hit with a bunch of twigs on her neck. During the play hour Jane finds her friend, whose name she learns is Helen Burns. Jane tells her that she would not be able to take the teachers' punishments so quietly, but Helen tells her that they are only trying to correct her faults, and that they should return good for evil, as the Bible says. They talk more of the teachers, and Jane tells Helen of her sufferings at Gateshead.