When you look at Jane Eyre , you might just see a long novel about a gal in an ugly gray dress whose life—a lot of the time—totally sucks. Whether she’s gagging on burned porridge at her horrible boarding school or discovering that her fiancé is already married to someone else or wandering around on the moor starving to death, life is often painful for Jane.
The thing is, it’s not painful to read about it. In fact, we start to get kind of obsessed with all the gory details after a while. Did Jane and Rochester's wedding really get interrupted at the altar just now? Why did Rochester decide to keep his wife locked in the attic? How many mistresses did he have? Is he Adèle's dad or not? Will Jane marry her cousin or agree to bigamy? Is there a ghost at Thornfield Hall... or is it a vampire?
The beautiful and kindly superintendent of Lowood. Miss Temple is presented as the foil to the cruel and stingy Mr. Brocklehurst and strives to treat the students at Lowood with as much compassion as possible, even providing them with extra bread and cheese to supplement their meager meals. Miss Temple is particularly kind to Jane and Helen, providing them with seedcake during their tea together and giving Helen a warm bed to die in. As one of the novel's surrogate maternal figures for Jane, Miss Temple demonstrates the lady-like demeanor and inner strength that Jane wishes to possess as an adult.