Summary of Chapter 29
After she is taken in by the Rivers siblings, Jane spends three days recuperating in bed. On the fourth day, she feels well again and follows the smell of baking bread into the kitchen, where she finds Hannah. Jane criticizes Hannah for judging her unfairly when she asked for help, and Hannah apologizes. Hannah tells the story of Mr. Rivers, the siblings’ father, who lost most of the family fortune in a bad business deal. In turn, Diana and Mary were forced to work as governesses—they are only at Marsh End (or Moor House) now because their father died three weeks ago. Jane then relates some of her own story and admits that Jane Elliott is not her real name. St. John promises to find her a job.
Summary of Chapter 30
Jane befriends Diana and Mary, who admire her drawings and give her books to read. St. John, on the other hand, remains distant and cold, although he is never unkind. After a month, Diana and Mary must return to their posts as governesses. St. John has found a position for Jane, running a charity school for girls in the town of Morton. Jane accepts, but St. John presumes that she will soon leave the school out of restlessness, perhaps because he himself is quite restless. His sisters suspect he will soon leave England for a missionary post overseas. St. John tells his sisters that their Uncle John has died and left them nothing, because all his money went to another, unknown, relative. Jane learns that it was Uncle John who led Mr. Rivers into his disastrous business deal.
Summary of Chapter 31
At Morton, the wealthy heiress Rosamond Oliver provides Jane with a cottage in which to live. Jane begins teaching, but to her own regret, she finds the work degrading and disappointing. While on a visit to Jane, St. John reveals that he, too, used to feel that he had made the wrong career choice, until one day he heard God’s call. Now he plans to become a missionary. The beautiful Rosamond Oliver then appears, interrupting St. John and Jane’s conversation. From their interaction, Jane believes that Rosamond and St. John are in love.
Summary of Chapter 32
Jane’s students become more familiar and endeared to her, and Jane becomes quite popular among them. At night, though, she has troubling nightmares that involve Rochester. Jane continues to pay attention to the relationship between St. John and Rosamond, who often visits the school when she knows St. John will be there. Rosamond asks Jane to draw her portrait, and as she is working on it one day, St. John pays her a visit. He gives her a new book of poetry (Sir Walter Scott’s Marmion) and looks at the drawing. She offers to draw him a duplicate, and then boldly declares that he ought to marry Rosamond. St. John admits that he loves her and is tempted by her beauty, but he explains that he refuses to allow worldly affection to interfere with his holy duties. The flirtatious, silly, and shallow Rosamond would make a terrible wife for a missionary. Suddenly, St. John notices something on the edge of Jane’s paper and tears off a tiny piece—Jane is not certain why. With a peculiar look on his face, he hurries from the room.
Summary of Chapter 33
One snowy night, Jane sits reading Marmion when St. John appears at the door. Appearing troubled, he tells Jane the story of an orphan girl who became the governess at Thornfield Hall, then disappeared after nearly marrying Edward Rochester: this runaway governess’s name is Jane Eyre. Until this point, Jane has been cautious not to reveal her past and has given the Rivers a false name. Thus although it is clear that St. John suspects her of being the woman about whom he speaks, she does not immediately identify herself to him. He says that he has received a letter from a solicitor named Mr. Briggs intimating that it is extremely important that this Jane Eyre be found. Jane is only interested in whether Mr. Briggs has sent news of Rochester, but St. John says that Rochester’s well-being is not at issue: Jane Eyre must be found because her uncle, John Eyre, has died, leaving her the vast fortune of 20,000 pounds.
Jane reveals herself to be Jane Eyre, knowing that St. John has guessed already. She asks him how he knew. He shows her the scrap of paper he tore from her drawing the previous day: it is her signature. She then asks why Mr. Briggs would have sent him a letter about her at all. St. John explains that though he did not realize it before, he is her cousin: her Uncle John was his Uncle John, and his name is St. John Eyre Rivers. Jane is overjoyed to have found a family at long last, and she decides to divide her inheritance between her cousins and herself evenly, so that they each will inherit 5,000 pounds.
Summary of Chapter 34
Jane closes her school for Christmas and spends a happy time with her newfound cousins at Moor House. Diana and Mary are delighted with the improvements Jane has made at the school, but St. John seems colder and more distant than ever. He tells Jane that Rosamond is engaged to a rich man named Mr. Granby. One day, he asks Jane to give up her study of German and instead to learn “Hindustani” with him—the language he is learning to prepare for missionary work in India. As time goes by, St. John exerts a greater and greater influence on Jane; his power over her is almost uncanny. This leaves Jane feeling empty, cold, and sad, but she follows his wishes. At last, he asks her to go to India with him to be a missionary—and to be his wife. She agrees to go to India as a missionary but says that she will not be his wife because they are not in love. St. John harshly insists that she marry him, declaring that to refuse his proposal is the same as to deny the Christian faith. He abruptly leaves the room.
Summary of Chapter 35
During the following week, St. John continues to pressure Jane to marry him. She resists as kindly as she can, but her kindness only makes him insist more bitterly and unyieldingly that she accompany him to India as his wife. Diana tells Jane that she would be a fool to go to India with St. John, who considers her merely a tool to aid his great cause. After dinner, St. John prays for Jane, and she is overcome with awe at his powers of speech and his influence. She almost feels compelled to marry him, but at that moment she hears what she thinks is Rochester’s voice, calling her name as if from a great distance. Jane believes that something fateful has occurred, and St. John’s spell over her is broken.
Summary of Chapter 36
Jane contemplates her supernatural experience of the previous night, wondering whether it was really Rochester’s voice that she heard calling to her and whether Rochester might actually be in trouble. She finds a note from St. John urging her to resist temptation, but nevertheless she boards a coach to Thornfield. She travels to the manor, anxious to see Rochester and reflecting on the ways in which her life has changed in the single year since she left. Once hopeless, alone, and impoverished, Jane now has friends, family, and a fortune. She hurries to the house after her coach arrives and is shocked to find Thornfield a charred ruin. She goes to an inn called the Rochester Arms to learn what has happened. Here, she learns that Bertha Mason set the house ablaze several months earlier. Rochester saved his servants and tried to save his wife, but she flung herself from the roof as the fire raged around her. In the fire, Rochester lost a hand and went blind. He has taken up residence in a house called Ferndean, located deep in the forest, with John and Mary, two elderly servants.
Summary of Chapter 37
Jane goes to Ferndean. From a distance, she sees Rochester reach a hand out of the door, testing for rain. His body looks the same, but his face is desperate and disconsolate. Rochester returns inside, and Jane approaches the house. She knocks, and Mary answers the door. Inside, Jane carries a tray to Rochester, who is unable to see her. When he realizes that Jane is in the room with him, he thinks she must be a ghost or spirit speaking to him. When he catches her hand, he takes her in his arms, and she promises never to leave him. The next morning they walk through the woods, and Jane tells Rochester about her experiences the previous year. She has to assure him that she is not in love with St. John. He asks her again to marry him, and she says yes—they are now free from the specter of Bertha Mason. Rochester tells Jane that a few nights earlier, in a moment of desperation, he called out her name and thought he heard her answer. She does not wish to upset him or excite him in his fragile condition, and so she does not tell him about hearing his voice at Moor House.
Summary of Chapter 38
Jane and Rochester marry with no witnesses other than the parson and the church clerk. Jane writes to her cousins with the news. St. John never acknowledges what has happened, but Mary and Diana write back with their good wishes. Jane visits Adele at her school, and finds her unhappy. Remembering her own childhood experience, Jane moves Adele to a more congenial school, and Adele grows up to be a very pleasant and mild-mannered young woman.
Jane writes that she is narrating her story after ten years of marriage to Rochester, which she describes as inexpressibly blissful. They live as equals, and she helps him to cope with his blindness. After two years, Rochester begins to regain his vision in one eye, and when their first child—a boy—is born, Rochester is able to see the baby. Jane writes that Diana and Mary have both found husbands and that St. John went to India as he had planned. She notes that in his last letter, St. John claimed to have had a premonition of his own approaching death. She does not believe that she will hear from St. John again, but she does not grieve for him, saying that he has fulfilled his promise and done God’s work. She closes her book with a quote from his letter, in which he begs the Lord Jesus to come for him quickly.
Think of the ways in which characters here are foils (opposites) for previous characters and ultimately what Jane’s choice is. How does she describe her choice on 560? What does it all mean?
St. John is the opposite of Rochester. Rosamond is the opposite of Blanche and the opposite of Jane. The two sisters contrast Georgiana and Eliza. She is glad that she left Thornfield and values being a good, honest person above her passion for Rochester.
How are Diana and Mary Rivers contrasted with Georgiana and Eliza Reed? How is Jane’s relationship different with them?
Jane gets along well with them because they are more compassionate and selfless. They are not very wealthy and are not at odds with each other like Georgiana and Eliza were.
How is Rosamond Oliver (565) contrasted with Blanche Ingram?
Rosamond is like an angel and pure and not a gold digger. While both are pretty, Jane thinks that Rosamond is a good person but thinks that Blanche is not.
Although Jane does not make a decision yet about romantic relationships in her life, she does make an important financial decision. What does she decide to do with her inheritance? What is her reasoning and what does this demonstrate about her as a character? (603)
She divides the money between herself, St. John and the two sisters. This demonstrates that she is loyal to her family and cares for them unlike Mrs. Reed and her cousins. Her choice is one of her heart and her mind; it is the right thing and there is an emotional appeal
What is unique about Rochester?
Appearance: dark hair and eyes, rough, ugly, old
Religion: loose faith and morals
Rationale for love: he loves her spirit and doesn’t care about social class
Time period: Romantic (emotional, passionate)
What is similar between Rochester and John?
First discussions with Jane are about family/relations
Initially cold toward Jane
What is unique about St. John?
Appearance: handsome, blue eyes, light hair, young, tall
Religion: strict adherence to God/Church doctrine
Temperament: reserved, calm
Rationale for love: good match, within social class
Time period: Enlightenment (logical, realistic)
What is important about St. John’s homily?
Beautiful but profoundly sad
How is Jane Eyre a religious coming of age story?
Jane created a false idol in Rochester
Learns to pray in her own way (uses for like my/mine)
Is Jane almost convinced to marry St. John?
Yes, but then she hears Rochester calling for her
Earning a big inheritance gives Jane what?
Equalizes her and Rochester, gives her independence
What happens to Thornfield?
Thornfield becomes a ruin
Represented Rochester and his past/history with Bertha (Fire)
How does Rochester redeem himself?
By trying to save Bertha, could be punishment
What is the conversation between Jane and Rochester about?
She talks about St. John
? St. John is Apollo
? Rochester is Vulcan
? Jane has turned the tables on Rochester (Ingram Blanche)
? Bantering/jealousy games
What does Rochester liken himself to?
The blasted tree
What indicates that God sanctions the union?
What were some Paradise Lost references in the last chapter?
“Bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh”
“Apple of his eye”
What has Jane achieved by the end of the book?
Jane has financial and religious independence
Jane is taking care of him or she is in complete control of the relationship