“Hush Hannah! …You have done your duty in excluding her, now let me do mine in admitting her.” Pg 297
St John is characterised at first through speech and he has a calm, benevolent register.
‘He was young, perhaps from twenty-eight to thirty – tall, slender; his face riveted the eye…classic nose….quite an Athenian mouth and chin…This is a gentle delineation, is it not Reader? Pg 305
Adult Jane flags up her own nostalgia and suspect narration in the eulogized description of St John. This contrasts with the more rugged description of Rochester. St John is the more classic English gentleman.
“You have never been married? You are a spinster?” “You are too inquisitive St John,” murmured Mary in a low voice.’
St John’s question to Jane are designed to restore her to her rightful origins, but perhaps St John is straying beyond a benevolent remit and demonstrating his unconscious desire for a wife, or hinting at his assessment of her.
‘As to Mr St John, the intimacy did not extend to him…he was comparatively seldom at home…devoted to visiting the sick and poor among the scattered population of his parish.’ ‘I believe you will accept the post I offer you.’ Said he.’Pg 313
St John remains an elusive figure; devout and loyal to his followers. Jane struggles to empathize entirely with him and finds his faith a little desperate and without true understanding or peace. St John is perfunctory, but generous in his offer of occupation and lodgings for Jane, which fulfils her young dream of independence. Jane is grateful, but reflective on how easy St John retreats to the parsonage.
‘I thank you for the proposal Mr Rivers, and I accept it with all my heart.’ Pg 314
St John is rewarded by Jane’s dutiful role empowering the dispossessed and counsels her.
‘I counsel you firmly to resist every temptation which would incline you to look back; pursue your present career steadily.’ Pg 319 ‘A year ago, I was myself intensely miserable because I thought I had made a mistake in entering the ministry; its uniform duties wearied me to death…I will overcome.’ Pg 320
St John’s revelation illustrates his humanity, but also the strength of his determination and faith, which shows a vocational discipleship.
‘I tasted her cup…there is an asp in the garland…while I love Rosamund Oliver so wildly…she would not make me a wife…’ ‘Reason and not feeling is my guide.’ Pg 332
St John can be considered the opposite to Mr Rochester, who seems to act more impulsively and on emotion, than the stoic St John.
‘Now I did not like this reader. St John was a good man, but I began to feel he had spoken truth of himself when he said he was hard and cold.’ Pg 347
Jane’s disappointment in the face of St John’s apathy
‘God and Nature intends you for a missionary’s wife. It is not personal…you are formed for labour, not for love.’
St John’s marriage proposal is a business transaction. It is impersonal and functional and so is Jane’s response.
‘He had forgiven me for saying I scorned him and his love, but he had not forgotten the words and as long as he and I lived he never would forget them’ Pg 363
St John is brusque and disappointed in Jane at best, and resolute and damning at worst. It shows the unequivocal side to his nature; unforgiving and determined.
‘ “St John, I am unhappy because you are still angry with me. Let us be friends.”‘ Pg 364
Jane applies rationale to try and win over a cousin that meant so much and gave so much to her.
‘ “Your words are such as ought not to be used: violent, unfeminine and untrue. They betray an unfortunate state of mind: they merit severe reproof.”‘ P 365
St John is damning of Jane’s vitriolic denial and he exhibits the disgust that might be typical of a Victorian gentleman in condemning Jane’s independence of spirit.
‘How St John received the news, I don’t know; he never answered the letter’
‘St John is unmarried. He will never marry now…I know that a stranger’s hand will write to me next, to say that a good and faithful servant has been called at length into joy of his Lord.’ pg 401
Jane fears St John will work himself to death, but takes comfort in his resignation and calling to devote himself to Christ. He matches Helen Burns in this regard.