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Jane Eyre Reading Response

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Jane Eyre Reading Response

Brief Summary:

Chapter 29-33: Jane remains in a fatigued state of illness for three days until she gains the strength to walk. She speaks with the servant, Hannah, to learn more about the Rivers family and correct the original predisposition of Jane as a beggar. She learns that the Rivers family lost their fortune, leaving little to no inheritance for Diana and Mary. The reason that the Rivers are at Marsh End is because of Old Mr. River’s recent death and their agreement to unite as a family. Jane reveals more of her background information to the Rivers and accepts St. John’s promise to help her find work if she will depart. Jane becomes healthy enough to accompany Mary and Diana on their errands, learning that they have many common interests. St. John has not had the same bond with Jane as she has had with his sisters, which is likely due to his cold, though kind, personality. St. John finds a teaching position for Jane at a newly established school for girls. Jane accepts, but St. John reveals his inner restlessness against the monotonous position, as well as predicts Jane’s similar restlessness. He later returns with a letter stating their uncle John has died, and left his fortune to an unknown relative. In the following days, Jane left for Morton to pursue the school position, Mary and Diana fled to a distant city, and Mr. Rivers and Hannah went to the parsonage. At Morton, Jane reluctantly befriends the school children and the school’s benefactor Miss Oliver. Jane discovers that Mr. Rivers and Miss Oliver may fancy each other, so she inquires St. John about a painting of the heiress. He expresses his longing for her, but that his promise to remain faithful to God supercedes emotion. After explaining that their marriage would have never prospered, Mr. Rivers notices something on a piece of paper, rips it off, and promptly leaves. The following day, he returns to reveal that he learned Jane’s true name and that they are consequently related through Uncle John. Not only that, but Jane is now an heiress of 20,000 pounds. She resolves to have it split equally among herself and three cousins.

Chapter 34-37: As Christmas approaches, Jane decides to prepare the Moor House for Mary and Diana’s arrival. She has everything ready by Thursday, but when they arrive, all was happy with the new arrangements except Mr. Rivers. Over the next couple days, St. John reveals with the absolute sincerity that Miss Oliver is engaged to Mr. Granby, an estimable resident. He is not particularly upset by the notion, therefore his plans to depart from England remain unchanged. He convinces Jane to stop learning German, and instead learn Hindustani, so that they could mutually benefit from the learning experience. One day, the two of them go for a walk, and at the rest-stop, St. John compels Jane to be his missionary wife. She asks for time to think about it, but ultimately replies affirmatively, with the condition that they go to India as siblings, not a married couple. A gruelling week passes by without Jane’s full approval. When Jane is asked once more, she hears Rochester’s voice call her away. This gives Jane the strength to deny Mr. Rivers. The next morning, Jane finds a note from Mr. Rivers that he will return later that day, hopeful of her affirmative answer, but Jane decides to travel back to Thornfield Hall. There, she discovers that the entire house has become a charred ruin. She walks to The Rochester Arms and finds a host who reveals that Bertha burned down the property and commit suicide, meanwhile Rochester suffered greatly with an amputated arm and blinded eyes. Jane demands to see him at once, so she is taken by coach to Ferndean to find a damaged Rochester in the care of two servants, Mary and John. Rochester is in disbelief of Jane’s arrival, but she affirms it and soon enough become engaged. Three days later the two marry in a small ceremony. Diana and Mary return letters in celebration of Jane’s marriage, but St. John doesn’t write until much later. Two years into their marriage of ten years, Rochester gains sight in one of his eyes and is able to see their newborn. Adèle is sent to a better education and eventually becomes a fine young lady. Each of Jane’s cousins married except for St. John, who kept his faith with God until death.

Critical Commentary and Opinion: As the novel comes to a close, Bronte fulfills the difficult task of wrapping up every loose end in Jane Eyre, while keeping suspense and interest until the last words. Bronte utilizes a plot style that allows her to simultaneously create and end issues for Jane. By doing so, it leaves every issue with a clear resolution. This motif of returning back to the start of the issue and forgiving the situation occurs throughout the novel. Notably, Jane returns to forgive Mrs. Reed and reconcile with Georgiana and Eliza, thus resolving past familial problems. Likewise, Jane returns to Mr. Rochester after being inconsolably distanced from her romantic emotions. She learns the value of love while at Whitcross/Marsh End when she is nearly forced to marry St. John out of duty rather than emotion. Therefore, Jane achieves both a logical and passionate marriage with Rochester because they love each other and are no longer forbidden to marry (Bertha’s death).

Additionally, Jane has finally developed into a well-rounded, independent woman. Due to her life experiences and the lessons of love she has learned from them, Jane has created a life of her own, unlike those depicted in the Victorian Era. Jane has learned to the balance between passion and logic with the contrastive foils of Rochester and St. John. While Rochester was passionate, godless, and illogical, St. John was apathetic, devoutly religious, and stern in logic: The two are nearly complete opposites in every way. Jane learns the distinction between wild passion and love from Rochester, and she learns the difference between sacrificial service and love from St. John. Throughout the novel, Jane has learned about familial love, friendship, romantic love, love of God, and love for all, however it is her independence that ultimately allows herself to become the best at Christian love. She becomes accepting and forgiving of everyone she can by the end of the novel, and still she is free to do as she pleases.

I loved the suspense in this novel, even though it was a romantic novel with very few action scenes. The love story was an intriguing one, especially because of the development of characters and how they influenced Jane throughout the novel. In opinion, Jane is a great character for having such a tragic backstory and dynamic future ahead of her. Bronte definitely showed that women can become something more to life other than a subservient wife. However, I believe that it also demonstrated



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