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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 29

Summary

Jane remains ill in bed for a few days. Eventually, she is able to dress and go downstairs to the kitchen. She finds Hannah, the servant, stemming gooseberries and offers to help her. Since Hannah has spent a long time with the family, Jane is sure that she must be a very loyal hand. Hannah thanks her for the compliment and apologizes for her previous behavior. Jane merely says that it is not a crime to be poor. Thus she manages to make friends with Hannah.

Jane learns from Hannah that the house is known as Marsh End or Moor House, and that it has belonged to the Rivers for many generations. Hannah tells Jane that St. John Rivers is a parson at Morton and that his two sisters are both governesses. All of them, she points out, are fond of reading, just as their mother was. Their father died of a stroke three weeks ago. Now, they have come home to spend a few weeks together on account of his death.


When St. John and his sisters return from a walk, Jane joins them in the parlor for tea. She finds St. John to be a presentable young man who speaks little. He asks Jane about her past. She briefly tells him about her life, avoiding any reference to Rochester. She begs them to help her find work. She still does not reveal her true identity. St. John asks her to stay at Marsh End with them.

Notes

This chapter introduces the members of the Rivers household. Mary is kind but not as learned as Diana. St. John is handsome and reserved. Of the three, Diana is the most loving and friendly. Diana is an idealized version of Jane: quiet, spiritual and self-composed. All three members of the Rivers household have a sense of direction as to the professions they want to pursue. This is due largely to their father, who used to caution them to provide for themselves.

Hannah is initially suspicious of Jane but later on takes a keen interest in her. The distance Jane has traveled from her Gateshead Hall days is evident in her reply to Hannah, who reproaches her for her poverty. Jane, who had once identified poverty with degradation and had refused to go live with her "poor" Eyre relations, now knows that poverty can be respectable.

Jane quickly recognizes the main characteristic of St. John Rivers' conduct: the lack of any natural warmth in all that he does. Jane believes that she can hide her identity from him. But it will be easy for St. John to determine who she is because she has revealed her connection with Lowood.

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