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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 35

Summary

St. John postpones his departure for Cambridge by a week. While he remains at Moor House, he makes Jane feel guilty for some wrong she has committed against him. He refuses even to be friendly with her. Seeing that Jane still nurtures a loving concern for Mr. Rochester, he feels he was mistaken in believing her to be one of those chosen by God to serve Him. Diana sympathizes with Jane on hearing her reasons for refusing St. John's proposal.

That evening St. John reads from the Bible and leads the women in prayers. He employs a kind of religious "hypnotism" on Jane to break down her resistance. Jane almost yields to him but is checked by what she thinks is Mr. Rochester's voice. She dismisses St. John and retires to her room to pray. It does not take her much time to reach a definite decision.


Notes

Jane's struggle is long and hard. It is no less intense than that symbolized by her life at Thornfield. Since providence has brought them together, it is difficult for Jane to be sure that it has not also intended her to be the wife of St. John. Only when St. John invokes God's name in support of a false ideal of marriage does the supernatural intervene. Here, providence speaks through the mysterious voice of Mr. Rochester, carried on the wind. The chapter ends with Jane kneeling to pray, "a different way to St. John's, but effective in its own fashion." Undoubtedly, nothing but the voice of Mr. Rochester combined with the voice of the Creator could call Jane back to the world of Thornfield. Jane seems to "penetrate (detect) very near a Mighty spirit" and her soul rushes out in gratitude at His feet.

The sun itself is presented as hostile to Jane. There is an explicit assertion in the text that the climate of India, where St. John wishes to take Jane as his wife and fellow-missionary, will be death of her. Her intuition that she cannot survive long under an Indian sun is confirmed by her cousin, Diana, who says, "You are much too pretty, as well as too good, to be grilled alive in Calcutta." However, it is somewhat surprising that Diana and Mary feel so little inclined to intervene on Jane's behalf when she is under unfair pressure from St. John.

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