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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 38

Summary

Jane and Mr. Rochester have now been happily married for a period of ten years. Diana and Mary are happy for her, but St. John does not seem to be. He corresponds with Jane but does not make any reference to her marriage.

Jane visits Adèle and brings her home from a school where she is not happy. She sends her to a better school close by so that she can supervise her upbringing and education. Adèle grows into a pleasing young woman and remains attached to Jane.

Mr. Rochester regains partial sight in one eye after two years. Jane and Rochester have a son. They remain in touch with Diana and Mary. Diana is happily married to a Captain Fitzjames of the Navy, and Mary has chosen a clergyman named Wharton for a husband. St. John continues to be a bachelor, although he conscientiously pursues his vocation as a missionary. Ten years after her marriage, Jane receives the news that he is not likely to live for long. However, she is assured of the fact that at least his devotion will not go unmerited.


Notes

Jane and Mr. Rochester marry, not in that violent, physical anguish in which the reader sees them early in the novel, but in a calmer, nobler mood. Neither the flesh nor the spirit will tear Jane again. She emerges victorious from the ordeals of her life. She is neither debased nor an ascetic, but a woman who has known what it is to live entirely for and with someone whom she loves more than anyone else. She considers herself supremely blessed, blessed "beyond what language can express." That is because she is her husband's life as fully as he is hers. Together they experience "the pulsation of hearts" that beat in their separate bosoms. "To be together" is for them "at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company." They talk all day long: "to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking." All her confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to her. They are "precisely suited in character" and "perfect concord is the result."

The last words of the novel are devoted not to the domestic bliss of Jane and Mr. Rochester, but to a summary of St. John's career as a "high master-spirit." It is clear that Jane waits for no heavenly fulfillment. Her desires are attained on her own terms and in this world.

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