Summary and Analysis Chapter 38-Conclusion



Rochester and Jane finally marry with a quiet ceremony. Immediately, Jane writes to the Rivers, explaining what she has done. Diana and Mary both approve of her marriage, but Jane receives no response from St. John. Not having forgotten Adèle, Jane visits her at school. The girl is pale, thin, and unhappy, so Jane moves her to a more indulgent school. Adèle grows into a docile, good-natured young woman.

At the writing of this story, Jane has been married for ten years. She feels blessed beyond anything language can express, because she and Rochester love each other absolutely. For two years, Rochester remained almost completely blind, but slowly his sight has returned to him. He was able to see his first-born son. And what has happened to the rest of the cast? Diana and Mary Rivers have both married. St. John is still a missionary in India, but is nearing death. The final words of the novel are his: "Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus!"


The novel has a typically — for a Victorian story — happy ending. All of the characters who were good to Jane are rewarded. Diana and Mary Rivers have made loving marriages; Adèle, not at fault for her mother's sins, has become Jane's pleasing companion. Notice Jane's final ethnocentric comment in relation to little Adèle: "a sound English education corrected in a great measure her French defects." Only through a good English lifestyle has Adèle avoided her mother's tragic flaws — materialism and sensuality — characteristics the novel specifically associates with foreign women. Rochester and Jane have been reunited in a marriage that appears to be perfect: "[n]o woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh." While she feared losing herself in a relationship with St. John, she seems perfectly content to become one with Rochester. What are the differences in the relationships; how does Jane maintain her integrity with Rochester? Primarily through his injuries. As his "vision" and "right hand," Jane maintains a sense of dependence over her husband. Thus the chapter blends an odd mix of language designating their "perfect concord" with language showing Rochester's dependence: He sees nature and books through her, for example. Could this relationship have flourished without Rochester's infirmities? For two years of good behavior, Jane grants Rochester partial regeneration of his sight, though he still cannot read or write much.

St. John Rivers has also received his just reward. He toils in India, laboring for "his race." A great warrior, St. John sternly clears the "painful way to improvement" for the natives, slaying their prejudices of "creed and caste," though obviously not his own. In his zealous Christianity, he obviously sees the Indians as an inferior race, and hopes to implant British virtues and values in their supposedly deficient minds. Perhaps to the joy of those he disciplines in India, St. John is nearing death. Despite Jane's difficulties with Christianity throughout the novel, St. John's words of longing for heaven end the novel. Telling his "Master" that he comes "quickly," St. John's words to Rochester's disembodied cry: "I am coming; wait for me." Love is still Jane's religion; in relationship, Jane has found her heaven.