Volume 3, Chapter 12 / 38

Synopsis of Volume 3, Chapter 12 / 38

The narrative concludes ten years after these events. Jane and Rochester are married and have children, and Rochester has recovered some of his sight. Diana and Mary are also happily married. St John is in India, where he expects to die in the service of God.

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Accompanying teaching resources

Commentary on Volume 3, Chapter 12 / 38

Reader, I married him This brief sentence was socially revolutionary in that the woman is the initiator of the relationship, reversing the pattern whereby Rochester would have make her his creature in marrying her bigamously.

the cadet of the house A younger son in the family.

noan faàl Not foul (i.e. not ugly). Brontë was familiar with Yorkshire dialect.

who live … earthly things Philippians 3:19.

bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh See Genesis 2:23. By referring to the union of Adam and Eve before the fall of humankind, Jane makes a powerful assertion of the human, physical, sexual and spiritual nature of her and Rochester's love for one another. It is as if their purified love presents the reader with a return to paradise, providing a foretaste of the heaven to which St John's biblical allusions has been referring.

he labours for his race St John is working on behalf of all humanity. It could also refer to the image used by Paul in the New Testament of the Christian life being like a race in which the runner must not give up.1 Corinthians 9:24

theChristian battles Apollyon warrior Greatheart … the onslaught of Apollyon In The Pilgrim's Progress (1678 and 1684) by John Bunyan (1628-88) the Christian warrior Greatheart protects the pilgrims on their journey to the Holy City. The fiend Apollyon is defeated by Christian.

‘Whosoever will come after me … and follow me' See Mark 8:34. This is an expression of St John's sense of himself as a soldier and servant of Christ.

without … God See Revelation 14:5. This biblical allusion refers to St John's hope that he will be one of those who are elected by God to be saved: again an example of his Calvinism.

incorruptible crown See 1 Corinthians 9:25. the reward given by God to those who die in his service. The crown is incorruptible because, unlike the earthly body, it will not decay.

good and faithful servant See Matthew 25:21. St John hopes to receive this acknowledgment of his work for God after his death.

‘Amen; even so, come Lord Jesus' See Revelation 22:20. This quotation suggests St John's readiness for death, in the belief that he will meet Christ in Heaven. They are some of the final words of the Bible.

Investigating Volume 3, Chapter 12 / 38
  • How does the way in which Jane writes about Rochester differ from earlier in the novel?
  • Why does the novel end with the words of St John Rivers, quoting the end of the New Testament, rather than with those of Jane herself?
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