Volume 3, Chapter 4 / 30

Synopsis of Volume 3, Chapter 4 / 30

Jane enjoys life at Moor House with Diana and Mary, and shares their interests, but finds it harder to establish a relationship with St John. The sisters are soon to leave, however, to work as governesses, while St John himself plans eventually to leave Moor House. Before doing so, he wants to establish a school in the local village, Morton, and offers Jane the post of schoolmistress, which she accepts. A letter arrives telling them that the Rivers' Uncle John is dead, but has not left them any of his fortune because of a past quarrel with their father; the beneficiary is another relative, unknown to them. The sisters leave for their new jobs, Jane moves into the schoolhouse, St John and Hannah go to live in the parsonage and Moor House is closed up.

Commentary on Volume 3, Chapter 4 / 30

I was fain to sit on a stool … my head on her knee Jane's organ of veneration seems to be at work again. See Characterisation: Phrenology - a note.

Jesus as the Good Shepherdpastoral excursions Christ's ministry is often likened to the care of a shepherd for his flock, and the term is also applied to the work that clergymen undertake in their parishes. The following passages describe St John's conscientious execution of these duties.

a large, fashionable, south-of-England city This is likely to refer to one of the seaside or spa towns, such as Bath.

stern allusions to Calvinistic doctrines See Religious / philosophical context.

Peace … passeth all understanding See Philippians 4:7: ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ'. Jane observes that for all his piety and stern sense of duty, St John is troubled and tormented and represses many of his true feelings. See Characterisation: St John Rivers.

broken idol and lost Elysium Jane refers to Rochester and the happy life she might have lived with him. In Greek mythology Elysium was the place inhabited by the blessed dead, and Jane's use of this word and of ‘idol' is yet another example of religious terms – in this case pagan -- being applied to worldly feelings.

Church militant A term for the work of the Church in the world, as it struggles to win the battle against evil.

Rise, follow Me! Christ several times urges believers to do this. St John's use of the phrase indicates the extent to which he sees himself as a soldier of Christ.

the Christian labourer's task … the destiny of the pioneer … their captain was Jesus Here, St. John defines his sense of his own role in working for the Church Militant, much as the Apostles, as described in Acts, went into the world to spread the Gospel of Christ. See Religious / philosophical context.

hewers of wood and drawers of water This is a reference to the general work of servants which comes from Joshua 9:21. Throughout the novel there is respect for those who work and contempt for idleness, echoing biblical teaching (see Work and idleness).

the tranquil, hidden office of an English country incumbent St John would not be happy looking after a quiet rural parish: he wants to serve God in more active and challenging circumstances.

Investigating Volume 3, Chapter 4 / 30
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