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Chapter 38

The color-coded boxes under "Analysis & Themes" below make it easy to track the themes throughout the work. Each color corresponds to one of the themes explained in the Themes section of this LitChart.

Summary


Analysis & Themes


The final chapter begins with the famous line: "Reader, I married him." Remaining at Ferndean, Jane and Rochester have a small, quiet wedding and live in perfect harmony. Jane never tires of guiding her husband, reading aloud to him, and describing the landscape to him. St. John never comments on Jane's marriage, but Mary and Diana are overjoyed about it.

Jane is Rochester's prop and his guide, both his servant and his master. She becomes his eyes, which were a symbol of his power. St. John does not respond because human love means nothing to him, but the rest of Jane's family is joyful.

 

Jane visits Adèle and finds her unhappy in a harsh school. Jane transfers her to a more liberal one closer to home. Through a good English education, Adèle's "French defects" are purged and she grows into a polite and principled young woman.

Jane represents specifically English values, nurtured in good homes and schools. In reforming Adèle, Jane also reforms Rochester's sinful past.

 

Two years into their marriage, Rochester partially regains sight in one eye in time to see the birth of their first baby: a son who inherits Rochester's brilliant black eyes.

Rochester's regained sight shows how God tempers justice with mercy. The son represents Rochester's redemption.

 

Writing ten years after the events of the novel, Jane informs the reader that Diana and Mary both have married respectable and caring husbands and visit regularly. St. John went to India alone. She says that in his last letter, St. John said that he had a premonition of his death, and she adds that she does not expect another letter from him. Jane ends by saying that she doesn't grieve for St. John, who has done God's work, and then quotes St. John's last letter, in which he begs his Master, Jesus Christ, to take him soon.

St. John is solitary and strong, but his fate is sad. He and Jane both craved and found a "master" they can serve. Unlike St. John, however, Jane doesn't sacrifice herself (or her life) in order to serve that master and be virtuous. Instead, Jane has found a balance between love and purpose, and between independence and service.