Jane Eyre

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
A parson with two sisters at Moor House, and Jane's cousin. Much like Jane, St. John is a restless character, searching for a place and purpose in life. Like Mr. Rochester, St. John has a commanding personality, but the two men contrast in their range of feelings. St. John relinquishes worldly happiness for a commitment to his religious principles. His stern religious faith makes him self-denying and cold.

St. John Rivers Quotes in Jane Eyre

The Jane Eyre quotes below are all either spoken by St. John Rivers or refer to St. John Rivers. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Jane Eyre published in 2006.
Chapter 32 Quotes
St. John, no doubt, would have given the world to follow, recall, retain her, when she thus left him; but he would not give one chance of heaven, nor relinquish, for the elysium of her love, one hope of the true, eternal Paradise.
Related Characters: Jane Eyre (speaker), St. John Rivers, Rosamond Oliver
Page Number: 424
Explanation and Analysis:

Jane and St. John have begun to speak frankly about St. John's feelings for Rosamond Oliver. Jane has guessed that St. John is in love with her, and he admits that this is true. However, he cannot imagine Rosamond accompanying him far away as the wife of a missionary. St. John's faith is such that he cannot consider giving up his livelihood as missionary even on account of his love for another human being: for him this kind of love is not as significant as the love he finds in serving God. At the same time, St. John's admission reflects his assumptions about the proper role of women in marriage: Rosamond's role would be to serve him as he is serving God, and he cannot imagine any other way. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Jane Eyre quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Again the surprised expression crossed his face. He had not imagined that a woman would dare to speak so to a man. For me, I felt at home in this sort of discourse. I could never rest in communication with strong, discreet, and refined minds, whether male or female, till I had passed the outworks of conventional reserve, and crossed the threshold of confidence, and won a place by their heart's very hearthstone.
Related Characters: Jane Eyre (speaker), St. John Rivers
Page Number: 432
Explanation and Analysis:

As Jane and St. John speak of the latter's love for Rosamond, St. John grows surprised that Jane would presume to speak to him so frankly of such private matters. St. John is not used to women speaking to him in such a manner: indeed, propriety and social custom make it nearly certain that very few women will broach such private topics with a man, even one with whom they are close. While Jane has acted somewhat ashamed of her propensity for frankness and openness before, here she wholeheartedly embraces this attitude, and in addition claims that there is little she can do about it: it is just part of her nature. Jane even claims a positive ethical status for such openness, arguing that convention can often mask what is real and true, while speaking frankly honors each person much more.

Chapter 33 Quotes
I looked at the blank wall: it seemed a sky thick with ascending stars,—every one lit me to a purpose or delight. Those who had saved my life, whom, till this hour, I had loved barrenly, I could now benefit. They were under a yoke,—I could free them: they were scattered,—I could reunite them: the independence, the affluence which was mine, might be theirs too.
Related Characters: Jane Eyre (speaker), St. John Rivers, Diana and Mary Rivers
Page Number: 445
Explanation and Analysis:

Jane has learned that she is heir to an enormous fortune, and in addition that the Rivers are her cousins, so that she now has a larger family than she ever realized. Jane has long sought independence by choosing her own way in life and by insisting on her own rights and her own, individual life, apart from all others. Now she realizes that independence need not entail isolation. Indeed, her financial independence is wrapped up in the revelation of a true family.

As a result, Jane comes to consider independence as a value that can take place within the structure of a family, and even within the limitations and responsibilities that being part of a family entails. By helping her new cousins with her inheritance, Jane will be able to ensure that they escape the kind of "yoke" under which she herself struggled; but she also will tie their life to her own in a way that she had scarcely thought possible earlier in her life.

Get the entire Jane Eyre LitChart as a printable PDF.
Jane eyre.pdf.medium

St. John Rivers Character Timeline in Jane Eyre

The timeline below shows where the character St. John Rivers appears in Jane Eyre. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 28
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...death is imminent and vowing to wait for God's will. Just then, the women's brother, St. John (pronounced "Sinjin") arrives home. He brings Jane into the house, where the River sisters give... (full context)
Chapter 29
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...ago. Mary and Diana are still in school and afterwards will look for governess jobs. St. John is a poor parson. (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
...and no connections in England, and asks for help looking for work of any kind. St. John is firm but charitable, and promises to help. Mary and Diana, much warmer personalities than... (full context)
Chapter 30
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...jobs as governesses in wealthy households. The Rivers sisters tell Jane that they suspect that St. John will also leave, maybe forever, to become a missionary. (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
St. John , unlike his sisters, remains pensive and distant at home. Jane visits his church and... (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
St. John offers Jane a position running a small school for the poor children of his parish... (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Soon after, a letter arrives informing St. John , Mary, and Diana that their wealthy uncle John has just died and left them... (full context)
Chapter 31
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
In conversation, St. John reassures Jane that he also had doubts about choosing his career in the parish church,... (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
...benefactors is the rich and classically beautiful Rosamond Oliver. Jane can see that Rosamond and St. John are in love. (full context)
Chapter 32
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
Rosamond makes frequent visits to the school, conveniently arriving when St. John is also there. Jane notices that St. John is visibly affected by Rosamond's presence. At... (full context)
Chapter 33
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
The following night, St. John fights through the snow to visit Jane. He tells her a story which, to Jane's... (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
Notices and letters were posted everywhere to find Jane. One reached St. John because John Eyre is in fact his uncle, too. St. John reveals to Jane his... (full context)
Chapter 34
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
...and spends a happy Christmas with Mary and Diana, who have returned from their jobs. St. John , on the other hand, is increasingly distant and cold. Asked about Rosamond Oliver, St.... (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
One day, St. John finds Jane studying German and suggests that she learn "Hindostanee" instead—the language he's studying for... (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
Time passes. That summer, St. John takes Jane on a walk in the hills. St. John tells Jane she has admirable... (full context)
Chapter 35
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
St. John continues to try to convince Jane to marry him. Jane knows that working in India... (full context)
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
One evening after dinner, St. John reads prayers aloud with such fervor and command that Jane feels compelled to accept his... (full context)
Chapter 36
Religion Theme Icon
The Spiritual and the Supernatural Theme Icon
As Jane prepares to leave to go to Thornfield, St. John slips a note under her door urging her to resist temptation. Though unsure herself, Jane... (full context)
Chapter 37
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Jane updates Rochester about her new wealth and leads him on about St. John , jokingly using jealousy to distract him from misery. Rochester mentions all of his infirmities,... (full context)
Chapter 38
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
The Spiritual and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...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... (full context)