Spring brings better weather, but the dampness of the school grounds results in an epidemic of typhus that infects more than half of Lowood's students. Many are sent home. Many others die. Jane, meanwhile, is encouraged to wander outside for her health, and she takes great pleasure in the lush scenery and flowers. In the midst of spring's renewal, Jane contemplates death for the first time.
The Lowood epidemic recalls Brontë's own sisters' deaths, and illustrates the plight of poor women. The contrast of spring's rebirth with death wakes Jane up to life's contradictions. Spring is a transitional time, and Jane is transitioning out of her youth.
Jane soon learns that Helen is also deathly ill. Helen suffers from consumption (tuberculosis), not typhus, and is being held in quarantine in Ms. Temple's room.
In Victorian literature, characters like Helen who are too sensitive or pure for the harsh world often died of consumption.
One night Jane sneaks to Helen's bedside. Helen assures Jane that she is not scared of dying because she will be leaving behind the suffering of the world and going to her God. They fall asleep in each other's arms. By morning, Helen is dead.
Helen's profound faith in an afterlife teaches Jane to give up on some of the petty struggles of life. The girls' bond is unbreakable, even by death.
Helen is buried in an unmarked grave. But 15 years later, someone (probably Jane) places a headstone on the grave that is carved with the word "Resurgam"—Latin for "I will rise again."
The gravestone's inscription extends the novel's comparison of Helen to Christ.