Jane Eyre Chapter 24 Summary

Instructor: Lauren Boivin

Lauren has taught English at the university level and has a master's degree in literature.

This lesson provides an overview of the 24th chapter of ''Jane Eyre,'' in which Jane struggles to keep her head out of the proverbial clouds, despite her delirious happiness at the prospect of becoming Mr. Rochester's wife.

Was it a Dream?

Jane awakes in a haze, almost afraid to believe it could be true. Did Mr. Rochester--the man she has loved so well for so long--really propose to her last night beneath the tree? Just as last night's violent rain storm has transformed into a beautiful summer morning, perhaps the hard chapters of Jane's life are turning now to pleasanter themes. Jane surveys the lovely weather with rapture, and on a joy-filled whim she gives all the money in her purse to a passing beggar and her son. Jane is so happy that she wants these passing wanderers to have a share of her jubilation.

Happiness in summer.
summer morning

A Reaffirmation and a Plan

It is confirmed for both Jane and the reader that the happy events of last night were not figments of the dream world when Mr. Rochester greets her the next morning with 'an embrace and a kiss.' His affection for her and his intentions with it are made very clear, indeed. He waxes on about his love for Jane and his happiness at marrying her. He tells her she is 'soon to be Jane Rochester...in four weeks, Janet; not a day more.' As if to solidify these plans, Mr. Rochester proposes a journey to Millcote in order to begin purchasing clothes and things for the impending nuptials. Jane and Mr. Rochester are engaged, a date is set, and all seems quite determined.

Realism in Romance

Despite her delirious happiness, Jane remains in full command of her sense and reason. In the midst of Mr. Rochester's rhapsodizing she asserts, 'human beings never enjoy complete happiness in this world.' Jane doesn't like it when Mr. Rochester waxes on about how beautiful she is, telling us, 'he was either deluding himself, or trying to delude me.' When he talks at length of dressing her in jewels and fine satin she exclaims the would then be 'an ape in a harlequin's jacket.' She would much rather have reality and the truth unvarnished than poetic hyperbole. Jane will not allow Mr. Rochester to bestow all his family's jewels on her and she considerably restrains his efforts to buy her fancy clothes when he takes her to Millcote.

No family jewels for Jane.
diamond necklace

Mrs. Fairfax's Warning

The reader will recall that Mrs. Fairfax had discovered Jane and Mr. Rochester coming in together very late the previous night. This spectacle would have been quite scandalous by Victorian standards, and Mrs. Fairfax was shocked and worried. Her fears are a bit assuaged after Mr. Rochester reveals he and Jane are soon to be married, but she still has these words of caution for Jane: 'You cannot be too careful. Try and keep Mr. Rochester at a distance: distrust yourself as well as him. Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry their governesses.'

In a typically understated Victorian fashion, Mrs. Fairfax is essentially telling Jane she should be on the lookout as Mr. Rochester's intentions may be less than honorable. In this time period, it would have been a sizable scandal for a wealthy landowner to marry his governess, but it would have been little more than ordinary gossip for the same wealthy landowner to sleep with and then abandon the very same governess. Mrs. Fairfax knows this and just wants to look out for Jane.

Employing Caution

At first, Jane is hurt by Mrs. Fairfax's warning and its insinuations, but ultimately she sees the wisdom in it. Her first act in heeding Mrs. Fairfax's advice is to ask Adele to accompany her and Mr. Rochester on their trip to Millcote. This way, instead of a solitary carriage ride along secluded roads, they are a party of three, with no two ever alone.

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