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Jane Eyre Chapter 25 Summary

Instructor: Lauren Boivin

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

This lesson will provide an overview of chapter 25 of ''Jane Eyre,'' which takes place the day before Jane's wedding. Jane is troubled by something that happened the night before, and Mr. Rochester tries to allay her fears.

A Disquiet Mind

As chapter 25 opens, we find Jane in a state of uncharacteristic restlessness. She is set to be married to Mr. Rochester the very next day. Her trunks are packed and all other preparations have been made. Mr. Rochester is away from home on business, and Jane paces and frets for his return. Night comes and with it comes rain, but no Mr. Rochester. Jane is so anxious for Mr. Rochester to come back that she stands looking for him and then walks down the road to find him, despite the pouring rain. Mr. Rochester is delighted to see her so eager to meet him, but he is worried to see her so agitated. What could be causing the usually cool and collected Jane to behave in this way?

Jane's Tale

After changing into dry clothes, Jane waits for Mr. Rochester to finish his meal and then she proceeds to explain the source of her distress. She begins by telling Mr. Rochester of two dreams she had the night before. In each, Jane is carrying a baby and struggling to walk through difficult terrain in order to find Mr. Rochester. In both dreams she is prevented from reaching her goal because of the weight she carries and the burden she bears.

After hearing about these two dreams, Mr. Rochester thinks they must be the source of her melancholy and so he tries to comfort her, but Jane tells him there is still more. After waking from her dreams, Jane saw someone in her room holding a candle! The person was one Jane has never seen before -- a woman with long hair matted down her back. Her face was discolored and her eyes were bloodshot. 'It was a savage face,' Jane tells Mr. Rochester.

The presence of such a person in one's room at night would be alarming enough, but the eerie and inexplicable actions of this creature were even more chilling. Mr. Rochester had purchased an elaborate veil for Jane to wear with her wedding gown and given it to her as a surprise. At night it was hung by the dress in Jane's closet. Jane says the strange woman took hold of the veil, examined it, put it on her own head, and then looked at herself in the mirror. Suddenly, she wrenched it off her head, tore it in two, threw it on the floor, and trampled it.

Wedding Veil

Explanations

Jane tells Mr. Rochester that in the morning after the strange woman's visit, she was sure it was a dream. He is eager to support this hypothesis. But Jane continues -- after bathing her face in water, she turned and saw 'the veil, torn from top to bottom in two halves!' At this revelation, even Mr. Rochester is caused to 'start and shudder.'

After a moment's thought, Mr. Rochester presents a theory: Perhaps Jane was partially asleep when this occurred. Perhaps there really was a woman, perhaps she really did tear the veil, but perhaps instead of being the diabolical creature Jane remembers, perhaps it was just Grace Poole, that enigmatic servant to whom has been attributed the strange laughter Jane sometimes hears, the attempt to burn Mr. Rochester in his bed, and the violent attack on Mr. Mason. This explanation does not completely satisfy Jane, but she can't think of a better one so she does her best to accept it.

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