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Jane Eyre Chapter 38 Summary

Instructor: Abigail Walker

Abigail has taught writing and literature at various universities. She has an M.A. In literature from American University and an M.F.A. in English from The University of Iowa.

The final chapter of Jane Eyre further explores the love Jane and Rochester share. After bringing Adele home, Rochester's sight begins to return, and then he and Jane expand their family. The couple also discovers that Jane's cousins have found joy.

Marriage

In a simple ceremony, Jane finally marries Rochester. When they return home Jane tells the housekeeper Mary and her husband John that she has wed. Mary looks up from the chickens she is preparing and tells Jane that she saw her leave with Rochester earlier but that she had no idea where the couple was going. John insists that he knew Rochester intended to marry Jane, and when he hears of the wedding, he smiles broadly and wishes Jane happiness. Jane thanks him, handing him a bank note that Rochester wanted John and his wife to have.

Jane then leaves the kitchen to compose a letter to her cousins Diana and Mary Rivers in order to inform them of her marriage. Later, when they respond, Jane learns that they wholeheartedly support her decision to wed Rochester. Their brother St. John Rivers, on the other hand, never acknowledges Jane's wedding or mentions Rochester. Instead, in his rare letters, he simply informs Jane of his wish that she not live a life devoid of God.

Adele

While content to reveal her news to the Rivers by letter, Jane wants to inform Adele of the wedding in person. Jane requests permission from her husband to visit her new step-daughter in the boarding school where Rochester has enrolled her.

With her husband's approval, Jane sets off to visit Adele, who is overjoyed to see her former governess--especially given how unhappy the girl has been in the harsh environment of the school. Seeing how pale Adele is and how much weight she has lost, Jane decides that she must be taken away from the school.

At first, Jane tries to provide lessons for Adele at home, but Jane finds herself unable to give the girl the attention she needs because Rochester, in his blindness, requires so much of Jane's time. Consequently, she and Rochester send Adele to a school near home. Not only is she delighted to live with Jane and her father, but Adele also does well at school and grows into a very pleasant young woman.

Happiness

In addition to Jane's affectionate relationship with Adele, she has found a very special love with Rochester, a feeling which, as the years pass, only grows deeper. They spend all of their time together and never tire of each other. 'To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company,' Jane explains.

Intensifying their commitment to each other is the fact that Jane must be Rochester's eyes. Not only does she lead him as he walks, but she also describes to him all that she sees in great detail. She is utterly devoted to him, and he loves her all the more for her tireless support.

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