Saint John in Jane Eyre
A minister in the Anglican Church, St. John is frequently out attending to the needs of his parishioners. Her relationship with him is more formal. Countless novels speak of love and indulging in passion, but not many speak of the dynamics that make a marriage work - Jane Eyre is one of. Jane continues to pay attention to the relationship between St. John and Rosamond, who often visits the school when she knows St. John will be there.
Hannah shall go with you. I will give you the key of my cottage in the morning. What aim, what purpose, what ambition in life have you now? My purpose, in short, is to have all things in an absolutely perfect state of readiness for Diana and Mary before next Thursday; and my ambition is to give them a beau-ideal of a welcome when they come.
I hope your energies will then once more trouble you with their strength. John," I said, "I think you are almost wicked to talk so. I am disposed to be as content as a queen, and you try to stir me up to restlessness! Jane, I shall watch you closely and anxiously — I warn you of that. And try to restrain the disproportionate fervour with which you throw yourself into commonplace home pleasures. Don't cling so tenaciously to ties of the flesh; save your constancy and ardour for an adequate cause; forbear to waste them on trite transient objects.
Do you hear, Jane? I feel I have adequate cause to be happy, and I will be happy. And really, after a day or two of confusion worse confounded, it was delightful by degrees to invoke order from the chaos ourselves had made. I had previously taken a journey to S — - to purchase some new furniture: The ordinary sitting-room and bedrooms I left much as they were: Still some novelty was necessary, to give to their return the piquancy with which I wished it to be invested.
Dark handsome new carpets and curtains, an arrangement of some carefully selected antique ornaments in porcelain and bronze, new coverings, and mirrors, and dressing-cases, for the toilet tables, answered the end: A spare parlour and bedroom I refurnished entirely, with old mahogany and crimson upholstery: I laid canvas on the passage, and carpets on the stairs.
When all was finished, I thought Moor House as complete a model of bright modest snugness within, as it was, at this season, a specimen of wintry waste and desert dreariness without. The eventful Thursday at length came. They were expected about dark, and ere dusk fires were lit upstairs and below; the kitchen was in perfect trim; Hannah and I were dressed, and all was in readiness.
I had entreated him to keep quite clear of the house till everything was arranged: He found me in the kitchen, watching the progress of certain cakes for tea, then baking. Approaching the hearth, he asked, "If I was at last satisfied with housemaid's work? With some difficulty, I got him to make the tour of the house. He just looked in at the doors I opened; and when he had wandered upstairs and downstairs, he said I must have gone through a great deal of fatigue and trouble to have effected such considerable changes in so short a time: This silence damped me.
I thought perhaps the alterations had disturbed some old associations he valued. I inquired whether this was the case: How many minutes, for instance, had I devoted to studying the arrangement of this very room?
Now, I did not like this, reader. John was a good man; but I began to feel he had spoken truth of himself when he said he was hard and cold.
The humanities and amenities of life had no attraction for him — its peaceful enjoyments no charm. Literally, he lived only to aspire — after what was good and great, certainly; but still he would never rest, nor approve of others resting round him. As I looked at his lofty forehead, still and pale as a white stone — at his fine lineaments fixed in study — I comprehended all at once that he would hardly make a good husband: I understood, as by inspiration, the nature of his love for Miss Oliver; I agreed with him that it was but a love of the senses.
I comprehended how he should despise himself for the feverish influence it exercised over him; how he should wish to stifle and destroy it; how he should mistrust its ever conducting permanently to his happiness or hers. I saw he was of the material from which nature hews her heroes — Christian and Pagan — her lawgivers, her statesmen, her conquerors: Well may he eschew the calm of domestic life; it is not his element: It is in scenes of strife and danger — where courage is proved, and energy exercised, and fortitude tasked — that he will speak and move, the leader and superior.
A merry child would have the advantage of him on this hearth. He is right to choose a missionary's career — I see it now. At the same moment old Carlo barked joyfully. It was now dark; but a rumbling of wheels was audible. Hannah soon had a lantern lit. The vehicle had stopped at the wicket; the driver opened the door: In a minute I had my face under their bonnets, in contact first with Mary's soft cheek, then with Diana's flowing curls.
They laughed — kissed me — then Hannah: They were stiff with their long and jolting drive from Whitcross, and chilled with the frosty night air; but their pleasant countenances expanded to the cheerful firelight.
While the driver and Hannah brought in the boxes, they demanded St. At this moment he advanced from the parlour. They both threw their arms round his neck at once.
He gave each one quiet kiss, said in a low tone a few words of welcome, stood a while to be talked to, and then, intimating that he supposed they would soon rejoin him in the parlour, withdrew there as to a place of refuge. I had lit their candles to go upstairs, but Diana had first to give hospitable orders respecting the driver; this done, both followed me. They were delighted with the renovation and decorations of their rooms; with the new drapery, and fresh carpets, and rich tinted china vases: I had the pleasure of feeling that my arrangements met their wishes exactly, and that what I had done added a vivid charm to their joyous return home.
Sweet was that evening. My cousins, full of exhilaration, were so eloquent in narrative and comment, that their fluency covered St.
The event of the day — that is, the return of Diana and Mary — pleased him; but the accompaniments of that event, the glad tumult, the garrulous glee of reception irked him: I saw he wished the calmer morrow was come. In the very meridian of the night's enjoyment, about an hour after tea, a rap was heard at the door.
Hannah entered with the intimation that "a poor lad was come, at that unlikely time, to fetch Mr. Rivers to see his mother, who was drawing away. It's the worst road to travel after dark that can be: And then it is such a bitter night — the keenest wind you ever felt.
You had better send word, sir, that you will be there in the morning. It was then nine o'clock: Starved and tired enough he was: He had performed an act of duty; made an exertion; felt his own strength to do and deny, and was on better terms with himself.
I am afraid the whole of the ensuing week tried his patience. It was Christmas week: The air of the moors, the freedom of home, the dawn of prosperity, acted on Diana and Mary's spirits like some life-giving elixir: They could always talk; and their discourse, witty, pithy, original, had such charms for me, that I preferred listening to, and sharing in it, to doing anything else.
John did not rebuke our vivacity; but he escaped from it: One morning at breakfast, Diana, after looking a little pensive for some minutes, asked him, "If his plans were yet unchanged. And he proceeded to inform us that his departure from England was now definitively fixed for the ensuing year.
John had a book in his hand — it was his unsocial custom to read at meals — he closed it, and looked up. Granby, one of the best connected and most estimable residents in S- grandson and heir to Sir Frederic Granby: I had the intelligence from her father yesterday. But where there are no obstacles to a union, as in the present case, where the connection is in every point desirable, delays are unnecessary: John alone after this communication, I felt tempted to inquire if the event distressed him: Besides, I was out of practice in talking to him: He had not kept his promise of treating me like his sisters; he continually made little chilling differences between us, which did not at all tend to the development of cordiality: When I remembered how far I had once been admitted to his confidence, I could hardly comprehend his present frigidity.
Such being the case, I felt not a little surprised when he raised his head suddenly from the desk over which he was stooping, and said — "You see, Jane, the battle is fought and the victory won.
St John Rivers
Would not such another ruin you? The event of the conflict is decisive: As our mutual happiness i. John stayed more at home: While Mary drew, Diana pursued a course of encyclopaedic reading she had to my awe and amazement undertaken, and I fagged away at German, he pondered a mystic lore of his own: Thus engaged, he appeared, sitting in his own recess, quiet and absorbed enough; but that blue eye of his had a habit of leaving the outlandish- looking grammar, and wandering over, and sometimes fixing upon us, his fellow-students, with a curious intensity of observation: I wondered what it meant: I wondered, too, at the punctual satisfaction he never failed to exhibit on an occasion that seemed to me of small moment, namely, my weekly visit to Morton school; and still more was I puzzled when, if the day was unfavourable, if there was snow, or rain, or high wind, and his sisters urged me not to go, he would invariably make light of their solicitude, and encourage me to accomplish the task without regard to the elements.
Her constitution is both sound and elastic; — better calculated to endure variations of climate than many more robust. One afternoon, however, I got leave to stay at home, because I really had a cold.
His sisters were gone to Morton in my stead: I sat reading Schiller; he, deciphering his crabbed Oriental scrolls. As I exchanged a translation for an exercise, I happened to look his way: How long it had been searching me through and through, and over and over, I cannot tell: Would I do him this favour? I should not, perhaps, have to make the sacrifice long, as it wanted now barely three months to his departure.
John was not a man to be lightly refused: When Diana and Mary returned, the former found her scholar transferred from her to her brother: John should never have persuaded them to such a step.
He answered quietly — "I know it. By degrees, he acquired a certain influence over me that took away my liberty of mind: I could no longer talk or laugh freely when he was by, because a tiresomely importunate instinct reminded me that vivacity at least in me was distasteful to him. I was so fully aware that only serious moods and occupations were acceptable, that in his presence every effort to sustain or follow any other became vain: I fell under a freezing spell.
Marriage to St John would sacrifice passion for principle. Allows Jane to see that relationships don't function on practicality and logic alone the reasons she left Thornfield. Jane's rejection of St John's proposal spurs her to return to Rochester, her one chance for spiritual passion.
Novel ends with St John, portraying the hand of God in the novel and how Jane is following her own religious ideas: It also suggests how Jane would have ended up had she chosen Rivers over Rochester: Reminds the reader what Jane has gained by losing St John. His role is also far more literal: Her unconscious goal of fitting in is in some ways completed after Jane has found the Rivers. Aids Jane to form her own opinion of religion. Of course, many modern critics point out the colonial, racist assumptions in St.
John's belief in the superiority of Christianity to other religions and the suepriority of the White Englishman to other nationalities and races. They also point to the portrayal of the Creole Bertha Mason, with her dark skin and animal nature, as further evidence of a colonial, racist attitude.
By the nineteenth century, England was the largest imperial power ever; its empire spanned the globe. If you have taken Core Studies 3 or 4, you have probably discussed the racist assumptions which underlie colonialism and imperialism. One of the few human connections which St. John has to cut before he can leave for India makes an appearance, the lovely Rosamond Oliver.
He represses any response to her, but his feelings for Rosamond and his determined suppression of those feelings are obvious to Jane. Chapter 32 Pages Most of the time Jane is for thankful for her life, though she continues to have upsetting dreams about Rochester.
One evening Jane forces a frank conversation about Rosamond with St. He describes the mixed nature of his feelings for Rosamond, "It is strange," pursued he, "that while I love Rosamond Oliver so wildly--with all the intensity, indeed, of a first passion, the object of which is exquisitely beautiful, graceful, and fascinating--I experience at the same time a calm, unwarped consciousness, that she would not make me a good wife; that she is not the partner suited to me; that I should discover this within a year after marriage; and that to twelve months' rapture would succeed a lifetime of regret.
St John Rivers » Jane Eyre Study Guide from miyagi-marugoto2012.info
That I know" p. Jane challenges his statement. He assures her, you partially misinterpret my emotions. You think them more profound and potent than they are. You give me a larger allowance of sympathy than I have a just claim to.
I scorn the weakness. I know it is ignoble; a mere fever of the flesh: What is the nature of his feelings "a mere fever of the flesh"? How does he resemble Rochester with Bertha Mason? How does he differ?
John says, "Reason, and not feeling, is my guide" p. Might Rochester not have said with equal truth, "Feeling, and not reason, is my guide"? John is the Man of Reason, a man who subordinates his passions to reason. Clearly he contrasts with the Man of Passion, Rochester, who subordinates reason to his passions. Chapter 33 Pages Does the way St. John tells the story of Jane's inheritance indicate another similarity to Rochester, a desire for control and power? Initially Jane has a mixed response to becoming an heiress; she feels the burden of having a fortune and a sense of loss at her uncle's death as well as joy: And then this money came only to me: It was a grand boon doubtless; and independence would be glorious--yes, I felt that--that thought swelled my heart pp.
When she discovers that she is not an "isolated self," that Mary, Diana, and St. John are her cousins, she is overjoyed, "Glorious discovery to a lonely wretch! This was wealth indeed! This was a blessing, bright, vivid, and exhilarating" p. At last Jane belongs to a family she fits into; she has a family whose members enjoy and respect her and whom she enjoys, respects, and can love.
The Rivers family duplicates the rejected Reed family, with two sisters and one brother. Interestingly the Ingram family has the same breakdown of siblings.
St John Rivers - Character analysis in A Level and IB English Literature
Jane reacts so jubilantly to this news that St. John asks her to calm herself as Rochester and Mrs. Reed asked her to calm her emotions. She insists on sharing her money with them, because of "the craving I have for fraternal and sisterly love. I never had a home, I never had brother or sisters: I must and will have them now" p.
She asserts, "I want my kindred: She will not be wealthy while they struggle in poverty; she knows the experience of being a poor relation and the impossibility of equality between the haves and the have-nots. Chapter 34 Pages His indifference to the refurbishing of Marsh End gives Jane more insight into him: I understood, as by inspiration, the nature of his love for Miss Oliver; I agreed with him that it was but a love of the senses.
I comprehended how he should despise himself for the feverish influence it exercised over him; how he should wish to stifle and destroy it; how he should mistrust its ever conducing permanently to his happiness, or hers. I saw he was of the material from which nature hews her heros--Christian and Pagan--her lawgivers, her statesmen, her conquerors: Jane's reference to "a love of the senses" echoes St.
John's earlier description of his feelings as "a mere fever of the flesh. Brocklehurst as "a black pillar" p. Do the two men have anything in common? John asks her to learn Hindostanee, she agrees, out of fear of offending him. During the course of their lessons, he comes to dominate her, By degrees, he acquired a certain influence over me that took away my liberty of mind: I could no longer talk or laugh freely when he was by. When he said "go," I went!
But I did not love my servitude; I wished, many a time, he had continued to neglect me pp. She describes his kiss in terms of dominance, using master-slave imagery, "I felt as if the kiss were a seal affixed to my fetters" p.Jane Eyre - Rejection Scene
In what ways is her relationship with St. John similar to her relationship with Rochester? Jane willingly accepted servitude to Rochester; why doesn't she willingly accept her servitude to St.