In chapter 31 Jane sees her cousin, Mr. Rivers meet the lovely and vivacious Rosamond Oliver. The two of them are obviously in love but he, at least, refuses to acknowledge it.
Chapter 32 sees Jane beginning to like her position as schoolmistress and her pupils, but she still misses Mr. Rochester. She also finds out that Rosamond's father is not opposed to her match with Mr. Rivers, so Jane tries to talk him into it but to no avail. He is determined to become a missionary in India and doesn't think Rosamond would fit the bill for that kind of work. At the end of the chapter. Mr. Rivers tears off a piece from a paper Jane is drawing on and then leaves. I bet I know what was on the page!
And my suspicions are then confirmed. Jane and scribbled her name on the page and Mr. Rivers recognized the name "Eyre" (remember Jane had been using an alias previously). After some investigation, he realizes this is the same Jane Eyre that his uncle left his fortune to, and therefore they are cousins. John Eyre, the uncle, left Jane 20,000 pounds. She decides to split it four ways, between herself and her three cousins.
Jane then quits her job as schoolmistress and brings Mary and Diana home to live with her and Mr. Rivers. She begins to learn Hindustani for Mr. Rivers, who is a very exacting teacher. Jane begins to feel repressed. She writes to Mrs. Fairfax to see if she knows anything about Mr. Rochester, but receives no answer. Then Mr. Rivers tells her he wants Jane to marry him and go to India with him, not because he loves her, but because she's suitable for the work of a missionary's wife (oo, what a great compliment). She says she'll go but not as his wife and he replies with what has to be the meanest response ever: "Refuse to be my wife, and you limit yourself for ever to a track of selfish ease and barren obscurity." Ouch. Needless to say, he's not too happy with her.
Later, Mr. Rivers tries again (because obviously "no" is not in his vocabulary) and Jane again declines and pisses him off. He asked once more (third time's the charm?) and Jane almost relented, but then she hears what can only be (and yet not be) Mr. Rochester's voice calling her name. She runs to her room.
In chapter 36 Jane leaves her cousins and heads to Thornfield, to try to find out what happened to Mr. Rochester. The mansion has been burned down, and Jane learns that Bertha (the crazy wife, remember) set fire to it (starting in Jane's old room, yikes) and then leapt from the top of the roof, killing herself. Mr. Rochester stayed in the building until everyone was out safely, and then tried to save his wife, but to no avail. While he was trying to escape he was severely wounded and is now blind and without a right hand.
Jane then finds Mr. Rochester and explains her life during her absence. He's jealous of Mr. Rivers until Jane admits she loves no other but him, and then he's ecstatic and says they'll marry in three days. Mr. Rochester claims that God crippled him to punish him for the way he lived and how he tried to trick Jane, but when he prayed for forgiveness he cried out Jane's name. Now here's the interesting part: when he cried out, that's what Jane heard all the way back in Morton. And then when she answered, he heard her! But they were miles and miles apart! It was as if their hearts spoke to each other. Awwwww.
In the final chapter, we learn that Jane and Mr. Rochester were married, Diana and Mary both approve and have since married themselves. Adele was moved to a better school that is closer to Jane and Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester regained sight in one eye and the pair had at least one child (I'm assuming more, but it's never clearly stated). St. John never acknowledged Jane's marriage, but began keeping a regular correspondence with her from India. He never married. Did anyone else think it was weird the book ended with Mr. Rivers' words, and about his death no less?
Overall (and please don't think less of me for this), I'm not the biggest fan of this book. There were times I had to really work to get through the chapters. And maybe it was because I already knew that Jane and Mr. Rochester were destined to get married (I may not have read the book before, but I've heard enough other people talk about it) that I was so impatient for it to just happen already. So while I may not have enjoyed the book as a whole, I did enjoy particular aspects.
Jane is an amazing heroine. She's strong, principled, and not afraid to stand up for herself. The supernatural aspects, while not making this book completely fall into the gothic genre, had enough of it to keep some interest and intrigue. I liked that Jane finally found some family, even if she never did get to meet her uncle. It was because of him she discovered her cousins (for who they were; obviously she had found them already, but she didn't know they were related to her).
I'd love to hear your comments on the book! What are your final thoughts?
Finally: Thank you all for participating and reading along with me! What did you guys think of the read-along? How would you change it? Would you be willing to do it again if I hosted another one?