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Jane Eyre | Chapter 27 | Summary

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Summary

Jane struggles with what to do next, self-control and moral principles contending with passion. When she finally leaves her room, she finds Rochester waiting by her door. He begs for her forgiveness and she sees that he's truly sorry. In her heart she forgives him completely, but she doesn't admit this to him. He says he'll send Adèle to school, shut up Thornfield, and take Jane to France, where they can live as a married couple. Rochester explains that his father and brother deceived him when they arranged his marriage to Bertha in Jamaica. The marriage benefited them financially, so they didn't tell him about the madness in Bertha's family. After a few years, Rochester inherited Thornfield. Because no one outside of Jamaica knew about his marriage to Bertha, he hid her in hopes of finding a new life for himself. Then he began to search, unsuccessfully, for the ideal woman with whom he could share a real relationship—the woman who, after he had three mistresses, he found in Jane. Rochester recaps their early relationship and explains how he fell in love with her. He begs her to consider staying with him.

Jane is tempted to give in to Rochester, but in the end says she must leave him. That night she recalls the torment of the red-room scene recounted early in the book. She sees the moon and it transforms into the vision of a woman who sends a message to her heart: "My daughter, flee temptation!" Early the next morning, she steals away and arranges with a coachman to get as far away from Thornfield as her last 20 shillings will take her.

Analysis

Rochester clings to the hope that Jane will come to see his situation as he does. He wants her to think that, although he was unfairly tricked into his marriage with Bertha, he has treated his insane wife fairly. By taking responsibility for her physical care and safety, he has done all that can be done for her, and he should be allowed to find a fulfilling life for himself.

Jane relates her forgiveness with direct address: "Reader, I forgave him," again foreshadowing her statement in the final chapter. She uses it again at the chapter close, calling forth all the reader's sympathy over her crushed hopes and dashed dreams: "Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt! ... Never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love."

As much as Jane believes that Rochester deserves to be happy, she cannot respect herself if she flouts the laws of God and man. Religious principles and self-control triumph. She will not succumb to passion if it means abandoning morality. The reappearance of the red-room and the moon underscores the fact that Jane's departure is a moment of crisis.

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