Jane Eyre | Study Guide

Charlotte Brontë

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Chapter 32

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 32 of Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre | Chapter 32 | Summary

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Summary

Jane begins to take pride in the positive changes she sees in her students. She is accepted and well-liked by the villagers. Rosamond and Jane interact. Rosamond sees and admires Jane's paintings, and Jane draws her. The heiress introduces Jane to her father at their home. Jane's nights are troubled by vivid dreams of being with Rochester. Rosamond continues to flirt with St. John, and although it's obvious he's attracted to her, he doesn't reciprocate. St. John visits Jane, and after they talk and he prepares to leave, Jane attempts to play matchmaker by suggesting that marrying Rosamond and staying in Morton could make him a happy man. He responds that Rosamond would not enjoy being the wife of a missionary, and he will not give up his ambition to become one. Before St. John leaves the cottage, he seems startled by something he sees on a scrap of Jane's drawing paper, which covers her sketch of Rosamond (a sketch he has admired). He tears a strip off the paper and takes it with him, leaving Jane puzzled about what he found.

Analysis

The role of mentor that Jane takes with her students is similar to the one Miss Temple played in her life. Some of Jane's comments about her students reveal that she is not immune to class snobbery but she begins to overcome it, recognizing in just a short while that "some of these heavy-looking, gaping rustics wake up into sharp-witted girls enough."

Jane's dreams about Rochester reveal that life is not complete for her without the passionate, fulfilling relationship she has lost. She recognizes in St. John a passionate nature that he is repressing. A match with Rosamond, she thinks, will channel his passion into a human bond and give him the kind of happiness that she once had with Rochester. But St. John knows that he is ruled by an ambition "to rise higher" and "do more than others." Seeing this as a defect, he has decided to channel his ambition into missionary work in order to serve a higher purpose.

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