Literature Study GuidesJane EyreChapters 28 29 Summary

Jane Eyre | Study Guide

Charlotte Brontë

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Chapters 28-29

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapters 28 and 29 of Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre | Chapters 28–29 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 28

Jane opens the chapter using the present tense, explaining that the coach takes her as far as Whitcross, a remote area of moors and mountains. She seeks solace in nature and wanders on the moor, where the narration shifts to the past. She has the consoling thought that God will watch over Rochester, protecting him, and then sleeps the night on the moor. Having spent all of her money on the coach, she walks to a village where she tries, unsuccessfully, to find work. She begs for food and sleeps outdoors at night. On the third night in the area, in pouring rain, she approaches a house in the woods. After observing the people inside, Jane knocks at the door and asks if she can have shelter in an outbuilding and something to eat. Hannah, the servant, tells Jane to go away. Jane collapses on the doorstep, where St. John Rivers finds her. He has overheard the exchange with Hannah, and he asks Jane to come inside, where she meets his sisters, Diana and Mary. She tells them her name is Jane Elliott, and they give her some food and a warm bed to sleep in.

Chapter 29

The Rivers siblings nurse Jane back to health at their home (called both Marsh End and Moor House). Hannah tells her about the Rivers siblings: St. John is the parson at a parish in Morton, a nearby village. Mary and Diana are governesses on leave after the death of their father. Jane tells her rescuers as much of her history as she can, without revealing anything about Thornfield. St. John offers to try to find work for her.

Analysis

On her first night on the heath, Jane feels God's presence in nature. She echoes Helen Burns when she says, "Sure was I of His efficiency to save what He had made: convinced I grew that neither earth should perish, nor one of the souls it treasured." Although Jane has always been interested in religion, she has never embraced it as wholeheartedly as she begins to do now. She has made a major life decision because of the laws of religion, and now she is alone in the world. She clings to that religion in the hope that it will help her heal. Her resolve is bolstered by the vision she had in Chapter 27.

Jane's welcome by the Rivers siblings contrasts with the treatment she experienced from her own family at Gateshead. That this trio is later revealed to be her cousins does not diminish the charity they show when she is a stranger to them.

Jane's taking of the false name Jane Elliott parallels Brontë's own adoption of a pseudonym in writing the book. It also sets up the surprise when her true identity is learned. The name Marsh End signifies that the end of her emotional journey is near in this place.

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