And if I had loved him less I should have thought his accent and look of exultation savage; but…I thought only of the bliss given me to drink in so abundant a flow. Again and again he said, “Are you happy, Jane?” And again and again I answered, “Yes.” After which he murmured, “It will atone—it will atone. Have I not found her friendless, and cold, and comfortless? Will I not guard, and cherish, and solace her?...It will expiate at God’s tribunal. I know my Maker sanctions what I do. For the world’s judgment—I wash my hands thereof. For man’s opinion—I defy it.”
Jane recalls her immediate blissful reaction to Mr. Rochester’s declaration of love and proposal of marriage in Chapter 23. Mr. Rochester’s exclamations reveal his devotion to and passion for Jane. Together, Jane and Mr. Rochester represent the theme of genuine love despite significant differences and the social judgment they will face.
There was no harassing restraint, no repressing of glee and vivacity, with him; for with him I was at perfect ease, because I knew I suited him; all I said or did seemed either to console or revive him. Delightful consciousness! It brought to life and light my whole nature; in his presence I thoroughly lived, and he lived in mine. Blind as he was, smiles played over his face, joy dawned on his forehead; his lineaments softened and warmed.
Just after Jane and Mr. Rochester reunite after their long separation, Jane describes how she immediately feels at ease with him and how seamlessly they interact despite having been apart for so long. In this revelation that they can truly be themselves with one another, the couple exemplifies the novel’s theme of true love. Jane has always longed for this type of love and acceptance, and finally, in this moment, she has it all.
“He sees nothing attractive in me; not even youth—only a few useful mental points…Oh, you need not be jealous!...But if you wish me to love you, could you but see how much I do love you, you would be proud and content. All my heart is yours, sir; it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.”
Jane is speaking to Mr. Rochester as they discuss their relationship in the day following their long-awaited reunion. Jane starts by characterizing her relationship with St. John Rivers, identifying how St. John lacked a true love for Jane. Then, she clearly declares her love for Mr. Rochester. The contrast between Jane’s relationships with St. John and Mr. Rochester highlights the theme of love present in this novel, especially as Jane chooses love in the end.
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