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Summary

What Does the Ending Mean?

Summary What Does the Ending Mean?

After having a vision of Rochester, Jane returns to Thornfield to discover that Bertha has burned the mansion down, leaving Rochester blind and disfigured. With Bertha dead, Jane agrees to marry Rochester. This ending culminates Jane’s quest for stability and happiness. From childhood, Jane depended on the good will of others due to her lack of family and wealth. Now, Jane’s fortune has reversed. In her marriage to Rochester, he must depend on Jane for sight, and she possesses her own fortune. Throughout the novel, Jane has struggled between her passionate nature and the moral wisdom of Christianity. She initially rejects Rochester because she won’t compromise her morals. However, she declares marriage to St. John would be a death sentence because it would mean resigning herself to a loveless marriage. The ending represents a harmony between her two impulses. Jane returns to Rochester on her own terms, with new financial independence and the moral ability to live with Rochester as his true wife. Therefore, she can have both a passionate marriage and a clear conscience. By depicting a governess marrying her master, Brontë celebrates an upending of rigid social class. In validating Jane’s passion, she celebrates women’s desires.