How does St.John refer to Jane's appearance on page 345? Why did Bronte reiterate this description of Jane's physical appearance?  

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My page numbers do not match yours, but I believe you are referring to St. John's description of Jane as being "'formed for labour, not for love.'"  He wants her to accompany him to India to be a missionary, and he believes that "'God and nature intended [her] for a missionary's wife" because she is so mentally capable and not physically beautiful.  Again, attention is drawn to Jane's plainness and to her lack of physical beauty just as it has been for so much of her life.  St. John says that he "claims" her, "'not for [his] pleasure, but for [his] Sovereign's service.'"  He seems to believe that she was made for work and not for pleasure, simply because of her physical appearance.  He sees her rationally and not passionately.  He feels that the way she looks on the outside must match the way she must feel on the inside, and he insists that they marry (though they are not in love with one another) in order for their trip to India to be a socially proper one.  St. John fails to understand, though, that Jane needs passion too, that her appearance neither mirrors nor determines her feelings.  Though she does not appear to be formed "for love," this does not mean that she doesn't want to be loved.  Perhaps Bronte draws attention, again, to Jane's appearance in order to contrast it, thematically, with her rich emotional life: don't judge a book by its cover.  Or perhaps Bronte does this in order to convey they idea that being loved either for one's mind or one's beauty is inadequate for one who is truly worth having; Jane's intelligence and passion and independence render her beautiful to one who understands and appreciates them.

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Jane Eyre

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