In Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre, why would Jane not stay with Mr. Rochester even if his wife is alive?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Charlotte Brontë's novel, Jane Eyre, Jane leaves Mr. Rochester, and she refuses to return, saying that perhaps they will meet again one day in heaven.

'One instant, Jane. Give one glance to my horrible life when you are gone. All happiness will be torn away with you. What then is left? For a wife I have but the maniac up stairs as well might you refer me to some corpse in yonder churchyard. What shall I do, Jane? Where turn for a companion, and for some hope?'

'Do as I do: trust in God and yourself. Believe in heaven. Hope to meet again there.'

Jane has nowhere to go because she has no family, but is taken in at Moor House, where two sisters and their brother St. John Rivers. Jane learns that they are all related, and that she has inherited money from her uncle. St. John proposes; but then Jane hears Edward's voice calling her one evening, on the wind, and she returns to Thornfield.

Jane refuses to stay with Edward in the first place even though she is in love with him because he is married already. Jane has very strict morals and believes that to stay with Edward would be a sin because he has a wife and is bound by the vows of marriage to her, even if she is insane.

It is only after Thornfield is destroyed by fire, and Bertha, Edward's wife, is killed in the fire (that she set), that Edward is no longer bound by his marriage vows. At this point, Jane returns to Edward, even though his home is destroyed and he is blind. Still in love with Edward, Jane agrees to marry him.

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