Jane Eyre Chapter 32–33 Summary and Analysis
by Charlotte Brontë

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Chapter 32–33 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 32:

Over time, Jane’s young pupils begin to make an improvement, and her confidence as a teacher grows. Jane becomes especially fond of some of her older pupils and is regularly invited into their homes. Eventually, Jane becomes quite popular in the village and is met with “cordial salutations” and “friendly smiles” when she walks through town. She finds herself settling in and becoming quite happy, though she still has reoccurring, frenzied dreams about Mr. Rochester. Miss Oliver regularly visits the school, and Jane notices that she seems to time her visits for when St. John will be around. Jane observes that Miss Oliver is a charming person, though not particularly deep or interesting. One day, she draws Miss Oliver’s portrait and so impresses Mr. Oliver that he invites her to their home. During this visit, Jane realizes that Mr. Oliver greatly respects the Rivers family and would not oppose a marriage between his daughter and St. John. Emboldened by this knowledge, Jane attempts to play matchmaker and bluntly tells St. John that Miss Oliver has feelings for him. He admits that he does love Miss Oliver but says that he could never marry her because she would make a poor missionary’s wife. When Jane suggests that he could abandon his plans to become a missionary, John responds that no earthly pleasure could tempt him away from his religious ambitions. Before he leaves, St. John shows an unusual interest in a scrap of paper, and Jane watches him surreptitiously tear off a small piece. She recognizes the paper as a scrap upon which she tested her paint and pencil but cannot understand his actions.

Chapter 33:

One night, Jane’s reading is interrupted by a surprise visit from St. John. He launches into a story about how a poor clergyman fell in love with a wealthy young woman and married her, much to the chagrin of all her friends. The pair died a few years after the wedding, and their only child, a daughter, was sent to live with a Mrs. Reed of Gateshead. At this point, Jane starts, realizing that St. John is talking about her. He continues to relate her journey from Gateshead to Lowood to Thornfield and even reveals that he knows about her ruined wedding and Mr. Rochester’s deception. Jane does not reveal herself to be Jane Eyre immediately, and St. John informs her that a solicitor named Mr. Briggs has posted advertisements everywhere seeking a Miss Jane Eyre. Thinking that this search must be on Mr. Rochester’s orders, Jane begs St. John for information on Mr. Rochester’s well-being. St. John informs her that Mr. Rochester is uninvolved and tells her that Jane Eyre is being sought because her uncle, John Eyre, has died and left her twenty thousand pounds. Shocked, Jane finally admits that her real last name is Eyre, not Elliot.

St. John reveals that he was already suspicious that Jane might be the woman Mr. Briggs was seeking, but he became more certain when he noticed the name “Jane Eyre” scribbled on a scrap of paper in her cottage. Wondering why Mr. Briggs would have contacted St. John at all, Jane presses St. John until he admits that his full name is St. John Eyre Rivers. He explains that his mother’s name was Eyre and that she had two brothers: Jane’s father and Mr. John Eyre, Jane’s uncle. When Jane could not be found after fleeing Thornfield, Mr. Briggs contacted St. John to see whether he knew of his relative’s whereabouts. Jane realizes that this means the Rivers are her cousins and the unknown relative to whom their uncle left his fortune is, in fact, herself. Delighted to have found a family and uncomfortable with the idea of being extremely wealthy herself, Jane insists on sharing the money equally between the four of them. Though her cousins protest, Jane insists, and eventually they all receive five thousand pounds. St. John points out that, with twenty thousand pounds, Jane could make an impressive marriage, but Jane tells him she will never marry.


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(The entire section is 1,300 words.)