by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre Volume 3, Chapter 3 Summary
READ THE BOOK: Volume 3, Chapter 3
- For three days, Jane lies in the bed mostly unconscious while Diana, Mary, and Hannah take care of her. She does hear and understand some of the things that are said around her, and she hears the ladies discussing her and figuring out that she must be educated based on her accent, clothes, and facial features.
- St. John only comes into Jane’s room once to look at her; he decides that she doesn’t need a doctor, just rest, and analyzes her facial features a little more. (Once again, people are judging each other based on phrenology!)
- On the fourth day, Jane is able to sit up, talk, and even get dressed and go downstairs. She finds Hannah baking bread in the kitchen.
- Hannah is still suspicious of Jane and asks whether she’s been a beggar before. Jane tells Hannah that, even though she doesn’t have money or a home at the moment, she is educated and able to earn her keep, and plans to work again.
- Jane insists on helping Hannah with her work in the kitchen and asks Hannah questions about the family who has taken her in. She discovers that Diana, Mary, and St. John are siblings; their last name is Rivers; their mother has been dead for a long time; and their father died three weeks ago. Hannah has been the family’s servant for thirty years and nursed all the children when they were young. Their house is called Moor House (or sometimes Marsh End).
- Once they’re a little more comfortable with each other, Jane rebukes Hannah for thinking badly of her just because she’s poor. She reminds Hannah that Christians don’t consider poverty a crime, and they agree to be friends.
- Jane learns even more about the Rivers family from Hannah: they were once wealthy; Mrs. Rivers was highly educated and taught all her children to love learning; and St. John is going to be a clergyman while his sisters are going to be governesses, since their father lost all his money.
- St. John, Diana, and Mary come home from their walk. The ladies insist that Jane come and sit with them in the parlor and have tea with them.
- While Diana and Mary get the tea, Jane is briefly left alone with St. John, who strikes her as an intense, harsh person.
- During tea, St. John cross-examines Jane about her background, even though his sisters object to his attitude. Jane tells him that she has no home, friends, or family, that she’s never been married, and that she won’t tell him where she last lived.
- St. John asks how he can help Jane if he doesn’t know her story, and she tells him that all she really wants is work. He agrees to help her try to find a job.
- Jane decides to tell the Rivers siblings as much as possible about her life without giving away that she was at Thornfield or knew Mr. Rochester, so she tells them the short version of her autobiography. You know, school at Lowood as a pupil and a teacher, and then a position as a governess. She still won’t tell them why she left her last job, although she says that she isn’t at fault.
- Jane’s almost home free when one of the sisters calls her "Miss Elliott," and her reaction proves that’s not her real name. St. John notices, and Jane admits that it’s a pseudonym.
- Diana and Mary are ready to pretty much adopt Jane into the family, but St. John is more interested in empowering her to earn her own living. For the moment, though, they agree that Jane can live with them.
READ THE BOOK: Volume 3, Chapter 3