Study Guide

Jane Eyre Volume 3, Chapter 5

By Charlotte Brontë

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Volume 3, Chapter 5

  • Jane moves into her little cottage, which is simple but adequate.
  • This was Jane’s first day teaching at the new school; she has twenty students, only three of whom can read, so she’s got her work cut out for her. She knows that she’s doing really useful work, but she still feels like she’s taken a step down on the social scale (which she has).
  • Jane reminds herself that her current situation is better than being Rochester’s mistress, but she doesn’t seem to believe her own argument—she starts crying.
  • St. John shows up, bringing Jane some drawing materials from his sisters. He asks how everything is going, and she says that it’s wonderful, and she’s grateful things are going so well for her when, a few days ago, she was homeless and friendless.
  • St. John counsels Jane to keep trying to master her emotions and overcome her own desire to go back to whatever it is that she left. He tells her about his own experience denying himself—a year ago, he thought that he hated being a priest, but then he felt called by God to become a missionary. There’s only one more desire he needs to overcome before he can go East, he says.
  • A young woman comes up and wishes St. John good evening. St. John completely freaks out for a moment, but then calms himself down and turns to talk to her. Jane notices how beautiful the woman is.
  • It turns out that this is Miss (Rosamond) Oliver, the daughter of the man who’s paying Jane’s salary. Miss Oliver says she’ll come and help Jane out at the school sometimes.
  • Miss Oliver tries to talk to St. John about normal things like a recent dance, but St. John is cold and disapproving.
  • Miss Oliver gently teases St. John, saying that the dog, Carlo, would be more friendly to her. St. John blushes and his chest heaves, but he doesn’t really respond.
  • Miss Oliver invites St. John to come with her and see her father—she’s on her way home—but St. John refuses. Miss Oliver thinks he’s upset about his sisters leaving for their new jobs.

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