Study Guide

Jane Eyre Volume 3, Chapter 6

By Charlotte Brontë

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Volume 3, Chapter 6

  • Jane keeps teaching at the village school in Morton. At first it’s really difficult work, but soon she starts making progress and feeling good about it. Everyone in the area seems to like her, which makes things even more pleasant.
  • At night, however, Jane has weird dreams about Mr. Rochester.
  • Rosamond Oliver goes to the school regularly, usually in the morning at the same time that St. John is there giving the girls a religious lesson. He blushes intensely and almost angrily when she comes in.
  • Miss Oliver knows that St. John is in love with her—he doesn’t hide it, but he refuses to act on his feelings. Rosamond pouts about this.
  • Miss Oliver also visits Jane at her cottage. Jane decides that she is "coquettish, but not heartless; exacting, but not worthlessly selfish" (3.6.7)—which means that she’s a little bit superficial and demanding, but not a bad person. Jane thinks she’s a bit like Adèle (but older, of course).
  • Rosamond likes Jane and suspects that there’s an exciting romantic story in her past. One evening, Rosamond goes through Jane’s things and finds some French and German books and sketches.
  • Rosamond asks Jane to do a portrait of her and Jane agrees.
  • Jane gets to know Rosamond’s father, Mr. Oliver, and the two of them comment on the fact that she seems smart enough to be a governess. Jane also learns that Mr. Oliver respects St. John and his family background, but thinks that St. John becoming a missionary is a waste.
  • On a school holiday, Jane is sitting alone at home, finishing the picture of Rosamond Oliver, when St. John drops by to bring her a new book to read. When he sees the portrait, he becomes disturbed.
  • Jane asks St. John about the portrait for a bit, and eventually he admits that he knows it’s of Rosamond. She offers to make a copy for him—if he will admit that he wants one.
  • St. John admits that he wants a copy of the picture, but says that it wouldn’t be good for him to have it.
  • Jane decides to play matchmaker. She knows Rosamond loves St. John, she knows St. John loves Rosamond, and she knows Rosamond’s father would be okay with their marriage.
  • St. John isn’t angry—actually, he seems glad to be able to talk about it for once. He takes out his watch and puts it on the table, telling Jane that they can talk about Rosamond for fifteen minutes. He imagines what his life would be like if he decided to marry her and forget his plan of being a missionary.
  • When the fifteen minutes are over, he stops thinking about this temptation. He tells Jane that he knows Rosamond could never be a missionary’s wife—she wouldn’t like it or be good at it. He knows that, on a practical level, he would regret marrying her.
  • Jane reminds St. John how much he loves Rosamond—he blushes and shakes whenever she comes in the room. He tells her that’s just a fleshly thing and that really he’s a "cold, hard man."
  • Jane doesn’t believe him, and he tells her that, for example, he only takes an interest in her because she is hardworking and diligent—not because she suffered.
  • St. John pulls a piece of scrap paper over the portrait so that he doesn’t have to look at it anymore—and then he sees something on the paper that really surprises him. Jane can’t figure out what it is, but he tears off a piece and keeps it.

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