jane eyre book chapters 28-35
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We have seen before how each journey she makes moves her from one stage of her life to the next; this journey is physically the toughest of them all – not only must she endure the mental agony of leaving Rochester, but also physical privations, having to sleep outside and beg for leftover scraps of food.
Jane wanders aimlessly on, becoming increasingly distressed, and eventually finds herself guided towards a house by a mysterious light: “My eye still roved over the sullen swell and along the moor-edge, vanishing amidst the wildest scenery, when at one dim point, far in among the marshes and the ridges, a light sprang up” (chapter 28).
On arrival at the house, Jane is taken in by the kindly occupants, Diana and Mary Rivers, and their brother St. John. It is for this huge coincidence that the novel has received most criticism: these turn out to be Jane’s cousins. Modern readers find it hard to accept that Jane’s seemingly random travels lead her to the door of her only family: we must suspend our disbelief and understand that Fate has brought her here, guiding her through her hour of need to the very people who can help her.