In Defense of an Ending: St. John and the Role of Destiny in Jane Eyre
"Reader, I married him," proclaims Jane in the first line of Bronte's famous conclusion to her masterpiece, Jane Eyre (552). The reader, in turn, responds to this powerful line by preparing for what will surely be a satisfying ending: the fairy-tale culmination of a Cinderella-esque novel. Thankfully, Bronte does not disappoint in this regard, as both Jane and, consequently, her readers are swept up in a cloud of matrimonial bliss and unparalleled happiness. "I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth," declares Jane of her dear Rochester (554). Emotion and passion abound in the first few pages of the conclusion. Love, it seems, is everywhere, and sweet fulfillment is granted to both Jane and her faithful readers. Indeed, only one thing can distract the reader from this final note of happiness; only one person can possibly shift the reader's focus from the pervasive sense of joy. Indeed, only St. John himself can mar the last couple of pages.
In the last two pages of the novel, the story of Jane and Rochester is interrupted by the appearance of the frigid St. John. This sudden disruption leaves readers surprised, disappointed, and perhaps even a bit annoyed. Why did...
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