SPOILERS EVERYWHERE! Run while you can!
How many of you missed the Thornhill atmosphere in this section? I know I sure did, especially in the beginning. I was terribly relieved that St. John, Mary, and Diana took Jane in off their doorstep in her greatest hour of need, but it was also nice to see Jane make her way on her own through their friendship and her employment as the school mistress. She was not dependent on a romantic involvement to take care of herself.
I wasn't sure what to make of the serious and brooding St. John at first. I vacillated between liking him and really not. His severity was grating. In the beginning I didn't mind so much simply because it seemed he liked Jane and wanted to push her to be the best she could be. Though when she refused his offer of marriage in favor of following her own conscience and level head, I wanted to smack him for his ugly behavior and scathing words. What a self-righteous ass.
This section was quite twisty in its relationships with the Rivers family, and also with the revelations and Jane's newfound fortune. I let out a squeal and an OMG when St. John laid out his hand and told Jane her own story and revealed that the mutual uncle had given his fortune to Jane. Maybe I should've seen it coming, but I so DID NOT.
I was slightly surprised that Jane abandoned her post as the school mistress. I really thought she would stay the course to assuage her own boredom, but I suppose it's just a sign of her restlessness and her need to challenge herself intellectually that she left her "scholars," decided to visit them once per week instead of teaching full-time, and pursued her own interests and comfort as an independent woman.
It was in getting to know St. John that I really let all of Rochester's crap go. He's truly a foil to Rochester. While Rochester played his dating games to figure out whether Jane returned his feelings, it was all in the name of genuine affection. St. John is cold and calculating in his judgement and expectations. Rochester is obviously a far better choice and when Jane is reunited with him I cried all the tears and felt all the feels.
It really was in dealing with St. John that I thought Jane might buckle and go against her own feelings of rightness for the first time.
I was tempted to be disappointed that Jane only found true and abiding happiness through marriage. It seems slightly at odds with the rest of the novel's stance. However, her relationship with Rochester seems spirited but somewhat tempered through his new home at Ferndean, as well as his injuries. Jane also knows her mind the best she's known it throughout the novel because she finally attained her autonomy before returning to Rochester.
I loved this novel. Loved loved loved it! And It's one I will most definitely re-read.