Jane Eyre: The Ending

All throughout reading Jane Eyre, just when I thought I knew where this story was going a plot twist was thrown in to refute all expectations. The end of this story took me by complete surprise. Not only did Jane go back to Thornfield to marry Mr. Rochester but discovered that the house was in shambles and Mr. Rochester was disabled. This marks a huge turning point in the life of Mr. Rochester. He is a man that lived his whole life with wealth and power. He had the freedom to marry Bertha and then shun her. With his money had the resources he needed to keep her out of his life, shut up in a house he rarely goes to and cared for by a servant. Mr. Rochester was then able to travel the world looking for a “better” wife. Now Mr. Rochester is disabled himself and is forced to rely on others as he is no longer able to navigate the world alone.

In my previous blog post I wrote about how Bertha’s disability was villainized by Mr. Rochester. This turn of fate seems to serve as a punishment for the way Mr. Rochester treated Bertha. He treated her as less than human, locked up in a room for years, she must have suffered immensely alone with a mental illness. Now it’s Mr. Rochester’s turn to suffer in the dark and without the use of a hand.

“One morning at the end of the two years, as I was writing a letter to his dictation, he came and bent over me, and said—‘Jane, have you a glittering ornament round your neck?’…When his firstborn was put into his arms, he could see that boy had inherited his own eyes—large, brilliant, and black”

Brontè 491-492

In the end, Mr. Rochester gets everything he wanted, he seemingly magically regains his eyesight. He gets to be married to Jane and even regains his sight in time to see his first son. I feel like Mr. Rochester was let off easy. He locked his first wife in a room for years and did nothing to ease her suffering. He searched for a new wife, even while still married to Bertha, and grew to resent each and every one of them. Yet he got to marry the love of his life and have the worst of his disability lifted before he missed anything too important. This ending plays into a common trope where disabled people get their disabilities lifted so they can have a ‘happy ending.’ This is exactly what happened to Mr. Rochester and after all he did, I thought this was a disappointing way to end Jane Eyre after the journey she took us on.

7 thoughts on “Jane Eyre: The Ending

  1. I honestly never really thought about how Rochester’s world was turned upside down after the accident occurred. He had power and fortune, but had no real love. You can argue whether or not Jane and Rochester are truly in love. Something that does seem pretty clear at this point, is that Rochester needs help to live the rest of his life as a disabled person (partially blind and without a hand.) However, even though Rochester becomes disabled, I DO agree with you that he defiantly got off to easy (especially after all of the horrible things he has done.)

  2. The idea of needing to “be cured” of some aspect of disability in order to be happy reminds me of the attitude some people have towards mental disability in particular. The idea that you just need to “choose” to be happy in order to not be depressed anymore, or that you just need to “decide” not to be anxious in order to not have anxiety. Like the bs idea of some magic wand you can wave to cure yourself. Anyway, I dislike this trope and agree that it was disappointing at the end.

    1. I feel the same way… this was a disgusting ending. I totally get that feeling of a “magic wand” like you said, Mr. Rochester basically got no repercussions for sucking and being a complete douche. I HATE this “magic wand” trope of everything being cured in the end… real life sucks, and if I saw Mr. Rochester in person it would be on SIGHT. My girl Jane should’ve kicked his butt with Miss Bertha. Screw Mr. Rochester.

  3. I completely agree with your disappointment in the ending of this novel. I would have love if say, Rochester got locked in an attic, Jane takes Bertha to get some proper help, and they end up as friends or something like that. Who wants to read a story where the controlling abuser still has control in the end? We see enough of that in real life. I think a stronger ending would have been one of of female bonding and resilience.

    1. I know, right!? What was that about? Yes Jane and Bertha as besties, Mr. Rochester in the dog house… that’s more like it. I also am much in favor of the female bonding and resilience ending.

  4. Mr. Rochester sucks. He deserves to drink out of a straw. I personally hate this “happy ending” for him. And I also don’t like that Jane went back to Mr. Rochester, especially not after he kept his first wife locked in his attic.

  5. I hate the ending. Happy endings like that make me angry. Especially when Rochester is seeminly ‘punished’ by having a disability and rewarded when it is lifted. That isn’t how disabilities work. They aren’t a punishment and Rochester is still the abuser who shut up his wife in an attic and belittled Jane.

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