Bronte 32-33 and Posting

Tonight, keep reading… if you haven’t watched the movies yet… flip back through the postings and take a few moments to view the videos. There is a quiz posted… you will need to make a list of detailed facts about the Rivers family and Jane’s stay at Marsh End.

And, now… here is our question for the evening. The every popular literary blog, “But, I Digress…” states this about Mr. Rochester and St. John:

St. John is perhaps either John the Baptist (which would make a bit of sense, a martyr and an ascetic) or John from the gospels (the disciple Jesus loved). The first John, in considering the temperament of St. John Rivers, makes the most obvious sense. St. John Rivers has long been acknowledged as cold, calculating, exacting, ambitious, stoic, severe, etc, and does make himself and his passions martyrs to his religious zeal. On the other hand, we know he has a passionate side from his love for Rosamonde Oliver – albeit an unacknowledged and smothered passion. In this he might be more like the apostle John in a way – he does love. He can love passionately, but he consciously subdues his love to his greater love, which is sometimes difficult to dissect or understand. Does St. John love God with so much cold and fiery passion? Or is it really himself, his own pride of martyrdom, the kind of craze that drives some ascetics to starve themselves or live on top of pillars for years, the kind of passion that is really ambition, that is on the borderline of being pharisaical? I’ve read Jane Eyre many times over the years, and I still can’t figure St. John out. Jane finds him frightening. I think he’s fascinating.
And on the other hand, of course, we have Jane’s choice, Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester is as equally brusque as St. John and as practical and unsparing of the feelings of others. He is also, we might argue, as prideful and ambitious. The main distinctions most people seem to make between Jane’s two suitors is that St. John is holy, cold, and antiseptic while Rochester is a sinner, warm-hearted if tough. As he says of his own heart, it is like an India rubber ball that is very tough, but that can change back with the right encouragement. St. John, on the other hand, is inflexible, like steel.Some critics that I have read have presented the difference between the two as the natural dichotomy of a religious tale – Heaven rejoices more for a repentant sinner than a peerless saint, so Jane, a missionary in her own right, chooses the sinner rather than the saint. Well, that makes sense in a way, I suppose.
Jane’s greatest strength is remaining true to herself by learning how to control herself. Rochester can’t (or won’t) control his feelings, and St. John has so much control that he daily murders his feelings. I think Jane is the stair step between them, rather than simply the spoke. Jane has the potential to become Rochester or St. John. She could give in to her passions as she did when she was younger (that was for justice’s sake) and the even more powerful motivator of love is very convincing. But she doesn’t. She can sacrifice. She already even has a bit of a taste for self-mortification. She and St. John could be a pretty pair of masochists. She could spend her life in achieving something she already knows is impossible. She’s already skilled in self-deprivation.But she doesn’t. But the only reason she doesn’t is because of a miracle. For Jane, the right answer is to go with St. John and become the next thing – to bury that passionate part of her once and for all and realize that she really is formed for labor, not love. It’s only though a miracle that she doesn’t go down this road.
So, the question is left to you…  Who is St John? How does he fall into this love story? What part of the love triangle does he complete? As part of the biblical allegory…how does he fit/what role does he play? * Make notes to whether you agree or disagree with the above cited blog.
(Note: postings need to be more than a few sentences, I am not asking for a novel, but I am asking for full and complete thoughts that answer the questions.)
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  1. hampizza

    St. John was the person who took in Jane to the church after she left Thornfield. He is the exact opposite of Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester is very passionate, but St. John is very emotionless and dull. St. John wants Jane to marry him, but she does not want to. Eventually when Jane is about to give in, she goes back and marries Mr. Rochester. St. John is another person trying to chase Jane in this love triangle. As a biblical allegory, ST. John could be either of the Johns, but he is very similar to John the Baptist. For example, both of the Johns sacrifice their normal, everyday lives to an extent that most people do not even think about. I agree with the above blog until the point where the author talks about how Jane should have married St. John. First, I believe she should not have married her cousin, and second, her personality is more fitting for Mr. Rochester.

  2. alexharakas

    I agree with the blog posting. It is evident that Jane is the medium between the two extremes of ST. John and Rochester, which makes this an ironic love triangle. St.John is very controlled and reserved, whereas Rochester is reckless in expressing his feelings. Like both of them, Jane has passion and could easily become either of them. The question is, which person is better equipped to compliment and maintain her personality as a partner? I believe St. John fits the role of John the Baptist as opposed to John the beloved disciple. His temperament more accurately fits that of John the Baptist. Although he loves Rosamond, he does not represent John the apostle because he restrains his love. I do agree with the article that Jane should have married St. John. St. John would quickly influence Jane to restrain her emotions as well, because that capacity is already within her personality. Rochester’s passion will enhance Jane’s vivacity, and Jane will tone him down a bit, making them complementary life partners.

  3. kadenheadington

    St. John is very dull and cold hearted. He is the complete opposite of Rochester. In this story St. John wants to marry Jane, but Jane does not feel the same way. There are three parts to this love triangle. Rochester is warm hearted and interesting, while St. John is cold hearted and dull. Jane completes this love triangle because her personality is the two men combined. At times she can be bubbly and other times she is very submissive. I think St. John is more like John the Baptist. Not only does St. John’s symbols match up to John the Baptist more, but he also acts much more like him. I agree with the blog because I believe Jane can be both men. Also, I think Jane should have married Sinjun. Sinjun would help Jane control her feelings much better.

  4. taylornicholas13

    St. John Rivers is a foil character to Mr. Rochester, and also the exact opposite of him. Mr. Rochester is always described as warm and fiery, whereas St. John is always described as cold. I think the love triangle played an important role in the story, because everything St. John was, Mr. Rochester wasn’t. So I think the purpose of St. John in this novel was to show Jane how much she loved Rochester through his polar opposite characteristics. As a part of the Biblical allegory I think he plays the role of John the Baptist, pointing the way not to himself, but to the savior, Mr. Rochester.

  5. adriennedwyer

    St. John is Jane’s cousin who takes her in after she left Thornfield. St. John and Rochester serve as complete opposites: Rochester being fiercely passionate and emotional, and St. John, coldly reserved and emotionless. St. John completes the love triangle as Jane’s second choice other than Rochester. St. John better fits the role of John the Baptist in that he restrains his wild emotions very well and that his characteristics highlight those of Rochester, the savior in Jane Eyre, just as John the Baptist highlighted the coming of Jesus Christ. I do not agree with the blog posting saying that Jane should marry St, John. Jane already possesses a personality similar to St. John cold emotionless one. Mr. Rochester’s fiery and passionate personality balances out Jane’s rather cold one, and vice versa, making them a complementary pairing.

  6. ashleyfabella

    I do not agree with this blog posting because St. John and Jane have very similar characteristic traits. St. John and Jane both hold their emotions in to themselves and do not really express themselves. Mr. Rochester, on the other hand, is very passionate and expresses what he wants and when he wants it. Mr. Rochester is very flexible like rubber; while St. John is stiff and emotionless. St. John’s desire to marry Jane is not a good match because their personalities would clash; while Jane and Rochester’s personalities would be a perfect match because “opposites attract”. St. John symbolizes John the Baptist because he does things that are not normal and he points the way to Rochester, the Savior, for Jane.

  7. peytonpointer

    St. John is secretly Jane’s cousin who takes her in after she leaves Thornfield. I agree with the blog posting I think that St. John could represent John the Baptist, because he leads Jane to the savior or Mr. Rochester. St. John and Mr. Rochester are complete opposites, St. John is more reserved and cold, while Mr. Rochester is fiery and reckless. I think that St. John adds an interesting twist to the love story of Jane and Mr. Rochester. I do think that Mr. Rochester and Jane should be together, because their personalities are more suited towards each other, rather than St. John and Jane who are a little similar to be a good match.

  8. kantakato1

    I do not agree with he blog posting that St. John should marry Jane. St. John and Rochester have very opposite characteristics as St. John is cold and dull while Rochester is emotional and passionate. In the love triangle, St. John fits in as the person that Rochester was not. He is there as another person after Rochester as another person to be with and have Jane love him. They both had an affect on Jane’s life as one had a bigger voice than the other. St. John is most like John the Baptist because he does not really think more of himself as he sacrifices his life and points his life to the savior. Jane should not marry her cousin as they do have similar personalities, but I think Jane is most fitted to be with Rochester as they learned a lot from each other and learned each others different personalities.

  9. sarahjwilcox

    St. John is, in everyone’s surprise, Jane’s cousin who takes Jane in after running from Thornfield. St. John is a very important part of this infamous love triangle by completing it. He is everything that Mr. Rochester is not, Mr. Rochester is fiery and a sinner while St. John is described as very cold and holy. St. john more likely resembles John the Baptist not only through the fact that they are both holy but they both give up something to be this holy. I think the thing that St. John gives up his fieriness and sets it to the side to become more and more holy, but this does not mean you cant be holy by being fiery. John the Baptist gives up everything, he is living alone in the wilderness with the ‘luxury” of the locust diet. All in all, I believe Jane is better suited with Rochester because they both had a passion for each other and Rochester completes Jane and vice versa with the fact that he is fiery and Jane has a colder passion that can be a perfect match in some cases.

  10. kylethorin

    St. John took Jane in when she was at his doorstep at Marsh End, so he is plays a big part in Jane’s life and Jane is very grateful for him. He is also Jane’s cousin, but it is clear that he loves Jane in a special way. Just how Blanche Ingram, Mr. Rochester, and Jane Eyre made a love triangle centering around Mr. Rochester… St. John, Mr. Rochester, and Jane Eyre make another love triangle. I agree with the passage when it says, “The main distinctions most people seem to make between Jane’s two suitors is that St. John is holy, cold, and antiseptic while Rochester is a sinner, warm-hearted if tough.” St. John more closely resembles John the Baptist, rather than John the apostle because he controls his feelings and “does make himself and his passions martyrs to his religious zeal.” I think the passage is trying to point us to the fact that Jane should marry St. John over Mr. Rochester. I disagree with this for two reasons: first, I believe that it is not right to marry your cousin; second, I think that Mr. Rochester and Jane’s personality counter-balance each other more.

  11. kl1214

    St. John is Jane’s cousin who takes her into his home when seeing that she had no other place to stay. He and Mr. Rochester are complete opposites. St. John is a cold fellow whereas Mr. Rochester is very fierce and passionate. They along with Jane form a love triangle being that St. John asks her to marry him and practically forces her to accept his proposal (she manages to escape such a request). St. John resembled John the Baptist MORE because he can control his emotions. I believe that Mr. Rochester and Jane are better suited with each other because they balance each other out.

  12. loganoviatt

    St. John is icy character. He is cold as the ice he associates with. Contrarily, Mr. Rochester is fire. He is the epitome of passion and intensity. With that said, the two men are obvious foil characters for one another. Their intense contrast bring out aspects of each other. Despite this, they have a single commonality, Jane. Jane is equilibrium between the two, being both fire and ice. St. John best fits into the biblical allegory as John the Baptist due to his well composed nature. He also points to a savior character (Mr. Rochester) rather than become one himself. I do not believe that Jane should marry St. John. Her love for Mr. Rochester is already well situated in the story and I personally do not see her putting herself in another position to be hurt by another person.

  13. Amelia Navarro

    St. John is an Ice character because he does not love Jane the way Rochester does. St. John always gives jane the cold shoulder and does not show sacrificial love towards her which is what she seeks. She wants security in being independent and St. John does not provide that for her. St. John doesn’t give Jane the opportunity to go with him because all he wanted was someone to support him.

  14. Amelia Navarro

    St. John completes the love triangle in that his color blue and Jane’s color red mixed together create the color purple of Rochester. So together Jane and St. John make the Savior but St. John alone does not save Jane or give her the freedom to be herself as an independent woman. Rochester offers Jane freedom and St. John does not provide the security of freedom for her. St. John is the biblical character of John the baptist. John the Baptist was a loner and worked better w=spreading the word of god alone. St. John also worked better alone and didn’t need a wife to love but rather a wife to support him.

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