Jane Eyre: Novel Summary: Chapters 31-32
Chapter 31: Jane describes her home in Morton as a cottage, and says that her furniture is useful yet humble. It is the evening of the first day of class, and Jane relates that she has twenty students, only three of which can read. She sees challenges ahead, and though she feels that she may not enjoy her new life, she will try. Jane goes outside to look around and is met there by St. John who brings her a present from his sisters of some drawing materials. He asks how she likes her new position, and she says that she does. He tells her that a year ago he had become miserable and had thought it a mistake that he had joined the ministry. He had then decided to become a missionary and is happy in the planning for it and believes he will travel from Europe for the East. Just then Miss Oliver, an heiress and the patron of the school, arrives. Jane sees that she is quite beautiful and that she has an affect on St. John. She asks Jane how she likes the school and her house and says that she will come and help her teach sometimes. Miss Oliver tries to get St. John to return with her to the house so he can visit her father, but he makes up excuses and the three part ways.
Chapter 32: Jane continues her work at the school, and she soon notices that some of the girls are polite and try to do their work well, and this encourages her. She relates that she has become a favorite in the community, and that she often gets salutations and smiles. While she is happier now, she does have dreams at night of Mr. Rochester. Miss Oliver keeps her word and comes to the school, usually timing her visits with when Mr. St. John is giving his lesson to the girls. She seems to know her power over him, but it seems as if he would not let it consume him, as he wants to be a missionary.
One day when Miss Oliver is visiting Jane in her home, she finds her drawings and asks her to do one of her. The next day Mr. Oliver accompanies Miss Oliver on her visit to Jane, and Jane is invited to their home of Vale Hall. Through the conversation, Jane comes to understand that Mr. Oliver likes Mr. St. John and seemingly would not oppose a match between him and his daughter. Soon after, St. John visits Jane as she is finishing her picture of Miss Oliver. She shows it to him, asking if he would like her to make him a copy. She tells him that Miss Oliver seems to like him. He replies that he does love her, but that he feels she would not be a good wife for him, as he cannot give up the plan of being a missionary. As he looks at the picture again, he notices the piece of paper that Jane rests her hand on, tears a piece off of it and bids Jane good-bye. Jane looks at the paper but sees nothing but a few marks she has made.