Jane has been through a tremendous deal through the novel so far, and yet she is still as strong as ever. She still has her intentions in the right place, her heart is in the right place and her sense of morals and self-respect are still physically powerful. Jane has now finally met some family after leaving Mr Rochester yet they are all not what she expected. The main issue between St. John and Jane is the fact that he wants to marry Jane, yet he does not do it out of love which completely throws Jane off because she is a very strong believer in love, St John however she will only marry if it is for true love.
When it came to marriage with Rochester, that represented the true meaning of principles for the consummation of passion, however marriage to St. John would mean sacrificing her passion for principles, which she did not believe in. Jane has “entangled feelings” and “restless emotions” towards the proposal of marriage. However she feels she will make the right decision when she declines as Religion comes first for St. John and not love. When he invites her to come to India with him as a missionary, St. John offers Jane the chance to make a more meaningful contribution to society than she would as a housewife.
Life with St. John would mean life without true love, which Jane clearly needs as when she was with Rochester she was very content. In her search for freedom, Jane also struggles with the question of what type of freedom she wants. While Rochester initially offers Jane a chance to liberate her passions, Jane comes to realize that such freedom could also mean enslavement-by living as Rochester’s mistress, she would be sacrificing her dignity and integrity for the sake of her feelings. St. John Rivers offers Jane another kind of freedom: the freedom to act unreservedly on her principles.
He opens to Jane the possibility of exercising her talents fully by working and living with him in India. Jane eventually realizes, though, that this freedom would also constitute a form of imprisonment, because she would be forced to keep her true feelings and her true passions always in check. St Johns proposal can be characterized as unromantic and oppressing since he practically forces Jane to marry him. When she refuses and keeps refusing, St John doesn’t take no for an answer and he keeps on dragging the proposal.
Throughout his proposal St John is passionate and talks with great deal for God, heaven etc. This behaviour suffocates Jane bringing her to the point of asking for mercy. St John tells her that God needs her and he is testing her faith to God. St John talks to Jane like she doesn’t have a mind of her own. He bases his whole proposal on the fact that Jane is the right person for a missionary’s wife. St John is self-interested and pressures Jane he says he claims her. For every negative answer by Jane, St John seems to have planned what to say next.
He is calculative and logically counterbalances Jane’s arguments. He doesn’t give up with Jane. St John supports his answers and points by using the Bible and generally God. He uses God also to test Jane’s faith and obedience to Him. He is cruel and pushes Jane knowing Jane’s belief in God. St John has been observing and studying Jane to see if she is right for the job and has planned everything from the very beginning. St John uses emotional blackmail that tortures Jane mentally. He wants to marry Jane so he can influence her life till her death.
The whole thing is a matter of control. The more he speaks the more Jane feels his influence on her. She feels like she cant do anything to escape. St John is arrogant; he strongly believes Jane should become a part of him. This is what he wants and this is how he wants it. Jane reacts to all these in a passionate and outspoken way. She is not prepared to be controlled or oppressed by anyone. This incident brings up to the surface the character of Jane. She scorns St John’s idea of love and she scorns St John himself. She is direct, unconventional and opinionated.
St John wants to marry Jane not on the idea of love but on the idea that he has to because of obedience to God. Certainly a woman wouldn’t want to get married under those ideas and motives. The more he pressures Jane, the further she goes away. She does not want to marry St John due to his reasons and purposes, she wants a marriage full of love and trust and not one that is just there so St John can go on a missionary. What St John does not understand is that Jane wants a husband who will love her and treat her with respect.
She is not in it for the money, sex and children; she just wants someone to love her. Jane truly starts to repulse St John, when she “shuddered” as he spoke and she tells the reader how she will not give her soul and her self-respect away. “I will give the missionary my energies, but not myself” thus showing how badly she does not want to marry St John. The whole time St John has been asking Jane to go away with him to India she has declined him and shown us how she is stronger than ever. She is standing up to “a brother I can be proud of” and finally someone she does not want to hate or loose.
Yet she feels she must sacrifice her family life in order to make sure she does not receive the life of misery. Charlotte is showing us how much Jane has grown with the past experience of Mr Rochester and how that she will only marry for true love and she has learned not to trust so easily. When St John finally takes the hint that she will not marry him she wishes “he had knocked me down instead” because she would hate to loose another family member when she had just found one. She does not want to hurt his feelings that badly yet on the other hand she must otherwise he will persist until she accepts.
In conclusion the main significance of this part is to show how far Jane has come in terms of growing up and realising what is right and what she wants for herself. She has learnt that she should put herself first when it comes to marriage and things, which concern her majorly. It also shows how the relationship between St John and Jane is a distant one due to their conflict of interests. However I feel that the main point is to show how far Jane has become and how much she has learnt from her previous encounters.