St. John Rivers Characters

Decent Essays
Most women find St. John Rivers attractive and so does Jane when she first meets him. “He was young—perhaps twenty-eight to thirty—tall, slender; his face riveted the eye; it was like a Greek face, very pure in outline: quite a straight, classic nose; quite an Athenian mouth and chin” (p 294). His appearance alone would meet the requirements of a spouse for many women. He must have been very, very good-looking because Jane feels that is his only positive characteristic. Underneath his chiseled good looks, he is rather bland and pious, and emotionless.

The only area in St. John Rivers’ life where he seems to be emotional is in the company of Rosemond Oliver. "It is strange," pursued he, "that while I love Rosamond Oliver so wildly—with
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John Rivers. As a friendship develops, she discovers his coldness. He cares only for religion, and its role in elevating his status. When he proposes to Jane, it’s more like a job offer than a proposal. Jane learns that her primary concern in marrying is romance, so she is repulsed by his offer. “He prizes me as a soldier would a good weapon; and that is all. Unmarried to him, this would never grieve me; but can I let him complete his calculations—coolly put into practice his plans—go through the wedding ceremony? Can I receive from him the bridal ring, endure all the forms of love (which I doubt not he would scrupulously observe) and know that the spirit was quite absent? Can I bear the consciousness that every endearment he bestows is a sacrifice made on principle? No: such a martyrdom would be monstrous” (p 345). It’s not the work that scares her away; it’s St. John Rivers and his idea of a heartless marriage that causes Jane’s refusal.

The relationship between Jayne and St. John Rivers is nothing more than a friendship. For St. John Rivers this is a positive thing, but for Jayne a friendship is simply less than she is looking for in a partner. She wants love and connection. While St. John Rivers’ looks alone would satisfy most women, Jayne would take a burned and scarred husband over being a colleague to the man she
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