The Ending of Jane Eyre is Amazing and Here’s Why



I finally did it — here is my long winded explanation of why I love the ending of Jane Eyre. We also have a nice detour into literary theory, including death of the author and intent vs. impact of classics on today’s readers.

00:00:00 – Intro
00:04:03 – How We Interpret the Classics
00:24:28 – Jane Eyre as a Romance
00:40:35 – Jane Eyre’s Character Arcs
01:15:38- Conclusion

“Death of the Author” by Lindsay Ellis – https://youtu.be/MGn9x4-Y_7A
“The Most Whitewashed Character in Literary History” by Lindsay Ellis. – https://youtu.be/XrhrXTDeue0

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Books Mentioned (all links are affiliated):

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte – https://amzn.to/3u93Toy
ON DECONSTRUCTION by Jonathan Culler – https://amzn.to/3u7JjVy
WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys – https://amzn.to/3fG85a3
S/Z by Roland Barthes – https://amzn.to/3u9U1uC
ADVENTURE, MYSTERY, AND ROMANCE by John Cawelti – https://amzn.to/3oDXiB7
AN AESTHETICS OF JUNK FICTION by Thomas Roberts – https://amzn.to/3oAHcZa
FANTASY AND RECONCILIATION by Kay Mussell – https://amzn.to/3uc6rlH
FOR LOVE AND MONEY by Laura Vivanco – https://amzn.to/3yymsFR
A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE ROMANCE by Pamela Regis – https://amzn.to/3u6Qr4l
THE BRONTES AND THEIR BACKGROUND by Tom Winnifreth – https://amzn.to/2SZr0or
THE BRONTES AND RELIGION by Marianne Thormahlen – https://amzn.to/3oFx69a
INVENTING THE INDIVIDUAL by Larry Siedentop – https://amzn.to/3wqWvGE

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26 Comments
  1. I read Jane Eyre because a friend recommended I read it before reading Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair. The two books together made high school me appreciate the ending of Jane Eyre 😁

  2. the reunion scene at the end of jane eyre is my Number One most reread scene in any book i own and i love it even more every time

  3. wow. this was a fantastic essay. I especially appreciate your deep dive into the historical context of Jane Eyre. I always feel like I'm missing something with classics because I don't have that layer of knowledge and you perfectly filled that gap in this video

  4. ‘Yikes on bikes’ is so good 😆

  5. I love Jane Eyre! It's one of my favorite books, and every time I read it, I love it even more. I like the ending because I believe that Rochester truly changes and becomes a better person, and that Jane and Rochester meet on even ground for a more balanced relationship than they have in the beginning.
    I love your astute analysis of Jane's character and the role of faith in the story!

  6. I definitely agree with your points about the ways in which the ending of Jane Eyre is consistent with its themes. I'm curious about whether you have any thoughts on why Charlotte Bronte chose to end the book, not with Jane and Rochester's happiness, but with St. John's death and hope for the resurrection. I don't really mind it, but it has always struck me as a little odd.

  7. Loved the video, but I couldn't understand the parts with Lindsay because there weren't captions 😭 Looking forward to your future work! Have you read The Left Hand of Darkness before?

  8. I love this so much!
    I went through different emotions reading this story, at first I loved it, then I wasn’t sure if I liked it, then I thought about dnfing, then suddenly I loved it again and found myself staying up to 1am to finish it!
    I was so touched by the ending I cried!
    One of my favourite classics now and listening your discussion makes me want to read it again.

  9. Oh god–this video plus Pae's latest in his literary criticism series 🤯😓🤯

  10. This is interesting. I hadn't thought about it so coherently as spiritual journeys.

  11. Very well done! Thanks for creating!

  12. I haven't yet read Jane Eyre (I've already known about the general plot, it's okay!), but this was a super interesting deep dive into it! Loved the intro to ways of critiquing literature, too.
    (Also impressed you went straight for masking fluid on your first watercolor! I still find it a little overwhelming…) 😹

  13. Wow Mara! What a project! This was great. I appreciate your passion and the effort that this must have taken.

  14. This was so great! Thank you so much for all your hard work. I'm going to watch it again. There is so much to unpack. Jane Eyre is also my favorite book and I appreciate the ending so much more now that you argued the point.

  15. I enjoyed this piece and found it very informative, as you cover a lot of ground. I think you make a very strong case for the ending of JE to be consistent with its narratives and themes, particularly within the romance genre.

    What I didn't get out of it, however, was why you love it and find it amazing.

    I have this impression that you focused so much on the intellectual defense of the ending, pre-emptively addressing critiques from various quarters, that you neglected to explain why it means so much to you. Put more simply, you work so hard to show that it's not a bad ending that you neglect to show why you think it's so good. That is, why is it amazing, as opposed to merely narratively and thematically consistent?

    As I agree with you – I love the book and it's ending – I was hoping for a bit more.

  16. Loved the video! And I agree that the ending works and is appropriate! (I'm puzzled to hear that this isn't the dominant opinion?) After all, Jane has already demonstrated over and over again throughout the novel that she is able to survive on her own if she needs to – she just doesn't want to. The childhood and Lowood sections can be kind of a slog, but they are important in establishing that Jane, while a survivor, is lonely and misunderstood. She wants companionship and friendship. She wants to be understood and to be loved for who she is, including her passions for which she was chided as a girl. And I guess I struggle to see how the ending would be improved wrt to Jane's character arc if she doesn't end up with someone she loves (Rochester)? Jane going it alone? But that's what she's been doing her whole life …

    My quibble is more with the argument of applying modern romance genre conventions to a proto-romance. Certainly, Jane Eyre is a hugely influential antecedent to the modern romance novel. No denying that. But does it then follow that we can argue that a HEA is the logical conclusion, because such an ending is required by the genre, when said genre conventions had not yet been established at the time of publication? Because this same argument wouldn't work with a Wuthering Heights, which is also hugely influential on modern romances and Gothic literature, but famously does not end with a HEA. And I think there are many novels that can be said to be influential on the romance genre that don't end in marital bliss.

    I'm surprised that there isn't a lot of scholarship examining the role of religion in Jane Eyre? All the talk of passion and morality and faith is pretty in your face. Maybe it's too obvious and not interesting enough for analysis?

  17. Very satisfying and relaxing. Thanks for all your hard work. Now I want to read Jane Eyre again and do more research on Charlotte Bronte's religious views.

  18. Jane Eyre is my favorite book and one of my favorite movies (the William Hurt version). I didn't realize there were people who hated the ending

  19. I looked up Neoplatonic Unity and it’s better known as the Hellenistic Philosophy. I had to know if it was named that after Hellen Burns because of what this video was using it for and it’s actually an Ancient Greek philosophy. The belief in a pre-existence and immortality of the soul. Hellen means “Greek like”. The Greeks themselves used to describe their civilization as Hellenistic. I wonder is Charlotte Brontë purposefully named Helen after the Hellenistic philosophy because those are the type of beliefs Helen exuded.

  20. I was so excited about this exploration of one of my favorite books! Now I'm going to reread it again…

  21. I really like the painting visuals! If I may make a suggestion, I'd say maybe a change of angle would avoid some of the autofocus issues between your hand and the paper

  22. I haven’t read Jane Eyre yet but can’t wait to come back and watch when I have!!

  23. This was fantastic! Gave me a whole new appreciation for Jane Eyre! And the nerdy side of me loved the theoretical discussion, lol.

  24. Mara girl, just love your videos in general and love loveee your humor!!! Keep up the marvellous work!! Even if you made a video about my most hated subject (don’t even know what that would be honestly) I would watch it, just sayin’ 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 huge fan girl here from Brazil (living in 🇨🇦 )
    This was chef’s kiss amazing!!!
    Sorry about the amount of exclamations, my Italian self over do it when I cannot use hand gestures 😂🤌🏻

  25. I never liked "Jane Eyre"; I don't like novels written in the first person (just a quirk of mine) and I never found Mr. Rochester at all appealing. I was hoping he'd die in the fire, Jane would put a few weeds (pardon me, flowers) on his grave, and marry the clergyman who wanted to travel and help people, which would be much better than an older, half blind man who can't walk good (and probably can't do something else good as well.)

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