In chapter thirty-three of Brontë's novel, St. John Rivers invites Jane Eyre to join him on his mission in India under the condition that she marries him. Though he does not love Jane, St. John deems their marriage necessary. Despite his begging and brooding, Jane rejects her cousin's offer of marriage in fear of being forever tied to a man that does not love her. Jane finds support in her cousin and confidant, Diana, who deems her "much too pretty, as well as much too good, to be grilled alive in Calcutta" (Brontë ch. 31). Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of West Bengal state and the former capital of British India (Sinha 2022). Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, British missionaries traveled to Calcutta to spread the word of God and educate the Indians, but many considered the trip to be agonizing due to its subtropical climate and swampy landscape (Sinha 2022). Brontë's inclusion of this detail places readers within an existing setting and illustrates the intensity of St. John's mission and proposal. Jane's refusal to accept her cousin's proposal indicates a psychological change happening within her. By the end of chapter thirty-five, Jane finally decides to start living life for herself rather than for others. She no longer accepts opportunities simply because they are offered to her; she now has her best interests at heart. By rejecting St. John's invitation to India, Jane preserves her morality while establishing her autonomy. 


Works Cited

Welsh, Ken. "Calcutta, India, From a 19th Century Print." Fine Art America, Accessed 21 June 2022. 

Sinha, N.K. and Banerjee-Guha, Swapna. "Kolkata." Encyclopedia Britannica, 8 April 2022, Accessed 21 June 2022. 


Latitude: 22.572646000000
Longitude: 88.363895000000