Our heroine has survived the Ordeal and received her Reward. Now she must return to the ordinary world with her new knowledge or skills and face the consequences of confronting the darkness of the Ordeal. This stage marks a shift in focus and may give rise to new goals.
In the heroine’s journey this stage is marked by a magic flight and split desires. The heroine may be rescued from without by the heroic mother, or find reconciliation with the parents. There may also be a realisation that to find the prince she must escape again. In other words, her quest to find wholeness and live in a way that is true to herself means she must put her self-knowledge to the test.
Jane Eyre on the Road Back
Jane leaves Thornfield and runs away across the moor. Meanwhile Rochester breaks into her room to find her gone. He shouts her name from the window. Jane wanders the moor in a storm and cries.
Cut to Jane working happily at the village school. St John arrives and asks how she’s getting on, saying they are alike. She is ambitious and he fears the little school won’t hold her interest for long. He looks at her drawings and takes one.
Jane sits in her cottage at night. There’s a knock at the door: it’s Mr Rochester, come to her through a snow storm. They kiss passionately. Cut to St John standing at the door. Jane lets him in and he calls her by her true name – Miss Eyre. He noticed the name she signed on the bottom of her drawing. St John tells Jane her uncle, John Eyre, has died leaving her all his property worth £20,000. She’s rich! Jane is shocked and wants to share the money with him and his sisters. This is her chance to finally have a family.
Later the family pray together and bid each other a goodnight. St John gives Jane a very chaste kiss. He’s certainly no Rochester.
So Jane has escaped Thornfield but her passion for Rochester still burns inside her. She is torn between wanting to leave her past behind and start a new life, and return to her lover. The inheritance opens a path forward and she sees a way to create a new family for herself. In today’s money £20,000 would be more than £1.3 million. But what kind of future could she have with St John?
Next: Jane Eyre’s Resurrection
Image: Focus Features