Jane Eyre Chapters 17-20 Summary

     Before Mr. Rochester's return to Thornfield, he sends a letter to inform his servants that he will arrive with many guests. Jane is relieved to learn that he is coming home. Everyone in the house is making preparations for his arrival. While mingling with other servants, Jane gets an opportunity to investigate about Grace Pool, but faces a wall of silence instead, which makes her confident that Thornfield Hall hides a secret.

     Couple of days later guests finally arrive with Mrs. Ingram and her two daughters, Blanche and Mary among them. Although being busy with the guest the first day of their arrival, the following day Rochester insists on Jane's attendance at the party, threatening to personally come for her if she declines his invitation, so she accepts the invitation reluctantly. Unlike Jane, Adèle is so excited to meet the ladies that she spends the entire day in preparations for the upcoming event.

     Just before the beginning of the party, Jane and Adèle have entered an empty room in order to greet guests as they arrive, but many of them ignore her, giving her contemptuous look. Adèle, however, immediately wins the sympathy and becomes an equal member of the group. Jane is obviously the only outcast in the room. She keeps a low profile, but that does not spare her from guests' disdain, who comment on her status and looks. Rochester also ignores Jane, but as soon as she decided to leave, he approaches her. He notices that something is wrong and showers her with questions, asking if she is feeling ok, why she is so pale, is she depressed. Once he gets all the answers and Jane excuses herself from the party, Rochester utters: "Good-night, my..." and bites his lip, leaving the sentence unfinished.

     Chapter 18 follows the busy days in Thornfield Hall, teeming with people. To keep the party going, Rochester and his guests are playing various games. On one occasion, they decide to play charades. Rochester chooses Blanche as a partner and they enact marriage, making Jane believe that they will soon get married. By observing them as a couple, she realizes that although Blanche has a beauty, status and charm, she is not jealous of her, since she has no true virtues.

     The party takes turns with the unrelated arrival of two guests. The one claims to be Rochester's friend, and the other is a gypsy, who insists to tell the fortunes to the guests. Blanche, as the most curious, goes first, but returns sulky and refuses to talk about the fortune teller. With everyone already having visited the gypsy, Jane remains the only one who has not seen the fortune teller and she is finally summoned by the old woman.

     Chapter 19 describes Jane's encounter with the fortune teller. Right at the beginning Jane warns the woman the she does not believe in fortune telling, but the woman promises to prove her wrong and tells her a great deal about Jane's life, concluding that she is very close to her happiness. Their conversation is slowly leaning toward Rochester making Jane more cautious with the choice of the words. The woman mentions that the reason why Blanche got so moody is that she found out that Rochester is actually as not as rich as she thought. Jane finds it needless to talk about Rochester as she came to hear her own destiny. Suddenly, Rochester reveals his face, but Jane does not show any surprise. Instead, informs him that a friend of his, Mr. Mason, has arrived, but Rochester does not take these news so well, asking for a glass of wine.

     Chapter 20 brings another dreadful story. Sharp scream rips the silence in Thornfield Hall during the night, waking up all guests. Rochester assures everyone that everything is all right, claiming that one of the emotionally unstable servants with a nightmare is to blame for the nuisance. When alone, he asks Jane to follow him and leads her to the third floor, where Mr. Mason lays in bed with an obvious bleeding wound. Rochester commands her to clean his wound and takes care of him until he returns, but forbids her to talk to him. Jane notices the secret door passage in the room, which was earlier covered with a tapestry and assumes that the secret of Thornfield Hall is hidden behind it. However, she obeys her master and keeps quiet until he returns with a surgeon. The night is almost over and all traces of the previous night must be hidden, so Rochester arranges Mr. Mason's departure. Once Mason is gone, Rochester asks Jane for her opinion on the matter of the unhappy person who commits an error and seeks joy in immorality. As Jane keeps her opinions neutral, he asks her if marriage with Miss Ingram would bring him salvation, but does not wait for an answer and leaves abruptly.

Related Links:

Jane Eyre Chapters 17-20 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 21-24 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 25-28 Summary
Jane Eyre Summary
Jane Eyre Quotes
Jane Eyre Important Characters
Jane Eyre Quiz
Literature Summaries

To link to this Jane Eyre Chapters 17-20 Summary page, copy the following code to your site: