Jane decides that she cannot be with Rochester, as he is already married. She stays true to her principles and decides to run away, becoming homeless in the process. She forages for food in villages and journeys away from Thornfield Hall, hoping Rochester will never find her. When she is hungry, delirious and close to death, the Rivers family take her in and nurse her back to health. When she gets better, Jane becomes a schoolmistress at the village.
St John Rivers (the brother in the Rivers family) arrives at Jane's school to announce that her uncle has died, leaving his wealth and estate to her. John also reveals that Jane's uncle is also his, making them cousins. Jane is overwhelmed and rejoices that she has family, splitting the inheritance between them. St John decides to undertake missionary work in India. He asks Jane to accompany him and she agrees; however, St John suggests they should be married for their journey. Jane reluctantly accepts, however, when she hears Rochester calling her name in the night, she decides she cannot marry someone she doesn't love.
Upon hearing Rochester's voice, Jane returns to Thornfield. When she arrives, she discovers it has burnt down. Jane suspects the worst - that everyone in the household has died, including Rochester. She soon hears the truth, that Bertha burnt the Hall down and Rochester, in his attempt to save her, became blind and lost his hand. Jane makes the journey to Ferndean to see Rochester. As he has lost his sight, he believes he is imagining Jane's voice. He is overwhelmed that she is there, breaking down and confessing his love for her. The novel concludes with Jane and Rochester married with children. Edward manages to regain sight in one eye to see his first-born child.