March in December discussion

2. Chapter XXII - Chapter XLII

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message 1: by Kamil (last edited Nov 22, 2015 10:23AM) (new)

Kamil (coveredinskin) | 17 comments Mod
Please discuss Chapter XXII - Chapter XLII of Middlemarch here.

message 2: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Fred's really mucked it up for himself and the Garth's. I hope this situation is enough of a shock to him that he'll consider changing his ways.

message 3: by Kamil (new)

Kamil (coveredinskin) | 17 comments Mod
I hope so too, but I'm afraid this will be another lesson Eliot would give us. Even if he matures, the social expectations would not allow him to marry Mary.

It's interesting how heavy as for social agenda this book is, situation of women, that's obvious but even the role of privileged men delivered in a speech by Mary when Fred was explaining himself to her in relation with debt situation.

How do you find this social agenda oriented parts in Middlemarch?

message 4: by Dawn (last edited Dec 09, 2015 08:37PM) (new)

Dawn I think Eliot is writing about the time and how social customs affect her characters. She is certainly showing us the way things stood during this time for women and people of different classes. I mean I see how she's putting the characters against each other because of where they stand in society. If you're upper class and marry someone of a lower class than you, then you will most likely be disowned like Will's grandmother was. Mary won't be with Fred because he's in debt, has no profession, and doesn't want to go into the clergy like his father planned. While I see them as about the same class with maybe Fred's family of a little higher standing, she can't marry him because of his failure in prospects. What is threatening to ruin him, would also ruin her. Unfortunately, Fred just really seems like a whiny brat that wants everything handed to him. He certainly doesn't want to have to work for anything. His sister, Rosamund, seems pretty spoiled as well, so this could be a product of parenting.

Here's something I was wondering about:
Why does it often seem that the people with little money spend it on everything or "throw it away" like Fred, but people with plenty/a lot of money hold it tight in their fist like Featherstone?

message 5: by Kamil (new)

Kamil (coveredinskin) | 17 comments Mod
Becky wrote: "I just read Chapter 29. I had a good little chuckle over Mr Casaubon's view of marriage. Then I really laughed over "Providence" providing him a wife with "the purely appreciative, unambitious abil..." Yeah, that is hilarious, he is so naive.

message 6: by Dawn (new)

Dawn I just finished this section. Dorothea is my favorite character. All of the things that she is going through are important to her and her growth as a character. She's already grown from the naive woman who married Casaubon to a troubled but strong woman whose marriage is not what she thought she was signing up for and which is actually beginning to break. The misunderstandings that Casaubon has about Will being there and then about Lydgate are causing him to doubt Dorothea who he has said all along he trusted. He is an old sick man married to a beautiful young woman, and he is beyond jealous now. I imagine Dorothea has many more things coming her way. I look forward to see how she continues to deal with the twists and turns of her life.

message 7: by Marie (new)

Marie | 15 comments Mod
I feel exactly the same way, Dawn :) I find the story about Dorothea the most captivating of them all, she is such an interesting character and the descriptions of both her and Cassaubon are just spot-on and very fascinating. Eliot really masters this to perfection I think - the shaping of characters and the little comments she makes on them in the characterizations.. Its just phenomenal :)

message 8: by Louise (new)

Louise (atrixa) Yes, I'm enjoying Dorothea's journey too. Did anyone else have a giggle at the reading of the will scene? As they say, where there's a will, there's a relative!

I do hope Fred makes something of himself, I'm finding him to be completely useless at the moment, and not deserving of Mary, despite their social standing.

message 9: by Kamil (new)

Kamil (coveredinskin) | 17 comments Mod
Dawn wrote: "I just finished this section. Dorothea is my favorite character. All of the things that she is going through are important to her and her growth as a character. She's already grown from the naive w..."

Same here Dawn, I guess part of the fact why Dorothea is such an engaging character is her development, she seems to grow the most as for this huge bunch of Middlemarch people. Plus the romantic element doesn't hurt, it's always something that pushes the plot forward.
I love reading about Casaubon because his nativity and simplicity of what he expects woman to be is so extreme that is bordering on being extremely funny. Not that it was funny back then, considering woman standing, we went a long way but I'm just repeating myself.

message 10: by Kate (new)

Kate Howe | 6 comments I'm really enjoying this as well and love Dorothea - she reminds me somewhat of Anne Elliot from Persuasion with how much she internalizes her emotions.

message 11: by Marie (new)

Marie | 15 comments Mod
Oh oh oh - something very dramatic just happened!! Around page 540... :D

message 12: by Dawn (new)

Dawn I'm around page 500 in my edition and something dramatic happened a few pages earlier. If it's the same thing, then I think it's definitely going to shake up the story a bit.

message 13: by Marie (new)

Marie | 15 comments Mod
It problably is

message 14: by Kamil (new)

Kamil (coveredinskin) | 17 comments Mod
Ok, I guess I have to speed up. Didn't have much time lately and when I don't I rather read something shorter, and was thinking about diving in second half of Middlemarch during Xmas, but you made me very excited.

message 15: by Louise (new)

Louise (atrixa) I just got to the dramatic bit! I'm a bit behind in my reading schedule, but I should have plenty of time now that I'm off work.

message 16: by Marie (new)

Marie | 15 comments Mod
I also got behind - due to festive dancing and hangovers haha - so now I have to read 34 pages every day to finish before dec 31nd, which I really want to! :)

As I go along, I really feel like the strength of the novel shows more and more - at first it was primarily the characters - description and developement - that I found interesting. But now its also how she weaves everything together.. and letting characters that we 'know' from other settings interact - it really is an exciting look into a different world (though in some aspects probably not so different from today) :)

(also, Dawn - I think it cut some of my last sentence to you.. it should have said more than 'It probably is'.. though now, I cant remember what :))

message 17: by Kamil (last edited Dec 26, 2015 01:16PM) (new)

Kamil (coveredinskin) | 17 comments Mod
I'm getting around to finish it, around 70 pages left, I speeded up during Xmas. I find it quire remarkable on so many levels, and the plot really ties up the closer to the end you get. It's a great social panorama of english middle and upper class society of early XIX century.

Middlemarch being the main protagonist of the novel.

I've seen a few booktube videos of middlemarch and I found a few of them simplifying a novel claiming it's a book about two girls Dorothea and Rosamund, as much as Dorothea's story was the inspiration for the novel and she opens and ends the story, and as much as Rosamund is her contradiction, those are one of a few main protagonist of the novel - what about Lydgate, Will, Bulstrode, etc. And the historical aspect, aweking political awerness of other classes, reform bill. Great stuff

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