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Archived Group Reads 2009-10 > Middlemarch - Books 7 & 8

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The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments This is to discuss books 7 & 8 - Two Temptations and Sunrise and Sunset.


message 2: by Thalia (new)

Thalia Boy, the poop sure hits the fan at the end here doesn't it? Exciting times. These last chapters are reading far more quickly than the middle was for me as things have picked up a bit.


message 3: by Grace Tjan (new)

Grace Tjan I remember that I couldn't put it down when I got to these parts.


message 4: by Sherien (new)

Sherien SPOILER ALERT!!!


So Dorothea finally marries the man she loves which ironically brings her back to the domestic sphere. Do you think she is trully satisfied and happy?
Does this conclude that she finally realizes that her idealization in intelectual matters cannot be obtained in reality? A question I still have in mind...


message 5: by Sherien (last edited Aug 27, 2009 10:47AM) (new)

Sherien Mary is probably my favorite female character in this book. Mary and Fred are interesting characters in my opinion. They seem to be the only characters in this story who are not in so much deluded by unrealistic dreams and idealization. What do you guys think about them especially comparing them to Lydgate's relationship to Rosamond and Dorothea's to Casaubon and Will?


message 6: by Shelley (new)

Shelley Mary is definitely my favourite female character, and I wasn't convinced that Fred was good enough for her.

Fred's selfishness was unbelievable - in particular the issue with the gambling losses being a fine example. Mary on the other hand donated her earnings to her father with even blinking.

I agree that Mary and Fred's relationship was the only one based on reality and honesty.


message 7: by Grace Tjan (new)

Grace Tjan "I agree that Mary and Fred's relationship was the only one based on reality and honesty. "

But how about Will and Dorothea's relationship at the end of the book? Is their relationship also based on reality and honesty like Mary and Fred's?


message 8: by Grace Tjan (last edited Aug 28, 2009 07:31PM) (new)

Grace Tjan "Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it. A new Theresa will hardly have the opportunity of reforming a conventual life, any more than a new Antigone will spend her heroic piety in daring all for the sake of a brother's burial: the medium in which their ardent deeds took shape is forever gone. But we insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorotheas, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorothea whose story we know.

Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."

Dorothea makes her compromises with the limitations imposed on her by society and led a reasonably happy and fulfilled existence. She never became great herself, but she did make something out of her life with Will.

I find that last sentence to be quite moving. Eliot's tribute to the millions of men and women who, while never achieving anything extraordinary themselves, keep the world going by their silent work.


message 9: by Sherien (new)

Sherien Shelley wrote: "Mary is definitely my favourite female character, and I wasn't convinced that Fred was good enough for her.

Fred's selfishness was unbelievable - in particular the issue with the gambling losse..."


I wasn't convinced that fred was good enough for a person like mary too at first...in fact I didnt even like Fred at all in the beginning.. Mary is Fred's backbone.Mary in her own way plays an important role towards Fred's success. She's also the only person who constantly shows faith in him. Very moving.




message 10: by Sherien (new)

Sherien Sandybanks wrote: "But how about Will and Dorothea's relationship at the end of the book? Is their relationship also based on reality and honesty like Mary and Fred's? ..."

I do think their relationship is also based on reality and especially honesty. Dorothea in the end seem to have grown maturely in her views and perception. This obviously shows in her relationship with Will which is really different from her previous one. But Mary is the only one who is not deluded by unrealistic dreams from the beginning. Dorothea manages to change after she experience her consequences... This book really teaches you about dreams, life and especially marriage!!






message 11: by Grace Tjan (new)

Grace Tjan Sherien wrote: "Sandybanks wrote: "But how about Will and Dorothea's relationship at the end of the book? Is their relationship also based on reality and honesty like Mary and Fred's? ..."

I do think their rel..."


Yes. Mary makes sure that Fred has changed for good before she agrees to marry him. Smart girl. Unlike Dorothea (in her first marriage) or Lydgate, she is realistic about her significant other's true character, including his weaknesses.

Eliot shows us how the real world compromises youthful idealism and dreams, and therefore Middlemarch is rather melancholic in that respect, but also hopeful, because she also shows us how, despite that loss, we are able to redeem ourselves and make something out of our lives.



message 12: by Scott (new)

Scott Ferry | 125 comments Thalia wrote: "Boy, the poop sure hits the fan at the end here doesn't it? Exciting times. These last chapters are reading far more quickly than the middle was for me as things have picked up a bit."

ya, everything is really hitting the fan now and with such drama. It feel like so many of the characters are having their dreams dashed to bits. I feel it only leaves just a few of the characters untouched and honest. The rest have made such terrible choices pushed by fear and a fealing of necessity. Middlemarch justice is pretty harsh in its own way. Once you make a mistake their is not a whole lot of room to move. Well I dont have much more to go now with the book, almost finished.


message 13: by Scott (new)

Scott Ferry | 125 comments Sandybanks wrote: "Sherien wrote: "Sandybanks wrote: "But how about Will and Dorothea's relationship at the end of the book? Is their relationship also based on reality and honesty like Mary and Fred's? ..."

I do t..."


Maybe if the people had been a bit more flexible in their ideals they would have gotten along a bit better. The ideals they pushed for were a bit unrealistic at times.


message 14: by Scott (new)

Scott Ferry | 125 comments Regardless of what we know of Bulstrode's underhanded dealings, I still find it appalling that Middlemarch citizens are so quick to leap to conclusions without a whole lot of proof. Guilty before innocent it seems. Also if the person is actually proven to be innocent they are still burned by the hand of their fellow neighbors. In Bulstrode's case, maybe we don’t care so much, but in Lydgate's and also in Will's case I think it is terrible to have such animosity towards them simply for the sake of not liking how they do things differently. There is a lot of close mindedness in this book. I would not survive well in Middlemarch myself.. simply because i would feel how unjust everything is.


message 15: by Scott (new)

Scott Ferry | 125 comments Sherien wrote: "Sandybanks wrote: "But how about Will and Dorothea's relationship at the end of the book? Is their relationship also based on reality and honesty like Mary and Fred's? ..."

I do think their rel..."


Well, Eliot wasn't a big fan of marriage I think.


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