19th Century Epic Romances discussion

Middlemarch - May/June 2015 > Middlemarch BOOK 3: Waiting for Death May 15-21

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message 1: by Angela (new)

Angela Rohde (angelarohde) | 72 comments BOOK 3: Waiting for Death
Friday, May 15-21, pages 216 to 306 (90 pages)

message 2: by Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition (last edited May 20, 2015 10:27AM) (new)

Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 504 comments Hopefully, Fred learns that costs more than just money to gamble and spend money he doesn't really have. Not only does it affect him financially, but it really affects the Garth family, who (the father) cosigned the loan for him and it is something Fred can't really pay back - the lost opportunity for the Garth's son to be an apprentice and he definitely lost the respect of Mary Garth, whom he adores, since she is required to give up her savings, along with her mother's life savings, to satisfy Fred's debt.

Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 504 comments I read a commentary about this book that stated the men and women in this story do not often relate to each other as individuals, instead, the author makes them have unrealistic, stereotypical ideals and they relate to each other "through the distorting lens of social expectations and their own self delusion".
"Lydgate's ideal wife is little more than a beautiful ornament.
Rosamond's ideal husband exists only in romance novels.
Dorothea's ideal husband is a great soul, not a man.
Casaubon's ideal wife is an utterly submissive servant." Sparknotes

message 4: by Cedricsmom (new)

Cedricsmom (lindaharrison) | 27 comments I'm not reading the book now, but this is a compelling reason to do so: what you quoted from Spark Notes does not sound any different than how we "do" relationships today, basing choices on the superficial, the unrealistic, personal delusions and social expectation. And we wonder why it so often goes wrong. I may have to get busy reading this one!

Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 504 comments Hi Cedricsmom, I have realized something recently, after reading some classics and working my way through the Bible, not that profound, but it occur s to me that human nature has not changed, through out the ages, no current generation is any worse or any better than the last. It seems we have been going to hell in a hand basket since Adam & Eve, but have also produced countless wonderful things and everlasting relationships.

message 6: by Cedricsmom (new)

Cedricsmom (lindaharrison) | 27 comments I could not have said it any better. We don't really have the context of history unless we read and even that is revisionist. So we think we're more sophisticated than we are. Technology changes but people don't. I'm going to read this book.

message 7: by Phoebe (last edited May 28, 2015 12:43PM) (new)

Phoebe | 3 comments I read that an important scene here happens in Chapter 30, when Dorothea appeals to Lydgate for help in terms of caring for the decrepit Casaubon. "For years after Lydgate remembered the impression produced in him by this involuntary appeal...without other consciousness than their moving with kindred natures in the same embroiled medium, the same troublous, fitfully-illuminated life." Not only does it foreshadow Dorothea and Lydgate's parallel lives, but it's the only time the book leaves the present and references a character reacting in the future, looking back. And it happens only a few pages before Lydgate's ill-advised engagement to Rosamond, which will change the course of his own ambition.

Again, I also cherish the little jokes here. Like when, at the end of the same chapter, Mr. Brooke is writing Ladislaw, and he's supposed to be turning him away from Lowick, but Eliot writes of Brooke, "His pen found it such a pity that young Ladislaw should not have come into the neighborhood just at that time..." and basically ends it with an invitation to Tipton. Blaming it on the pen so perfectly encapsulates Brooke's tendency to get carried away, and to often find himself doing something before he's thought it through, almost as if it were the fault of the instrument and not Brooke himself, who prefers to evade responsibility (like for the condition of the cottages). It's a small sentence, but it contains so much character. And of course it comes as a relief, because nobody wanted Ladislaw leaving.

Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 504 comments Mirrors wrote: "I know I'm a slow reader but I wanted to comment that I think I found the theme of the book in the writer's own words. To paraphrase she says that we pay so much attention to love in songs and nove..."

Good point, I think that is exactly what the book was about.

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