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2010/11 Group Reads - Archives > Adam Bede - Book Second

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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
This is the folder for discussion of Adam Bede "Book Second."


message 2: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 23, 2010 07:25PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments What a great title for the opening chapter of Book Second: 'In Which the Story Pauses a Little'! It is a long digression which stresses GE's commitment to realism; 'the faithful account of men and things as they have mirrored themselves in my mind'. She defends her characters at this point, characters who are a mixture of strengths and weakness, faults and virtues because, realistically, 'these fellow-mortals, every one, must be accepted as they are: you can neither straighten their noses, nor brighten their wit, nor rectify their dispositions; and it is these people...that it is needful you should tolerate, pity and love.' She draws attention to a Dutch painting which she admires and which portrays not an ideal but 'a high-shouldered, broad-faced bride' with friends who have 'very irregular noses and lips'. However, her artistic need to tell the truth, to be realistic, merges with another justification for realism, the moral need to extend our 'deep human sympathy' to these ordinary people who are the subjects of realistic art, and thereby to her characters and their flaws. She says that she is 'content to tell [her] simple story, without trying to make things seem better than they were...Falsehood is so easy, truth so difficult.' We are leaving the romantic notions of Arthur and Hetty behind and entering into the anagnorisis I wrote about in my last post to Book First. To quote Wikipedia, it is 'a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery' but GE wants us to be tolerant of the weaknesses that we will discover.

PS: I will put a comment about the Rev John Tillotson on the Bckground Info thread.


message 3: by Kester (new)

Kester Andrews | 36 comments Excellent summation of this wonderfully philosophical digression. Somebody mentioned, in our discussion of book 1, that GE was not the most handsome woman and you get a sense of apologetics for that in here. Her pleading for us not to be wrapped up in outter beauty speaks volumes in this respect. Her allusion to Dutch paintings reminded me of an exhibit I had the pleasure to see when i visted New York last October. It was "The Milkmaid" by Vermeer and it was on display at The Metropolitan Museum. What a coincidence that our group also read Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid recently. I do not think the milkmaid in Vermeer's Masterwork had any such escapades but then again you never know.


message 4: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Kester wrote: "Excellent summation of this wonderfully philosophical digression. Somebody mentioned, in our discussion of book 1, that GE was not the most handsome woman and you get a sense of apologetics for tha..."

Thanks Kester - I had not thought about GE's apologetics in Adam Bede but think you are right, especially at this time of her life when she had so recently been rebuffed by two men.

Coincidences never seem to end on these threads - like me meeting a Trinidadian here!!:).


message 5: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 26, 2010 09:28AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments There is some beautiful costome detail in Chapter XVIII : Church: Although Mrs Poyser was dressed in a 'plain bonnet and shawl' Hetty was in pink and white - how fashionable she would look today! Mr Poyser was quite the dandy in his red and green waistcoat with matching watch ribbon, a yellow silk handkerchief around his neck and hand knitted grey ribbed stockings which showed off his calves! He suspected that the 'growing abuse of top boots and other fashions tending to disguise the nether limbs had their origin in a pitiable degeneracy of the human calf'! The degeneracy must have continued because we haven't seen much of men's calves since this period:D.

This chapter, about the funeral of Thias Bede, provides an occasion for GE to give us a sense of the Hayslope community. It emphasises the peace and tranquillity that Sunday provokes in the countryside:

'You might have known it was Sunday if you had only woken up in the farmyard. The cocks and hens....made only crooning subdued noises, the bulldog was asleep, ducks nestled with their bills tucked under their wings. 'The sunshine seemed to call on all things to rest and not to labour; It was asleep itself on the moss grown cowshed....'

There is a topical discussion between Mr and Mrs Poyser on the merits of shorthorn cattle, which had recently been bred in the north of England from the famous Durham Ox:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Ox

This is followed by a discussion on the merits of women being 'buxom', as if they too were like cows!

All this pleasant country talk is followed by a description of the church interior, including several ominous mentions of the colour crimson, as well as a reference to the 'pipe of Pan', which is associated with the seduction of nymphs.

Later a more solemn note is struck by the sermon when the Rev Irwine's 'Absolution' falls on Hetty's deaf ears because she was preoccupied with 'sinful' thoughts of the absent Arthur whilst a 'selfish tumult was going on in her soul'. Adam, on the other hand, is thinking of 'other deep feelings for which the church service was a channel to him this afternoon' and 'seemed to speak to him as no other form of worship could have done'. Whilst Hetty is selfishly thinking of herself during the sermon and Joshua's musical chant, 'like the lingering vibrations of a fine violincello', washes over her, Adam is reassessing his life and vowing to be less judgemental. The need for sympathy as a moral doctrine is emphasised and Adam's bildungsroman starts in an entirely different way to Hetty's.

The outward tranquillity of the Sunday therefore seems to have an underlying note of tension and a foreshadowing of less tranquil events to come, as the emotional division between Hetty and Adam deepens.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Madge had posted this wonderful bit for all of us in the 'politics' thread, in an effort to get us back on track with Adam Bede, and I have moved it over here for everyone to enjoy and ponder.--

"There is an underlying political message in Adam Bede--

The open‐air meetings of the early Methodists often attracted hostile mobs and so visits of famous preachers were rare highlights. A typical village green meeting is captured in the novel but elsewhere such gatherings could be less tranquil. The Methodists did not break from the Church of England until 1784 and their rapid expansion did not begin until the 19th century, with a particularly successful decade in the 1830s. They then overtook the older dissenting sects in terms of membership, and by the time of the 1851 ecclesiastical census were the chief rivals to the Church of England.

Meanwhile, several groups had broken away from the rule of the governing body, the Methodist Conference. In 1797 the Methodist New Connexion was formed from congregations that wished to have control over their own affairs. Their appeal was principally to the industrial poor, and their associations with political radicalism led to their being called ‘Tom Paine Methodists’. The Primitive Methodists broke away in 1812 and soon became the second strongest of the Methodist sects. The ‘Ranters’, as they became known, were humble people, especially the farm labourers of eastern England, the urban poor, and the miners in the new pit villages. (In Chapter 17 of AB the puritanical preacher Mr Ryde is criticised for '[scolding] them from the pulpit as if he'd been ranter'. At the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 the rural labour market was swamped by returning soldiers, thus exacerbating the problem. Between 1811 and 1817 there were riots amongst hosiery machine workers, known as Luddites, in Nottinghamshire. In 1830 there were the 'Swing' riots when agricultural workers broke up threshing machines and burned hayricks in a demand for higher wages. 252 Luddites and Swingers were sentenced to death, 505 were transported to Australia (and New Zealand) and 644 were imprisoned. By the 1870s the Primitive Methodists were associated with emergent agricultural trade unionism and were later to be associated with Liberalism and the rise of the Labour Party. Joseph Arch, a hedger from South Warwickshire and a Primitive Methodist, who founded the National Agricultural Labourer's Union in 1872, and subsequently became a Liberal Member of Parliament, would probably have been known to Eliot. [David - do you know anything about Primitive Methodist history in the Welsh valleys?]

The poets, authors and artists of the Romantic movement represented hostility towards the new industrialisation and they stressed (as does Eliot) the importance of nature and the dignity of labour. Lord Byron's defence of the Luddites in Parliament, Blake's poem Jerusalem with its 'Dark Satanic Mills' and Wordsworth's anti-consumerist 'The World is too Much With Us' are typical of the intellectual protests of the period."

Here is a poem by Lord Byron, especially for Jan:-

http://www.luc.edu/faculty/sjones1/by...


message 7: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Chris: Perhaps my above post would be better on the Background Information thread as it does not apply to any one Book of AE? If you (and others) agree, please move it.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
MadgeUK wrote: "Chris: Perhaps my above post would be better on the Background Information thread as it does not apply to any one Book of AE? If you (and others) agree, please move it."

Madge, in all honesty, I think it is okay here. I read it carefully, and while you do provide a great deal of information, much of it seems to have a genesis in Eliot's Chapter XVII of "Book Second." As it is your posting, I shall of course move it if you think better. Let me know.


message 9: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments OK leave it:). Yes, Chapter 17 and GE's description of Mr Ryde sparked it and as several folks here are religious I thought some background info on one of the major religious movements of the time might be of interest.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
I have to say that I really enjoyed Eliot's Chapter XVII quite a lot. It was very interesting how she flash-forwards many years and has this discussion between the narrator and the elderly Adam Bede; and that she uses the conversation to share her views on religion, the lives of the rustics, the Dutch School of Art, etc. Eliot the didact, eh?

Speaking of the "Dutch School"--
"It is for this rare, precious quality of truthfulness that I delight in many Dutch paintings, which lofty-minded people despise. I find a source of delicious sympathy in these faithful pictures of a monotonous homely existence, which has been the fate of so many more among my fellow-mortals than a life of pomp or of absolute indigence, of tragic suffering or of world-stirring actions. I turn, without shrinking, from cloud-borne angels, from prophets, sibyls, and heroic warriors, to an old woman bending over her flower-pot, or eating her solitary dinner, while the noonday light, softened perhaps by a screen of leaves, falls on her mob-cap, and just touches the rim of her spinning wheel, and which are the previous necessaries of life to her..."(Chapter XVII, first portion of the sixth paragraph
I just loved the visual imagery of her description--It just read like I was looking at a painting. Throughout this entire chapter, one can't help but feel the profound love and respect that Eliot has for the English country rustics.

What did all of you think of the elderly Adam's assessment of religious movement in their 'quiet rural district'--
"But," said Adam, "I've seen pretty clear, ever since I was a young un, as religion's something else besides notions. It isn't notions sets people doing the right thing--it's feelings...There's things go on in the soul, and times when feelings come into you like a rushing mighty wind, as the Scripture says, and part of your life in two a'most, so as you look back on yourself as if you was somebody else. Those are things as you can't bottle up in a 'do this' and 'do that;' and I'll go so far with the strongest Methodist ever you'll find. That shows me there's deep speritial things in religion. You can't make much out wi' talking about it, but you feel it."
It strikes me that the aged Adam has become a very wise man in Eliot's estimation. What a beautifully written little soliloquy.

I really enjoyed Chapter XVII, and read it again on the train to work this a.m. Eliot is an exquisitely beautiful writer!


message 11: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.), Founder (last edited Sep 28, 2010 03:29PM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
In Chapter XVIII we find the Poyser family setting for Sunday church services (the same morning that Adam's father is being buried), and as they are all trooping down the lane there is the following little dialog between Mr. and Mrs. Poyser--
"There's father a-standing at the yard-gate," said Martin Poyser. "I reckon he wants to watch us down the field. It's wonderful what sight he has, and him turned seventy-five."

"Ah, I often think it's wi' the old folks as it is wi' the babbies," said Mrs. Poyser; "they're satisfied wi' looking, no matter what they're looking at. It's God A'mighty's way o' quietening 'em, I reckon, afore they go to sleep."
Isn't that just a lovely notion? A simple, but ever so beautiful way of looking at the bookends of Life.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
And shortly after the Poysers have all passed by Grandad at the gate, we have Eliot 'painting' another beautiful image, in the 'Dutch School,' for us with her words--
"And when they were all gone, the old man leaned on the gate again, watching them across the lane along the Home Close, and through the far gate, till they disappeared behind a bend in the hedge. For the hedgerows in those days shut out one's view, even on the better-managed farms; and this afternoon, the dog-roses were tossing out their pink wreaths, the nightshade was in its yellow and purple glory, the pale honeysuckle grew out of reach, peeping high up out of a holly bush, and over all an ash or sycamore every now and then threw its shadow across the path."
What an amazingly descriptive portrayal of the pastoral countryside! I do believe that Eliot would have been a superb screenplay writer. I think she could give Andrew Davies a run for his money, and I love his period-piece screenplays.


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Apparently there was some theory or old wives tale that funerals went better in the rain.

'They'll ha' putten Thias Bede i' the ground afore ye get to the churchyard,' he said, as his son came up. 'It 'ud ha' been better luck if they'd ha' buried him i' the forenoon when the rain was fallin': there's no likelihoods of a drop now; an' the moon lies like a boat there, dost see? That's a sure sign o' fair weather - there's a many as is false, but that's sure.'

I've never heard of this. Has anybody else? Anybody know what this refers to, and why it's better luck to bury in the rain?


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Christopher wrote: "And shortly after the Poysers have all passed by Grandad at the gate, we have Eliot 'painting' another beautiful image, in the 'Dutch School,' for us with her words--"And when they were all gone, t..."

In the same passage, I love the way she presents Grandfather's needing to feel useful, and indeed carrying out at least the minor task of opening the gate, and then going to look on at the milking.


message 15: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Everyman wrote: "Apparently there was some theory or old wives tale that funerals went better in the rain. ..."

If rain falls on a funeral procession it is a sign that the deceased will go to heaven - rain is a blessing from heaven/God. If it rains on an open grave it means that someone in the family will die within the year. Thunder following a funeral means that the soul has reached heaven. Mrs Poyser would have worn her old shawl and bonnet because it is unlucky to wear anything new at a funeral, especially shoes.


message 16: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 29, 2010 01:06AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Christopher wrote: "And shortly after the Poysers have all passed by Grandad at the gate, we have Eliot 'painting' another beautiful image, in the 'Dutch School,' for us with her words--"And when they were all gone, t..."

Lots of Victorian symbolism there too Chris: Dog roses signify pleasure and pain, honeysuckle the bond of love and nightshade stands for truth, the ash tree for prudence and the sycamore for curiosity.

'For the hedgerows in those days shut out one's view' is a reference to the 1000 year old hedgerows which used to mark village boundaries before the Enclosure Acts 1750-1850. Hedges planted by wealthy landowners, around common grazing land, had not had the time to reach the height of the old hedgerows. This is another indication of the age of the village and the surrounding countryside, and shows that it had not yet been affected by the Enclosure Acts, which displaced hundreds of villagers and caused some of the riots I mentioned above.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosur...


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
MadgeUK wrote: "Christopher wrote: "And shortly after the Poysers have all passed by Grandad at the gate, we have Eliot 'painting' another beautiful image, in the 'Dutch School,' for us with her words--"And when t..."

Awesome! I honestly had no idea, Madge. It even makes more sense now.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
MadgeUK wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Apparently there was some theory or old wives tale that funerals went better in the rain. ..."

If rain falls on a funeral procession it is a sign that the deceased will go to hea..."


Oh, again, I had no idea. These people had a palpable connection with the earth and their spiritual beliefs.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Madge, I just went back and carefully re-read your paragraph about hedgerows, and the long-standing role they play in demarcating boundaries and property lines, and even the types of uses that occur on the lands. I simply had no idea whatsoever that some of these hedgerows could be so ancient, nor that they were so functionally important. Good information--


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
I said it at some point in our discussions in "Book First," but I want to reiterate how taken I am with little 'Totty' Poyser. Eliot describes that little gel as just a cute little bundle of joy and happiness. Her little speech to her Grandad, at the gate, on the way to church, was simply precious--
"Dood-bye, dandad," said Totty. "Me doin to church. Me dot my netlace on. Dive me a peppermint."

Grandad, shaking with laughter at this "deep little wench," slowly transferred his stick to his left hand, which held the gate open, and slowly thrust his finger into the waistcoat-pocket on which Totty had fixed her eyes with a confident look of expectation."
I can so envision that little scene right there! If that doesn't bring a smile to your face and happy thoughts to mind--well, you're dead.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
What does everybody think of Mrs. Poyser?

I, for one, am quite taken with her. I very much admire her fierce spirit. She very effectively and efficiently runs the farm's dairy, fully understands proper animal husbandry, takes care of her family, and gives superb counsel and advice to her husband. In a word, she is a real Mama-Bear! In my opinion, Eliot clearly wrote her character as Martin Poyser's co-equal in all of their affairs. A very common-sense and practical woman, with a good sense of humour. While they share some similar traits, Mrs. Poyser is quite different than Lisbeth Bede, isn't she? Mrs. Bede comes across as more 'needy' and maybe just a touch 'whiny.'


message 22: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Christopher wrote: "I said it at some point in our discussions in "Book First," but I want to reiterate how taken I am with little 'Totty' Poyser. Eliot describes that little gel as just a cute little bundle of joy a..."

Yes, a very happy little scene and a typical grandfather too - my grandfather always kept sweets in his pocket for me:).

Mrs Poyser is very different to the dependent Victorian townswomen we often read of isn't she? Country women always seemed to have a lot more independence in those times although, as she is supposedly a portrait of GE's mother, I wonder if she is rather an idealised character?


message 23: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Christopher wrote: "What does everybody think of Mrs. Poyser? "

I love her. She is caring, practical, acerbic to Hetty, yes, but kindly underneath it, and wonderfully caring of her family. She could teach us all a thing or ten about how to live competently and efficiently.

She and Dinah are by far my favorite characters.


message 24: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments I loved the walk to church. It gave us such a wonderful picture not only, as Christopher noted, of the wonderful environment, but also of the lives of this family. The little things they talk about, the finding of the turkey nest, grandfather opening the gate, all the delightful little details of the environment and life that make them not characters in a book but real people.


message 25: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.), Founder (last edited Sep 29, 2010 07:48PM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Oh, yes, Everyman, the boys discovering the turkey nest! Boy, did Mrs. Poyser's eyes light up at the mention of that; and it was worth half-a-crown to the finder! I have to wonder if the value was in the turkey's eggs, or in the turkey itself?

I am an avid birder, and I consulted my RSPB Field Guide to Birds of Britain, but could find no reference to a "speckled turkey." I wonder if Eliot uses a local name for a grouse or pheasant?

From leaving the house and all the way to the church it was just a delightful journey, and I enjoyed every word of it. The more I read Eliot, the more I am coming to recognize that she is truly a brilliant writer.


message 26: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Christopher wrote: "I am an avid birder, and I consulted my RSPB Field Guide to Birds of Britain, but could find no reference to a "speckled turkey." I wonder if Eliot uses a local name for a grouse or pheasant?"

Don't know. But found this:
http://www.jstor.org/pss/1588429


message 27: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Good find Chris! It could also be a reference to the English Partridge, or Grey Partridge, which has a speckled appearance. We do not have wild turkeys in the UK so eggs found in a nest outside of the farm may have been those of a wild partridge.

http://www.stevenround-birdphotograph...

For the birder in you:-

http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/g...


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
MadgeUK wrote: "Good find Chris! It could also be a reference to the English Partridge, or Grey Partridge, which has a speckled appearance. We do not have wild turkeys in the UK so eggs found in a nest outside of..."

Thanks for the link to 'garden-birds', it has gone to 'my favorites.' I need to start reviewing by British bird species before my trip too, as I'm sure I can pick up a great number for my 'Life List.'


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Christopher wrote: "Thanks for the link to 'garden-birds', it has gone to 'my favorites.' I need to start reviewing by British bird species before my trip too, as I'm sure I can pick up a great number for my 'Life List.'"

You birders can be a dedicated bunch!! I worked with a guy who took a one year temporary assignment on the West Coast just so he could collect as many western bird species as possible. It was a good career move too, but that was WAY down the list of reasons he took the job. :)

(And wow you were online early this morning!)


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Thanks for the link to 'garden-birds', it has gone to 'my favorites.' I need to start reviewing by British bird species before my trip too, as I'm sure I can pick up a great num..."

LOL! Yeah, I usually am up and at 'em by 0430 Pacific time. Make the coffee, scan the LA Times (which doesn't take too long these days), and then check in with my favorite bunch of folks!

Speaking of wacky birders, I have a friend that flew for a weekend trip to Iceland (from Phoenix, AZ) just to see some particular kind of seagull that he was missing from his 'life-list.' He found the damn bird too! ;-)


message 31: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments In the UK, the Isles of Scilly, off the south west coast, are reckoned to be the premier birdwatching site in Europe, lying as they do in the Gulf Stream:-

http://www.fatbirder.com/links_geo/eu...

http://www.cornwall-online.co.uk/isle...

I've seen lots of wacky people there:) (We call them birdwatchers not birders.).


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed Book 1. But I have to admit I struggled through Book 2 a chapter at a time. GE's characters are wonderful and she has a real feel for the pace and rhythm of rural life. Unfortunately that pastoral quietness is not engaging my attention right now.

From Chris, above @20: I can so envision that little scene right there! If that doesn't bring a smile to your face and happy thoughts to mind--well, you're dead. I am hereby officially a zombie. :)


message 33: by Everyman (last edited Oct 01, 2010 05:40PM) (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments I liked the list of books Adam had read (Chapter 19), and the comment that "Adam, you perceive, was by no means a marvellous man, nor, properly speaking, a genius... Yet such men as he are reared here and there in every generation of our peasant artisans...' These were the ordinary folks who were the targets of Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan, and who attended and actively participated in the workers reading groups which flourished both in England and in the US. Eliot shows us clearly that appreciation of great books is not limited to the university educated.

Indeed, it seems to me that Adam shows more appreciation for the lessons and meanings of these books than does Arthur, for all his expensive formal education.


message 34: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments "Mrs. Poyser was not to be caught in the weakness of smiling at a compliment.."

What a delightful line.


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Has anybody ever drunk whey? I never have, and don't know of anybody who has.

I thought instantly of Little Miss Muffett eating her curds and whey. No spider came down beside Adam, but he went in search of one who had ensnared him in her web.


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyman wrote: "Has anybody ever drunk whey? I never have, and don't know of anybody who has.

I thought instantly of Little Miss Muffett eating her curds and whey. No spider came down beside Adam, but he went ..."


LOL. Surely "curds and whey" must have just been the clabbered curds before the whey was drained and pressed out to form cheese. Pretty much the same as cottage cheese.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Has anybody ever drunk whey? I never have, and don't know of anybody who has.

I thought instantly of Little Miss Muffett eating her curds and whey. No spider came down beside Ad..."


How the hell do you even know this stuff, Kate? Sheesh, I was born and raised in Montana and around farms (not dairys, mind you) and never heard of "clabbered curds." You simply amaze me, Kate!


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Christopher wrote: "Kate wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Has anybody ever drunk whey? I never have, and don't know of anybody who has.

I thought instantly of Little Miss Muffett eating her curds and whey. No spider came d..."


LOL. I researched cheese making at one time. Before I decided it required "whey" too much effort and dedicated facilities to do anything of much interest. I have made mozarella though. That's pretty easy :)


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Kate wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Has anybody ever drunk whey? I never have, and don't know of anybody who has.

I thought instantly of Little Miss Muffett eating her curds and whe..."


Oh, Kate, Kate, Kate, that's bad, bad, bad (but pretty damned clever!).


message 40: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Please don't get me started on punning. It would be cheesy. I can churn out puns, in either English or American, with the consistency of a Swiss clock.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyman wrote: "Please don't get me started on punning. It would be cheesy. I can churn out puns, in either English or American, with the consistency of a Swiss clock."

~punders the invitation and wonders how long Chris will allow the thread to be hijacked~ It's holey up to you EM.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Can't you guys read "Adam Bede"? You know, talk about little Totty, or something? Cheese? I think I'll go press my face on the hot BBQ grill. You guys are killin' me! Can Clytaemnestra come over and hack me up in my tubbie tonight?


message 43: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Our bad.


message 44: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (joannamauselina) | 15 comments Kate wrote: "I enjoyed Book 1. But I have to admit I struggled through Book 2 a chapter at a time. GE's characters are wonderful and she has a real feel for the pace and rhythm of rural life. Unfortunately t..."

I love the descriptions of the pastoral life, but it wasn't keeping me awake at night to find out what happened next. However everything just took a turn for the more exciting, and when I am not reading, I can't wait to get back to it.

I thought the little scene at the tenant's dinner -when Adam was misinterpreting Hetty's looks and actions as being favorable towards himself, and Mary Burge was misinterpreting Adam's looks, sure that he was disgusted with Hetty's shallowness - very amusing and so true to human nature.


message 45: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 114 comments Joanna wrote: ...true to human nature.

I think you've just described what makes this book such a joy to me, Joanna. George Eliot has a wonderful way of letting us in on people's thoughts and motives and helping us to understand why they do the things they do. She's a master of psychology.


message 46: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 180 comments heya, can we open up the thread for book three? It's due, and my problem is I loved the book so much I read it all and now can't remember which plot points happened where . . . except not much of it happened in Book Two.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
S. Rosemary wrote: "heya, can we open up the thread for book three? It's due, and my problem is I loved the book so much I read it all and now can't remember which plot points happened where . . . except not much of i..."

Yikes! Thank you! On my way to create the new thread!


message 48: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments It's a bit early to talk about themes, and I'm not sure that this really qualifies as a theme, but I see several of the characters being challenged by the difference between the way they see themselves and their situation and the reality as we see it. Adam's deceiving himself about Hetty's intentions, Arthur deceiving himself about his own intentions, for two main examples. It is a bit like a Greek tragedy where we but no they can see the reefs on which their ships of life are threatened with destruction.


message 49: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Everyman wrote: "It's a bit early to talk about themes, and I'm not sure that this really qualifies as a theme, but I see several of the characters being challenged by the difference between the way they see themselves..."

Yes, I have posted about this elsewhere. GE set out to make this a novel based on realism, in contrast to its romantic forerunners and to this end she keeps showing us the unrealistic ideas of her characters and contrasting them with realistic outcomes. Of what they thought of themselves or others as against what was really the case. I think this is a constant theme throughout the novel and that GE intended it to be so.


message 50: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Everyman wrote: "It's a bit early to talk about themes, ...
Yes, I have posted about this elsewhere. GE set out to make this a novel based on realism,"


Yes, I read your post, but I'm talking about something different from realism.


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