Thursday, September 2, 2010

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Yea! Finally done with Middlemarch. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it. It was a long book and it took me almost a month to read. I summarized my thoughts halfway last week but I thought I would talk a little about the characters and why I liked or didn't like them.
Dorothea-Probably my favorite character in the book. Dorothea longs for a life different that she has. She longs to be poor (or maybe just not as rich). She wants to learn more and not be constrained by what's right for women to learn. Dorothea speaks her mind overall and, in my mind, is the most steady of the characters.
Mr Casaubon-I liked Mr Casaubon at the beginning. Over time, I pitied him. Here's this older gentleman, doing ok in life. He meets this young woman who wants to be his companion and assist him with his writings. After marrying Dorothea, it seemed like he didn't know what to do with her. Honestly I think he probably would have been better off with a secretary than a wife.
Mr Brooks-This man's speech patterns annoyed the crap out of me. Overall nice man, just never looked forward to him speaking.
Celia-Not as much substance as Dorothea. But she served as a nice opposite to Dorothea. Celia was happy to get married, have babies, and do as expected by the rest of society.
Rosamond-Similar to Celia. She was a good opposite to Dorothea as well. I did want to write her off but she proved helpful at the end. After she marries Mr Lydgate, Rosy has to learn that life sometimes isn't as easy as it was when you live with your folks.
Fred & Mary-Probably my favorite couple. I loved the evolution of "them". I was excited by their happy ending in the Finale. I also liked her mother and father. Could have read a book about the Garths on their own happily.
Will-My favorite male character. In the beginning he seemed like a shyster but redeemed himself in my eyes by refusing Mr Bulstrode's money and attempting to leave Dorothea to live her life without his interference.
Overall I enjoyed Middlemarch. Especially the last half. Once I understood what was going on and what Eliot was trying to do (the life of a town's inhabitants and how they affect each other), I relaxed and enjoyed Middlemarch. It's a beautiful story of love, family, honor, trust, patience, and society.


Allie said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! It is definitely a chunker, but I think it is well worth it.

Have you read any other Eliot?

moonrat said...

i read this last year (May 2009) for Gaps, with a bunch of other folks from these parts... i LOVED it (with the exception of the long auction sequence, which kind of made my eyeballs dry out and roll around). i also felt like it made me a better person -- everyone makes such MORAL decisions it has made me think harder about why i do stuff. or at least, it's made me WANT to be a better person.

Allie--i've never read any other stuff of hers, but do you have any recs?

Allie said...

Silas Marner is excellent, but very different from any of her other work. It is also much shorter and easier to get through.

My personal favorite is The Mill on the Floss, which I just read this past Spring. Its shorter than Middlemarch, but I liked it a lot more. It was a very beautiful and emotional read!