Page 1 of 18
(1819-1880) The main story revolves around the life and love of Adam Bede, a carpenter of good and honest character. Adam is a practical head of his family, which includes his father, Thais Bede, who has taken to drink and has lost the respect of his son, Lisbeth, the well meaning but weakly fussy mother and Seth Bede, his brother, who is a Methodist. Seth is in love with his fellow Methodist, Dinah Morris. Although, Seth has tried his luck with Dinah once yet tries his luck once again. Seth assures her that marriage will not prove a hindrance in her religious duties. Dinah respects him very much, but she does not accept his proposal, because she feels that she should not marry. However, she assures him that if she ever thinks of marriage, he would be the first one. Poor Seth is dejected but tries to find consolation (، )دin her assurance. Adam is working in the workshop of Mr. Burge who desires that Adam should marry his daughter. In that case, he is ready to make him a partner in the business. However, Adam is in love with the pretty nice of Poysers named Hetty Sorrel. Hetty is a woman of a very shallow nature. Moreover, she has a soft corner for the heir of the village squire ( ) دارnamely Arthur-Donnithorne. Arthur is a childhood friend of Adam. He is a good man but is of a weak moral character and cannot resist the charm of Hetty. Unknown to Adam, Arthur and Hetty meet in the woods in the cottage which Arthur has furnished for living. At a birthday party, Arthur has paid great attention to Hetty, so that she started thinking to live a life of with Arthur and of the charms of that such a life would provide. Naturally, the offer of Adam now means nothing to vain Hetty. Arthur and Hetty are once surprised in the woods by Adam, who happens to pass that way just when two lovers are bending down for a kiss. Adam gets angry to see that he is being betrayed by his best friend. He forces a fight on Arthur and knocks him unconscious. In fact, for a time it appears to Adam that he has killed Arthur. Adam insists that the affair must end at once. He forces Arthur to write a letter to Hetty, in which he informs her that their love-affair must not continue. Hetty is shocked to find all her dreams turning to dust and Email:[email protected]
Page 2 of 18
ashes. In this situation a proposal from Adam appears to her a best chance. Burge offers partnership to Adam regardless of marriage with his daughter. Adam is now in a position to support a wife and makes a proposal to Hetty. Hetty accepts him and an early date is fixed for their marriage. All seems to be well for the major characters, Adam, Arthur and Hetty, when a tragedy strikes a swift blow which engulfs all of them. Hetty discovers herself pregnant. She did not inform anyone about this situation. On the pretext ( )ﮩہof inviting Dinah for marriage, Hetty leaves home. The object of her journey is Arthur, how has gone away with his regiment but has left his address with her in case of an emergency. After a tiring journey, she reaches the place but discovered that in the meanwhile the regiment has moved to Ireland. At the end of her resources, she at last decided to meet Dinah. However, she unexpectedly gives birth to a child in the house of a kind-hearted and God-fearing couple. She leaves the place on the very next day. It is known later that she placed the infant in a hollow under a tree and covered it with grass and small pieces of wood. Later, she comes back to look for the child, which, in the meanwhile, has been taken away by a man who has seen a small hand coming out of the grass. On reaching home, he finds the infant to be dead. He informs authorities and Hetty is arrested for child-murder. In Hays lope, this news first reaches the priest, Mr. Irwin. In the meanwhile, Adam has been on the futile search for Hetty. He, now, learns the bitter truth from Irwin and also tells him that he knows about Hetty and Arthur. Hetty is tried for the crime of murdering her own child, is found guilty and sentenced to death. She is saved from the very verge (، )رﮦof death by a hard won relief by Arthur. Her punishment is changed into life imprisonment. Dinah Morris succeeds in moving the hardened heart of Hetty and obtaining a full confession from her. During Hetty’s trial she comes in close contact with Adam and falls in love with him. Seth despairs of success with Dinah in his love-suit and asks Adam to try his luck with her. Adam does so and is accepted. Hetty undergoes a long imprisonment, is released but dies on her way home. Arthur decides to join the army and leaves Hays lope.
Q 1: Discuss merits and demerits of George Eliot’s plot construction with special reference to her novel “Adam Bede”. Email:[email protected]
Page 3 of 18
Or What are the new trends that are introduced by George Eliot in plot construction in English novel writing? Discuss with special reference to her novel “Adam Bede”.
Answer: George Eliot is considered to be a revolutionary name in the field of novel writing. She has been considered among the last of Victorians but first in the modern novelist. Her modern approach created a sensation in the literary circles. In the hands of George Eliot novel undergoes a clear cut change. It is truly said that from the time of Fielding to George Eliot conception ( )ذﮨ رof the form of English novel remained unchanged. One of the important changes introduced by George Eliot is that of providing a complex plot and psychoanalysis of her characters. In “Adam Bede” she has very beautifully given the inner workings of Arthur, Adam and Hetty’s minds. She analyses their motives, mental process, inner conflicts, their souls and development of their characters. She dissects the soul of her characters and brings out their inner struggle. In the earlier novels, the plot was of straightforward nature and unity was only in terms of the presence of hero. But, in the novels of George Eliot we come across the refined ( دور ﮯﮨٔے# $، )&فelements of the crafts of fiction. The plot of “Adam Bede” is not well unified as that of “Mill on The Floss” and “Middlemarch”, yet it shows the quality introduced by George Eliot. “Adam Bede” does not have a loose plot to which we were used to in the early novels of Jane Austen and Dickens. The plot of this novel is skillfully put together and we really appreciate the full magic of its story and see that it is a great work of art. The plot is preconceived ( ))ﮩﮯ (ﮯ ('ﮨاby the author. The story unfolds the character as it proceeds further. The story teller works her will on us because we are convinced that these people and town or village actually exists. When we read the suffering of the characters, we indulge in the natural human tendency to sympathize. In “Adam Bede” the events and the background are intermingled perfectly. The evolution of the plot depends upon the qualities of the characters as well as the opportunities provided and restrictions imposed by the environment. This is exactly what happens in “Adam Bede”. The opportunities and restrictions act and react so impressively that the plot takes a lofty image in the eyes of the readers. Email:[email protected]
Page 4 of 18
The full effect of Arthur’s submission to the sensual appeal of Hetty’s charm and innocence and all that happens later on depends upon the relationship of both the character to each other and to the world. The pride and self-respect of Poysers (Hetty’s family), is established in reader’s mind by the vivid () picture of their surroundings, their domestic life and the performing of their church duties. All these elements play a very vital role in the plot of “Adam Bede” to cause a tragedy and enhancing the bitterness. It is the social background and the standard of conduct that makes it necessary for Hetty to run away before the birth of illegal child. It is the honour which creates a sense of affliction (* +، )دردfor them. “Adam Bede” deals with different aspects of human life at different levels. Even Arthur cannot tolerate the shame that was brought due his relation with Hetty. Most of the action that we see in this regard provides us the inner psyche of the characters and reveals the importance of this form of honour. This special interest of the plot is the whole novel. As famous critic Gerald Bullet says, “The dramatic strength of Adam Bede lies in the story of Hetty, so strongly imagined and so honestly told, giving the reader great psychological insight into the behaviour patterns of the characters involved in special intimacy. The sense of humanity, warm sense of rural comedy and hustle and bustle of life is wonderfully amalgamated in the main plot.” Like all great novels, “Adam Bede” has also some flaws. Critics make the point that the end of the novel is not that impressive as it should be. The weakness of plot is mentioned on different levels. The oppressive (ار,د،ہ-) nature of Adam and Dinah, the sacrifice of probability (ن+$ا،ل0)ا, and the untidy (ہ1 ( )ﮯ ending have often been mentioned in this regard. But these minor flaws become pardonable (23$ #4) when we see that Georg Eliot was giving new trends in the field of plot construction. This new experiment bound to have some failure. In short, it can be safely said that “Adam Bede” has a very special chain of events which has been marvelously arranged to build a forceful plot. George Eliot’s effort is highly appreciable in this regard.
Q 2: Discuss George Eliot’s art of characterization with special reference to “Adam Bede’.
Answer: In novel writing, like the dramatic art the significance of characterization cannot be denied. Particularly the modern novelists lay great emphasis on the Email:[email protected]
Page 5 of 18
true and forceful delineation of characters. The great the quality of characterization, the higher is the appeal of fiction writing. This is exactly what we find in almost all the great writings of George Eliot. She is rightly credited with introducing an almost revolutionary change in the delineation and presentation of characters. The novelists of later generation have fully acknowledged the greatness of George Eliot in this regard. D. H Lawrence, one of the most influential modern novelists pays tribute to George Eliot in the following words: “It was she who started it all; it was she who started to put all the action inside her characters.” George Eliot’s skill in characterization is now fully recognized, though it is generally believed that this mastery is exhibited only in “Middlemarch” and more particularly in the “Mill on the Floss”. To some degree Eliot’s matchless skill is shown equally well in “Adam Bede”, her first full length novel. Even here her characters are made perfectly credible and their motives are fully established. It has been mentioned by many critics that she exposes all the complex feelings of spirit that strike at the doors of disturb conscious. She describes the action before it is committed. She reveals the actions when they are taking shape into the hearts. When they are committed their ugliness is exposed. For instances, the character of Arthur is the best example of the change brought in by the novelist herself. In portraying this particular character, she lays bare all the conscious as well as semi-conscious emotions which compel him to action. We see the working of his inner most mind. The characterization in “Adam Bede” is absolutely vivid and memorable. In the words of a modern critic, “There is not a single character in the novel which is not perfectly drawn, even if the portrait is but a sketch still it is a true one. Even the character of Mr. Irwin, the person, is very carefully drawn and plays a very impressive role in the final predicament ( )امof Hetty. His religious learning has made him a very sensible and caring figure. The sufferings and agonies of humanity seem to him his own sufferings. He extends full cooperation to anybody who undergoes injustice, oppression and unfair treatment. Even such a minor character finds full opportunity to make a mark on the readers.” The other critic, Hennery James and Gerald Bullet have found some irregularities in the characterization in “Adam Bede”. For example, it is their belief that the major characters like Adam and Dinah do not arouse the desired interest. They also claim that the character of Mrs. Poysers has been over praised. Both these critics are unanimous (670$) in their opinion that Hetty has been the Email:[email protected]
Page 6 of 18
most successful creation of all the characters. Her innocence, great interest in life, her sharing capability, and great interest in human psyche and her free and frank attitude in all matters of life make her a very complete character, the most suitable for the modern day fiction. The whole gallery of characters, from major to minor, has been beautifully projected to create desired effect. The perfection and imperfection of the personalities of different characters make a wonderful sense of literary triumph by the great novelist. The peak of characterization becomes self-evident when we glance at the variety of characters, roles they perform and the inner coordination that they exhibit at every level. The psychological pattern of inner thinking is the hallmark (8 ں:) of special gift of characterization of George Eliot. The complex feelings keep on adding to the overall effect and the thematic interpretations (;: 8) of the different segments of the plot. The collective picture that emerges out of this fine blend of action and characterization is a gem (< ہ، )ﮨindeed. No other novelist of George Eliot’s era can claim to have produced such marvelous interlink (= ﮨا ﮨ$ > )ﮨand psychological treatment at such an artistic level. Characterization is definitely a special feature of George Eliot’s art of novel writing, which is difficult to surpass ( ? ﮯ[email protected]
(). To conclude, it can be said with absolute confidence that the writing of George Eliot are full of unique characters which are larger than life. The typical flavour of George Eliot’s own personality gives colour and broader dimension to her characters. The matchless characters are the proud product of strong mind of the writer. Adam, Hetty, Dinah and few others testify this reality.
Q 3: Give a character sketch of Adam Bede.
Answer: Adam is an intelligent but not well educated rural carpenter who feels that he understands the nature of the things. For him life is very simple and he believes that the world operates according to certain mechanical principles which never change. He also believes that one should spend one’s life according to certain principles of right conduct. He is an unemotional person and believes that one should always do one’s duty no matter what the circumstances are. For this reason he is a sober young man, totally dedicated to his work. He rarely does things for his own pleasure but always tries to do the right thing in every situation. Email:[email protected]
Page 7 of 18
Such a kind of attitude creates many fine qualities in him. Adam has a strong nature. He is brave and aggressive and does not yield under pressure, because he thinks he knows what right is. He is self-confident and expresses himself honestly. His dedication to his duty makes him strong willed and determined person. It also leads him to approach problems in a logical forward looking way. All in all, he is a very optimistic young man as novel opens. He feels that he can handle any situation through positive action. He feels that he is in control of himself and of the course of his life. The deep study of novel reveals that Adam is somewhat immature. Even the experiences of life have not changed his strict view point. As his reaction to his father shows that he lacks sympathy for other people’s weaknesses. He is dedicated to duty himself and he expects others to have same attitude in life. He is thus self-righteous and somewhat intolerant. His basic aggressiveness is expressed through his violent attitude. Sometimes, he seems to feel that violence is the most honest and practical way to solve the problems. As he feels in control of his situation, he is a proud and self-centered man. He is the one who clings to his own opinion and insists on getting his own way. The negative features in his personality emerge most clearly in his first reaction to Arthur when he comes to know about the love affair between Arthur and Hetty. His passions get out of hand and he tries to solve his problem in the most direct possible way by taking physical revenge on Arthur and then forcing him to write to Hetty about terminating the relationship. At this point his pride has even corrupted his good qualities and he refuses to forgive Arthur. The regret that Adam feels for having knocked Arthur down is the first step towards maturity. He realizes that he has done something rash which serves no useful purpose and which cannot be retracted (ﮯ ﮨﭩBC )). From this point, under the influence of Dinah, Mr. Irwin and his own experience, he begins to soften. He becomes acquainted with “irremediable evil” at Hetty’s trial. It is the sort of situation which he cannot control or set right. This places him in a dilemma and he solves it by accepting the imperfect situation and by extending sympathy to Hetty and Arthur. In short, he becomes humble and instead of judging people’s behaviour by his own standards, he treats them well in spite of their faults. His self-righteous and intolerance fall away and he realizes that doing right implies acting in a loving way whether people come up to his notion of proper conduct or not. The pride which has isolated him from others vanishes and he accepts his own and his nears limitations. After a great struggle, he is able to put others happiness before own, even to forgive the man he had considered his enemy.
Page 8 of 18
Adam’s personality is consistent throughout the novel. His values simply shift as he grows more mature and realistic. At the end, he is still strong but now his strength founded on acceptance of the world as it is. He has come to see that it is more important to love than to be technically right in any given situation. Adam is thus Eliot’s primary illustration of the way in which a man can develop what according to her standard is proper self understanding. He becomes moral instead of moralistic and evolves gentleness. In short, Adam Bede is a perfectly round character and grows steadily throughout the course of the novel.
Q 4: Give a character sketch of Dinah Morris.
Answer: To most of the readers sweet pity of Dinah seems distasteful. It seems like too much of a good thing. But this reaction is based on an unhistorical view of the character, it is not valid (6D$ ﮯ ﮯDE). Dinah Morris’s style of speech seems quite odd to the modern reader but this was a fact that such type of speech was common in 18th century. The reader of 21st century finds it unnatural but George Eliot was creating a historically accurate picture and this should be kept in mind while judging her characters. On the other hand, this wrong reaction to Dinah’s character is quite valid. Most critics of the world urge that Dinah is not a realistic character. She is an ideal and a perfect woman who has no fault. Perhaps she is the personification of abstract ( ﮨاFB') goal of Eliot’s ethical system. There are perfect no women in the world, nor there likely to be. Dinah is rather clearly inhuman in her piety. Without any doubt Dinah is a good woman. She is completely dedicated to the Lord’s work. Wherever she encounters suffering, she tries to alleviate it. She has spent her whole life in deeds of charity. Dinah’s piety is not an abstract one. She preaches what she believes and practices what she preaches. Through long experience she had discovered how to comfort people and bring them to God. In the course of novel, she had a good effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Dinah is also entirely humble. She considers herself as the servant of the people. She is a working woman and no task is too mean for her. She visits afflicted people in prison and in their simple cottages and she shares their hard life with them. Email:[email protected]
Page 9 of 18
The close study of the novel makes it quite evident that she is absolutely selfless. She never allows any thought of her own comfort to interfere with the performance of her duty. She looks upon her own desires as temptations which must be restricted. She always places God before man and other people before herself. And finally she is totally benevolent. Dinah never does anything which is not likely to have good effects. She has no dislikes and she treats everyone with respect and sympathy. No one in the novel disapproves her behaviour. She is universally praised by all who know her. Dinah gives up her life of taking care and preaching when she marries Adam. But, she takes this step only after assuring herself that it is God’s will and her basic personality does not change at all. Dinah remains at the end what she was at the beginning. She was a morally perfect woman with the face and bearing of an angle and the heart of a saint. To conclude, we may say that George Eliot has presented Dinah as a symbol of womanly virtue and as a very caring character. She is affectionate, cooperating, sympathetic and very tender hearted. We learn from different parts of the novel about her generosity and large-heartedness. Every critic has shown his appreciation for Dinah for her harmless nature and her appealing personality. George Eliot has certainly presented a larger than life character in the figure of Dinah. The readers have naturally great regard for her. Her personality gives a very sober colour to the entire action of the novel. The inner piety of the novelist reflects through the noble character of Dinah.
Q5: Discuss the local colour and comic relief in Adam Bede.
Answer: As a literary term, local colour refers to description of life and character in particular locality. The customs of the people, their speeches, their particular way of looking at things is presented to the reader often in a slightly sentimentalized or desirous way. Dickens and Bret Harte are probably the best known practitioners of this type. Comic relief is familiar term which needs careful examination. An author wants to relive the intensity of the serious plot-line by inserting comic characters or situations. These entertaining devices help keep the reader’s interest lively and balance out the fictional picture of the half tragic, half comic world. Probably, the most famous comic relief in English literature is the knocking at the gate in Email:[email protected]
Page 10 of 18
“Macbeth”, where sight of drunken porter relaxes the audiences after the murder of Duncan. Eliot uses both these devices in “Adam Bede”. In a strict sense most of the novel is full of local colour. The settings and the speeches of the characters belongs to a specific time and place. But certain characters function almost entirely as local colour figures. These people are actually the part of the novel’s background. They provide a concrete atmosphere in which central action of the story takes place. Mr. Poyser is a typical Warwickshire farmer and Mr. Ben exemplifies the typical attitude of the Warwickshire town labourer of his days. Eliot gives a lot of attention to the habits and customs of the local people. For example, most of chapter 6 and 18 describes what ordinary people did and said on ordinary days in the Warwickshire countryside in 1800. The pictures presented at different levels of the village life are relevant and realistic. They are a frank and representation of the functioning physical world of that time. Parts of book 3, especially chapter 25 on the games at the Arthur’s birthday party show how people celebrate an important event. We find the local custom of the harvest supper. The sections of the novel which concentrate on developing local colour serve other purposes as well. For example, in book 3 we see calm prevails before the storm. Eliot builds up suspense by talking of minor matters, while delaying the explosion of the inevitable conflict. We see that suspense is created in chapter 53 while Dinah thinks over Adam’s proposal from different angles. These events also provide the much needed comic relief. It is no accident that the relatively lighthearted portion of the novel comes after the grim conflict between Adam and Arthur. This has been done deliberately to minimize the emerging tension. Thus local colour and comic relief work hand in hand in “Adam Bede”. Eliot is determined to write a realistic novel about common people, dig her memories of childhood and creates a specific concrete world. She projects it in a very sentimental way and takes delight in the charming presentation of rural folk. Eliot does not forget that one important function of the novelist is to entertain. So she provides us something to laugh at by describing the real life pattern of the village people. To conclude, it can be said that the entire novel is full of local environment and there is no dearth () of comic relief. These two vital elements of the novel add beauty and comprehensiveness to the novel writing of George Eliot. Her quality does not make Adam Bede laborious (GH ?I$), boring or unattractive rather local colour and comic relief should be taken as very strong plus point of the novelist.
Page 11 of 18
Q 6: Discuss George Eliot as a modern novelist.
Answer: George Eliot has a distinction of being regarded as the first modern novelist in the real sense of the word. She introduced a conception of novel which is still a continuing effect on the current pattern of novel writing. The main reason of her fame is that she is first modern novelist in English. The first period of the English novel begins with Fielding and ends with Trollope. The second period is of Henry James and Meredith. Third period started with George Eliot and is hardly over today. Though, she was not a revolutionary genius like Emily Bronte, yet her mode of writing and her personal temperament were cautious (ط0I$) and scholarly. Her books do have a shadow of his predecessors as she learnt a lot from them. Although, her mode of writing was very much like Victorian yet there are some important differences as well. Though, she does not break the old tradition which she inherited, yet she altered its fundamental characteristics. She used the old formulas but used them for a new purpose. Her creative impulse gave her a new inspiration. Even George Eliot has used some of the literary ingredients as used by earlier Victorian novelists but she gives them totally different value. For instance, the theme of “Middlemarch” involves a description of the social life as elaborate as that of Trollope, but this description is not her chief interest in writing the story. The farm life in “Adam Bede” is there to provide an occasion for telling the story. The significant feature that makes George Eliot a modern novelist is the separate scene and characters. The things which have primary importance for the Victorian novelists have secondary importance for Eliot. George Eliot’s novels do not consist of a number of characters with haphazard ( ہ47 )اplot imposed on them in order to keep them together. The plot did not arise from the characters, except in the case of “Vanity Fair”. George Eliot started the idea of characters and situations. She did not intend to follow the standardized formula. Hence, she developed something which was quite different from the accepted Victorian notion of a plot. There was no marriage, no happy ending and no characters according to the Victorian conception of hero and heroine. “The Mill on the Floss” ends badly and has no hero at all. In “Middlemarch” there is no central figure of any kind and main interest is divided between four separate groups of characters and none of them approaches the Email:[email protected]
Page 12 of 18
conventional heroic type. Moreover, as the action of the story arises logically from the characters, those strokes of fortunate, coincidences, sudden inheritance, long last wills which the main material are in ordinary Victorian plot, are totally absent. The great novels of earlier period had mainly been written for the entertainment of middle classes. Their subject matter was limited. But for George Eliot the novel was medium for the discussion of serious problems. Eliot is a distant landmark in the history of the English novel. She does not regard novel as entertainment. In her hands novel becomes a fit vehicle for the highest art as well as profound criticism of life. She regards individuals more important than society. The society must come forward to add to the happiness of the individual. It must not bring hurdles in the path of individual aspirations. In short, we see that from every point of view George Eliot can be regarded as the first real modern novelist in English literature. Her plots, her social technique, her psychological insights and her own special flavour of liberated personality makes her true representative of modern version of novel.
Q 7: Discuss George Eliot’s realism. Or What are the biographical elements in “Adam Bede”? Or Discuss the dear reader technique of George Eliot in “Adam Bede”. Or Discuss Eliot’s psychological approach in “Adam Bede”.
Answer: George Eliot has been considered as the intellectual novelist. For every intellectual novelist realism is necessary, but for Eliot it is a creed and ambition. She declares her stories as “a criticism of life”; hence she draws her stories from actual life. She draws her own model and deals everything with devoted and Email:[email protected]
Page 13 of 18
sincere truthfulness. Whereas, such truthfulness is missing in Dickens and Faulkner, rather there is an air of artificiality in their work. Eliot says: “Falsehood is so easy, truth is so difficult.” But for writer like Eliot’s intellect, it is very difficult to create falsehood. In Eliot’s time, the “dear reader” technique was widely used. The method derives from the conception that since fiction was literally ( ﮟ$ 3$ LM) untrue hence was a deception and morally unhealthy. 18th century writers, especially Defoe took pains to insist that their novels were real account of true happenings. Although, 19th century gradually came to accept fiction as fiction, the custom of speaking directly to the readers would do persisted. It took novel another forty years to take its place as a serious art form. Through out “Adam Bede”, Eliot pretends that it is a true story. She takes the position of one who is merely recording events as heard by her. Almost all the background of her stories arises from her early childhood memories of the Warwickshire countryside. For this reason she says that her novels are her “experience of life”. Though there is great contribution and blend of imagination, yet description have a warmth and colour of memory. In “Adam Bede” events of the story take place in 1799 i.e. about half a century before it is written, yet George Eliot shows such a clear picture of past, that to many older people it reminds the era of their early years or childhood. Hays lope world is as true as any village in England. Eliot draws her characters from real life. In “Adam Bede” she describes that Dinah Morris is a pen picture of her own Methodist aunt, Mrs. Samuel Evans. Though, her aunt is not like Dinah in her softness and beauty, yet the main idea is taken from her. Even the main theme of the story i.e. confession and execution of a woman, on murdering her child, is taken from account of a similar incident by Eliot’s same aunt. Thus she tries to make it more real by using original story. It is said that her character of Adam, resembles Eliot’s father very closely. Her power of observation goes hand in hand with her memory and imagination. It is her deep observation of people’s behaviour in daily life, which makes her character more close to reality. Mrs. Poyser represents true wit and humour of a pure countrywoman of that time. It is said that she had some characteristics of Eliot’s mother. Through Arthur Eliot bitterly satirizes the general behaviour and customs of landlords. Eliot also depicts the ‘psychological realism’ in her novels. She has deep insight in her human nature and she unveils its weaknesses. Her stories define a Email:[email protected]
Page 14 of 18
certain ‘moral conflict’ of human life; the conflict of duty and desire, of heart and head, of mind and soul. The inner world of her characters is more important to her than the outer one. She skillfully penetrates to the inner-self of her character and thus exposes them. Eliot’s keen observation of human nature is also visible in the minor incidents of the novel. For instance, man’s natural selfishness is revealed through various characters. As when Hetty resolves to forgive Arthur, it is also for the sake of her own salvation ()ت. Another example of Eliot’s intellect and insight in human nature is shown in the marriage of Adam with Dinah. It expresses man natural instinct to escape from pain and suffering, and that every passion losses its intensity with the passage of time. Eliot has been criticized on grounds of exaggerating in some cases. An objection is raised that she has made Hetty’s sufferings prolonged and acute ( ?ﮩ ?O(), and she does not deserve such extremely harsh treatment. The reason might be so that being a moralist; Eliot could not spare even the slightest moral lapse in her female characters. Another, objection is that “she has made Adam and Dinah” too good to be true”. Their excessive goodness makes them unreal. But this was done by Eliot with a definite aim to reject the popular notion of her time that all men and women are mere temptress () ے م ) اﮯ وا. In short, George Eliot’s wisdom, intellect and imagination do not go for from reality. Her insight into human nature brings the very truth about ourselves in front of us also. It is her trait which differ her from other Victorians and make her first in the queue of modern novelists.
Q 8: Discuss George Eliot as a moralist. Or “Adam Bede” is dramatization of ultimate best in man. What is your opinion? Or Adam Bede learns through pains. His knowledge of suffering makes him the man of high standing. Do you agree? Email:[email protected]
Page 15 of 18
Answer: In her youth, George Eliot came in contact with intellectual figures of her age. When her vision widened, she lost faith in Orthodox ( ﮦ13 اP(را، )ﭩChristianity, and after that she could not believe in the supernatural concepts and immortality of human soul throughout her life. For this reason she has been accused of being agonistic ( ﮯ ﮯ ر رﮨﮯ وا:ٔ )ﮍاand atheist ( 2،R:)ﮯ د. But she never appears as an atheist in her stories, only her approach to religion is intellectual. She could not believe in dogmatic parts of religion, but she had faith in its ethical preaching. She was concerned with only moral aspects of religion. Her standards of right and wrong were exactly those of the puritans (ہ4 2 I $ S:)ا. Her spiritual values were based on human values, not on the Bible. She believes that anyone leading a virtuous life enjoys real happiness and is essentially contented with life. Some critics have claimed that George Eliot could not be a moralist, as she herself was immoral in her life. She was living with Lewis without marriage. But, if we consider through the views of human values, she did not commit any immoral act. Lewis’ wife had left him and George Eliot wanted to console him and second marriage is not allowed in Christianity. Like Fielding, Eliot also wrote with definite purpose, which was to “inject the moral” into people. However, her concept of morality was quite different from that of Fielding. In fact, she wanted to vex ( زردﮦU) or reshape the consciousness of the individuals to reform the whole society. For this reason, she used her novels as a platform for moral preaching. She gave psychological insight of her characters, thus making them more lifelike and acceptable. She thought them her morality through their sufferings and experiences. Her moral belief is clear from her following statements: “Our deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds”. Egoism is the central idea of her novels. She describes how an egoistic creates problems for himself as well as for others. In “Adam Bede”, she strikes at the feudal egoism in the character of Arthur. He wanted to overcome his flaws but it was an inborn quality, which brought the catastrophe in the novel. George Eliot stresses on the balance between the interests of the self and that of the other selves. She thinks that no one can be moral, unless he breaks the prison of the self. She wants people to look upon the sufferings of the people around them and pity them. She feels that even the weakest person has something to be admired. According to her, no one get ultimate happiness unless he maintains content relationship with human beings. Email:[email protected]
Page 16 of 18
She believes that sufferings are essential for the development of personality, because sufferings mould a man. Through the medium of sufferings an egoistic matures. She shows her characters suffers and learns a lot. Adam’s sympathies are widened through his sufferings and his feelings of self-righteousness gradually lessen. Hetty also regenerates and matures through her sufferings. She wants people to maintain emotional self-control. Passions should always be under the control of reason, as sentimentality destroys man and brings his downfall. In “Adam Bede” Arthur’s and Hetty’s sentimentality brought their tragedy and to which there was no remedy. Eliot in her stories lay stress on absoluteness (? H و8$ V) of duty. To her, one should not compromise on duty at any cost. Hetty does not care for her duty towards her uncle and aunt and in her vanity goes far away. That’s why she suffers. Eliot thinks that endurance and renunciation (L )د(? دارare necessary for happy and successful life. Adam remains unsatisfied, when he is rash and intolerant but becomes calm and peaceful when he regenerates and through his sufferings and learns to endure others. Dinah is also a symbol of endurance and patience. Eliot believes in the justice in life. According to her, virtuous people live a contented life and a sinner or an immoral man is sure to meet his fate (G ،ر1$). She is sure that one can’t escape from the consequences of one’s own actions. Even the smallest sin will have its punishment, though not immediately, yet in times to come. Hetty and Arthur both are example of her that belief. In the end, it can be said that Eliot preached the religion of morality. However, her approach to moralization was aesthetic ( ) and not conservative () ?$ا4). She linked ethics with aesthetics. In fact, ethics were driving force of her novels. In short, she was definitely a moralist like any other novelist and her novels were a “criticism of life”.
Q 9: What is Methodism? Is “Adam Bede” a propagation of this religious phenomenon?
Answer: Methodism may be defined as “a movement of reaction against the apathy ( دﮦ د$،L ﮩ$ )( دof the Church of England that prevailed in the early part of 18th Email:[email protected]
Page 17 of 18
century. John Wesley, who was a student at Oxford and took holy orders in 1725, founded this movement. Methodist society was formed in 1729 when a few young men at Oxford came together under his leadership. Their object was the promotion of piety and morality. The greatest success of this movement was among the lower classes. When the Methodist movement strengthened, lady preachers were appointed to meet the need. First Wesley Conference was held in 1744, in which women were allowed to preach but later they were restricted to preach. In the beginning, this movement worked under the established church, but as the society grew, it became more independent. However, separation was made after the death of Wesley in 1791. “Adam Bede’ was published in 1859, but the story of the novel takes place in 1799. This was the time of most stirring (ﮯ واﮯ: )ه=دevents all over the world. Civil war was fought in United States, in Italy there raised the Movement of Independence, Japan came out of self-imposed isolation, Russia freed her occupied areas, and France fell to internal strife. But Hays lope in England, in which the action of the novel takes place, remains unaffected by all these events. In “Adam Bede”, the famous religious movement of the time, Methodism, is discussed. Dinah Morris, who is one of the most devoted and firm Methodist, represents this movement. She is a very influential preacher and her sermons show the characteristics of Methodist preaching. Her first appearance in the novel is in a sermon at Hays lope. This sermon has a purely Methodist appeal. At first there is an emphasis on God’s love for poor, then there is a call for repentance over the sins and in the end there is warning against worldly vanity. This speech is very much similar to one of the speeches of Wesley. This speech creates a moving affect on the audience. However, by and large, the people of Hays lope remained unaffected by Methodism, while people of Snowfield are more receptive (@ل ﮯ وا4) of it. Dinah is an example of the most sincere type of Methodist. She has a soft nature and has great sympathy for the sinners. Her chief aim is to know the will of God and to follow it. She consults the Bible before taking any crucial decision. Hence, she rejects Seth and accepts Adam after consolation. Dinah’s Methodist spirit also appears on two occasions. First one is when she visits Lisbeth Bede to console her on her husband’s death. With her soothing words and manners, she helps Lisbeth to regain her self control. Dinah gets this healing touch through her Methodist learning.
Page 18 of 18
The other occasion comes when Dinah meets Hetty in prison and makes her confess. Hetty has no concept of the agony of soul. She fears only for the suffering of the body. But Dinah makes her feel the physical presence of God with them. She urges Hetty, “To put a new fear within her-the fear of her sin. Thus, because of Dinah’s efforts and prayers, Hetty realizes the sufferings of her soul, confesses her crime and repents on her sin. The novel also presents the tolerant attitude of the established church towards Methodism. Through a short speech at the end, it is made clear that Dinah is not going to preach anymore. It is because the Second Wesley Conference has forbidden the women to preach. It was felt that women preachers did more harm than goodness with their preaching. But Dinah does not belong to that group of women. She is a symbol of purity and a force of good. Moreover, much of the story involves Methodism and hence it progresses through Dinah. However, Eliot is more concerned with the psychology of the characters and their moral choice. She wants to moralize the people and Dinah’s Methodist approach also highlights the moral elements to be developed in the people.