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MiddleLab

The online laboratory for NAI Seniors's study of George Eliot's Middlemarch.

Middlemarch Marathon Hour 2: Chapter 3-5

By 2:30 PM ,



This hour we are reading chapters 3, 4, and 5 Commercial provided by your very own reading buddy, Julie Minnis! Chapters to be read by Christian & Chirsten. Please leave responses and thoughts on this hour's reading through a comment to this post!


About Chirsten:
Chirsten is a senior majoring in English Literature at the University of Southern California. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in the grand state of Texas. Before transferring to USC, she attended community college for two years. She’s actively involved in the local community through volunteering opportunities at USC. She hopes to become a lawyer and also pursue creative endeavors in writing short stories, plays, and for the screen. In any way she can, she desires to make a difference in the lives of others. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, going to the movies, and watching sports with her family.


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Commercial:
First, paintings from 1850 to 1890 England showing images of the Midlands in the time period of Eliot’s Middlemarch-
            

A photo from the 19th Century that shows the peasant woman herding the sheep that were very much a part of the Estate industry.


And now the contemporary Midlands-

             

              



From Julie:
Hi Fellow Readers, this is Julie reading along with you here in Santa Cruz.

I’m fascinated in these three chapters (3, 4, and 5) how quickly George Eliot advances the narrative and seems not to waste time providing much background.  I felt like I entered into the characters’ relationships and was carried away by their thoughts, words, and actions. 

Are you with me?  What did you think of Dorothea’s captivation with Edward Casaubon?  I found myself thinking about their age difference and what it would feel like to marry someone 28 years older than myself.  When I was 19 years old, I would have thought “icky”; how could she marry someone old enough to be her father?

I pondered the line on page 23:  “He thinks with me,” said Dorothea to herself,”or rather, he thinks a whole world of which my thought is but a poor twopenny mirror.” 

Then, onto the scene comes Sir James with his own style of courting, complete with a white puppy. I wanted to jump into the narrative and tell Dorothea not to be so harsh with him. 

I found myself wondering how Dorothea came to draw plans for cottages that the workers on the estates would live in and replace the existing lean-to type of structures.  Where did her interest and inspiration come from?  I want to know more about her idea of “how all people should have a home.”

Well, this is enough from me for now.  Let’s get back to reading Chapter 6 and seeing how the marriage will move forward
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About Julie:
Literacy Consultant with Pajaro Valley Unified School District and National Steinbeck Center; formerly, English Teacher, Santa Cruz High School; Teacher Consultant, Central California Writing Project


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22 comments

  1. This is Julie here in Santa Cruz following along with the readings and conversations. I made a video for you and I have been tech challenged getting it to you. Glad to see my comments were posted, only wish I could be there with you.
    What did you think of E. Casaubon's "romantic" letter proposal to Dorothea? Would you be ready to marry a man who sent you a letter proposal? Enjoy and I'll check in again.

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  2. Group 3 per 2
    I really like how Dorothea does not mind the age difference between her and Mr. Casaubon. Rather she admires his wisdom that comes from his old age. Although this does leave me questioning if the dramatic age difference will cause conflict of ideas between the two in the future.-Victoria Garcia

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  3. Adamaris Marty Yulimar and LillySeptember 17, 2016 at 5:28 PM

    The only disappointment Dorothea has for Casaubon is his indifference for cottages. Dorothea felt that "she was presumptuous in demanding his attention to such a subject." Building cottages is one of Dorothea's main desire. In contrast, Sir James Chettam is interested in her cottage plans. Yet, she dislikes Chettam. - Group 5 P.1 Adamaris Marty Yulimar and Lilly

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  4. I thought it was interesting how Sir James actually hears Dorothea and pays attention to her opinion. Sir James states, "You have your own opinion about. everything and it is always a good opinion." This shows that Sir James does take into consideration Dorothea's opinion on things. He does this to show his affection towards Dorothea.
    -Group5 Period2

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  5. I thought it was interesting how Sir James actually hears Dorothea and pays attention to her opinion. Sir James states, "You have your own opinion about. everything and it is always a good opinion." This shows that Sir James does take into consideration Dorothea's opinion on things. He does this to show his affection towards Dorothea.
    -Juan Zavaleta, Group5, Period2

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  6. I absolutely enjoyed how the narrator introduces Casaubom as a knowledgable man but also states how Casaubom is still trying to find his mind. For Example when the narrator shifts towards Casubons perspective, "My mind is something like the ghost of an ancient, wandering about the world and trying mentally to construct it as it used to be." This allusion gives me a sense of Casuabom's persistency towards wisdom at an older age.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. In chapters 3 through 5, it really called my attention that Dorothea, coming from a stable family, would fall in love with Casaubon. Despite the large age gap Dorothea is still interested in Casaubon rather than Sir James that comes from a better family background than Casaubon. It called my attention that Dorothea would decide to marry Casaubon because I would think that due to the inequality of women at the time she would want to marry someone of her same class. The only thing she doesn’t really like is that Casaubon isn’t interesting in cottage since she is very interesting in cottage. We get this sense from her conversation with Sir James.

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  9. I find it very interesting in Chapter 4 how Sir James pay well attention to Dorothea when she speaks upon cottages.Yet she wants to have no interest in him regardless. However I do find it peculiar how she would chose a man to marry that is 27 years older than year rather someone younger and shares her same interest.
    -YVette Rodriguez
    Group 6

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  10. I really enjoyed hour two! My favorite line that was said was, " You always see what nobody else sees; it is impossible to satisfy you yet you never see what is quite plan." Page 36. The reason this line stood out to me was because I feel as if Elliot has a deeper meaning to this, rather than just the basic topic in the book. I believe as if she is saying this to relate it to her expirence as a novelist during the 1800s, which was a time period where women novelist were not accepted so as the quote says, "you never quite what plan", I feel as if she took on a challenge and trusted in himself, as everyone should do.

    - Vanessa Zelaya
    Period 2
    Group 1

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  11. In chapters three to five we see that Dorothea rejects sir James and decides to marry Mr. Casaubon Dorthea is introduced as a strong female character that has ideas and passions outside of what is considered normal for a woman in her rigid society. George Eliot does a great job of showing the perhaps slow devolution of Dorothea through the soon to be marriage.we see this when Elliot writes that," [Dorothea] was not in the least teaching Mr. Casaubon to ask if he were good enough for her, but merely asking herself how she could be good enough for Mr. Casaubon."(51). This quote is perhaps an indicator that this will be an unhealthy marriage because of them balance of care in between the two partners. I am still curious of how this marriage could potentially affect those around Ms. Brooke.

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  12. My favorite part about chapter 3 was Dorothea's allusion to "affable archangel" in explaining her feeling about Mr. Casaubon. This line stood out to me because Dorothea says Mr. Casaubon is angelic and she continued to admire him, but also decide that he was the man for her. I do wonder if Mr. Casaubon age difference will be a problem later on in the book.
    -Evelyn Cifuentes
    Period 2: Group 6

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  13. My favorite part about chapter 3 was Dorothea's allusion to "affable archangel" in explaining her feeling about Mr. Casaubon in page 24. This line stood out to me because Dorothea describes him as if he is angelic and she continued to admire him. I liked this because she considered Mr. Casaubon as the right man for her. I do wonder if Mr. Casaubon age difference will be a problem later on in the book.
    -Evelyn Cifuentes
    Period 2: Group 6

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  14. It made me wonder how Dorothea said in chapter 5 "you must have a scholar..it lies a little in our family. i had it myself-that love for knowledge and going into everything.. that sort of thing doesn't often run in the female line". as if she is accepting this delusion. if so i question if the author writes these meanings on purpose or for the book sake but regardless this quote shows the ambient time of what people believe and generally accept.
    -luis Jimenez
    P.1 Group 6

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  15. It made me wonder how Dorothea said in chapter 5 "you must have a scholar..it lies a little in our family. i had it myself-that love for knowledge and going into everything.. that sort of thing doesn't often run in the female line". as if she is accepting this delusion. if so i question if the author writes these meanings on purpose or for the book sake but regardless this quote shows the ambient time of what people believe and generally accept.
    -luis Jimenez
    P.1 Group 6

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  16. My favorite line from Chapter 3 would have to be "Signs are small measurable things but interpretations are illimitable." I really liked this quote because in a way it can describe what is going on in the beginning of Mr. Casaubon and Dorothea's encounter. As they meet Dorothea begins to see how educated he is and how his thoughts are similar to hers. Yet she has the ability to see signs of what she can call "love" since women see signs more with "wonder, hope, [and] belief". She notices his intelligence and compares her intelligence with his with "what a lake compared to my little pool!"
    - Ashley Avina, Group 1, Period 1

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  17. In chapter 3, 4 and 5 Dorothea saw through Mr. Casaubon's completion and into his "great soul"; it was love at first sight. Despite of his "iron-grey hair" ,"deep eye-sockets", and 27 year difference, she preferred him over Sir. James whom was very interested in her and was willing to do anything to please her wishes (35). I found it quite odd that she was attracted to a man so much older than herself- she even mentioned that she would never be interested in marring someone that matched her age. I would expect her as a young, beautiful, knowledgeable lady to be interested in someone similar to her age, not someone that can possibly be her father because of his great age. She was so interested and felt challenged to meet Mr. Casaubon's level of knowledge- she was looking forward to dive in to "the lake" of his knowledge compared to her "little pool" of experience that he offered. Unfortunately, for Sir. James his attempts to gain Dorothea's attention and heart failed every-time except when she was sharing her plans of building the cottages with him. Sir. James misinterpreted Dorothea's shift in temper as an interest in him, when in reality she was always so eager and optimistic when having discussions relating to her great plans. It is so rare to find a person with a burning desire to aid others and put their problem before her own. She noticed that the "old cabins" in which her people lived in were in poor conditions and she felt determined to make a change and give all these good people like herself a better place to live. I feel inspired with Dorothea's character because she is outgoing, speaks her mind, warm hearted, knowledgeable and wants to be different than the ordinary ideal lady. Both Mr. Casaubon and Sir.James were interested in proposing to Dorothea, but without a doubt Dorothea's heart and mind from the beginning belonged to Mr. Casaubon. After reading the marriage proposal letter from Mr. Casaubon Dorothea was delighted,eager, and devoted herself to a larger and fuller life beside her lover. She was looking forward to responding with a definite yes. It shocked me that Dorothea was so picky when writing back to Mr. Casaubon because of her "uncertain" hand- she rewrote the same letter over three times because she was terrified that he would think that her "handwriting was bad or illegible". Overall, I was inspired with Dorothea's hunger and appetite for knowledge and her compassion and great concern for her plans to aid her loved people. I thought it was unique of her to speak her mind and even though her sister disliked Mr.Casabon she was determined that he was the perfect man for her that she "admire[d] and honour[ed]" more than only other man she every met.
    -Millie Sanchez, Period 1, Group 4

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  18. In chapter 3 both Mr Casaubon and Sir James are getting to know Dorothea more. They both seem to have an interest in her although she clearly prefers Mr Casaubon. My favorite quote from this chapter is Dorothea saying, "you must not judge of Celia's feeling from mine. I think she likes small pets." She had just denied a puppy Sir James was giving to her as a gift. I think it's funny how he is trying to be with her but she'd rather see him as a brother-in-law rather than a husband. This shows she doesn't see him in anyway other than a friend. This is most likely because she already knows she wants Mr Casaubon as a husband.


    Karla Paredes, group 6, period 1

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  19. I very much agree with Julie because I shared the some of the same questions with her. Of course my first reaction of Mr. Casauban being 27 years older than her is outrageous to think about, and I believe that it is the reaction George Elliot wanted because she describes Dorothea's beauty in such depth in the first chapter, it is impossible to not think about how an very old, mole-faced man can attract the attention of the most marvelous and beautiful Dorothea. I also very much agreed with Julie on her perception of Dorothea when talking to Sir James. Sir James seems like a very interested guy, very interested in her, very able to change his thoughts in order to satisfy those of Dorothea even though society might not be comfortable with those decisions. I also agree that Dorothea thinks that, "all people should have a home" is her notion because we know that Dorothea an Celia are orphans and are taken care of by their uncle, they have no maternal figure, no earthly warm, mother nature figure. It is even mentioned by Mrs. Cadwallader who scolded their uncle for not providing the girls with a maternal figure.
    On behalf of our class, thank you- for sharing your thoughts with us, it was very much appreciated.
    Jessica Hernandez-Flores, Period 2, Group 1

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