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

Middlemarch Marathon Hour 4: Chapter 9-10

By 11:30 AM ,



This hour we are reading chapters 9 and 10. Commercial provided by your very own reading buddy, Devin! Chapters to be read by the podcast. Please leave responses and thoughts on this hour's reading through a comment to this post!

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About Devin: 
Devin Griffiths is an assistant professor at USC, where he teaches classes on nineteenth-century literature and science. His new book, “The Age of Analogy,” studies how writers like George Eliot and scientists like Charles Darwins forged a new relational way of thinking about human and natural history.

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23 comments

  1. I really like the analogy that Eliot makes between the teo characters: Mr Lydgate and Mr Casaubon. They each represent a kond of ideal which drives everyday thinking and logic, that is religion and science; Casaubon representing religion and Lydgate representing science. Eliot presents Ludgate with his success and describes him as a good listener. "Mr Lydgate had the medical accomplishment of looking perfectly grave whatever nonsense was talked to him, and his dark steady eyes gave him impressiveness as a good listener(pg92)." And Casaubon: "...noted in the country as a man of profound concerning religious history; also as a man of wealth enough to give lustre to his piety, and having views of his own which were to be more clearly ascertained on the publication of his book(pg11)." In my opinion i feel like Eliot presents both of the character with equal respect to their success and knowledge and this may correlate to Religion and Science itself, presenting them with equal respect.

    Ricardo Giles, Group 3, Period 1

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  2. In chapter 9, Elliot introduces a new character which happens to be Mr. Tucker. As the story progresses, we start to see the narrator introduce characters in different. Isn't it ironic how Elliot introduces character to help fill in the loneliness of these two sisters. First it was Casaubon and now it's Mr. Tucker. Within the story, we understand that Dorothea is different from her sister Celia. But Dorothea likes Casaubon who is older and Celia likes Mr. Tucker who is also "old and musty looking." Are they really different from each other or are they just so eager to be better than each other?

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  3. Chapter 10 talks about Casaubon's cousin will ladislaw leaving to Europe and how he has a view of life and workcompletely different from Casaubon.It also talks about how Casaubon tries to be more joyful about his marriage with Dorothea and to understand her better.They decide to go to Rome,Italy on their honeymoon.They later attend a dinner party where many people discuss their displeasure at Casaubon and Dorothea's marriage.In my opinion I feel that Eliot brings light to Casaubon's good traits and explanantions for his less desirable ones.I feel that Casaubon does struggle to try anddraw more emotion out of himself

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  4. IN chapter 9 I found interesting how Casaubon introduces his cousin will Ladislaw and how he immediately disliked Casaubon's future wife which is Dorothea Brooke because of the way she speaks poorly of herself before other and because she is marrying Casaubon. My opinion is that Casaubon and Will Ladislaw don't seem to get along although they are cousins.
    Allan Garcia,Group4,period1

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    1. Through Chapters 9 and 10 I liked that Eliot used two unique characters that had a lot of characteristic among them selves making them stand out. The two characters that got my attention was Casabon and Dorothea. They both had something that made them different. Dorothea was a very unique woman because she did not have the mindset that other women had during that time which was to get married with someone that had good looks, a property, and sadly was not independent relying on their parents or family members to get things. She was a very strong woman who had the mindset that religion was a good thing because she interested in it and she also thought that studying was interesting. Casino was a very loving and caring person because he wanted to assure that Dorothea was going to be happy in her future house. Although Dorothea was not interested in marriage later a talk of marriage occurs. I liked how Eliot made her stand out by not having the same basic mindset as other women have during that time era. This made me wonder if she had some type of role model that she looked up to, to think the way that she did. What made her not think like others?
      Klarissa Ayon, Period:1 , Group:2

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  5. Someone that capture my attention was Will Ladislaw. I thought that he was such an intriguing character. Like just the way he acted and how he spoke. Will dislikes Dorothea for the fact that she puts herself down and how she's marrying He likes Dorothea a lot but doesn't think marrying her is possible. Not just because she's engaged to his cousin but he doesn't think it will work well. Chapter 9 also talks about Casaubon's house and how it's similar to Casaubon himself. They're both plain and gloomy. Despite the house feeling uninviting, Dorothea accepts the feeling as she has with Casaubon. Not only does the house resemble Casaubon, but it also resembles Dorothea and Casaubon's marriage.
    Dayanara Saucedo, Group 6, Period 2

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  8. I liked that Elliot illustrates the feelings a women can have or experience when they are " in love". Elliot displays this with Dorothea and her love for Mr. Casaubon. Elliot presents a women's emotion when he writes " I beg you will not refer to this again,' said Dorothea, rather haughtily. But immediately she feared that she was wrong" in chapter 10, page 87. Dorothea later alternates her emotions/ tone with a sorry, sweet, and innocent voice." pray do not be anxious about me. I shall have so much to think when I am alone." Elliot presents the shame and mixed emotions that makes Dorothea blind from her own common sense. This makes me wonder what Dorothea is now capable of? what are her new principles with her love for Mr. Casaubon?
    - Aileen Hernandez ( period 1: group: 1)

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  9. I like the way in which George Elliot uses descriptive art words in the context of Dorothea, Celia and Will Ladislaw, most notably in Chapter 9, because I believe she is trying to depict a world that Dorothea is not a part of. As noticed in previous chapters, Dorothea never notices the obvious but is able to discover things that not all are able to see. A clear example is in chapter 9 because we know that Celia belongs to a different world of thinking than her sister Dorothea, she is more of the thinking of "common sense" and "beauty" while Dorothea thinks in complex forms, some might even say to overthink and go past some points. It is very interesting to see how George Elliot depicts these two levels of thinking by using musical references. While being in this "nomos" world- a "blocked thinking"- where Casaubon speaks to Dorothea in the most formal way instead of a romantic way in which a couple who is about to get married should be, George Elliot uses the narration phrase of, "She filled up all blanks with unmanifested perfections, interpreting him as she interpreted the works of Providence, and accounting for seeming discords by her own deafness to the higher harmonies. And there are many blanks left in the weeks of courtship which a loving faith fills with happy assurance." In George Elliot's words, Dorothea interprets the coldness of Mr.Casauban as the "blanks" that she cannot hear of a piece of music. It seems that she believes that the "blanks", as the unwritten music in blank staffs, can be filled up with their life as a couple. The reader can see that there is not a lot of romantic interest in between the two and George Elliot is able to convey this by using the most historical romantic way of capturing a couple, through music. George Elliot uses musical terms to describe a different world, the physis. She further demonstrate this because every time Celia speaks to contradict Casabaun, she says it in a "stacatto" tone. Another musical term for short. George Elliot further provides the physis world when she introduces Will Ladislaw as an arts man, and with no career in mind. He seems more liberal and with the caricature of a piece of art, because as we are first introduced to him, we are introduced by his features. Every time George Elliot wants to symbolize a change, she'll bring in artistic terms and when in the nomos world she has scientific words. She is drawing a contrast between art and science, raising the possible question, in which subject is right? Which might prevail?
    -Jessica Hernandez-Flores, Period 2, Group 1

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  10. Chapter 9, it was very interesting to see how Will Ladislaw was quick to judge Dorothea because she was going to marry his "crusty" cousin Mr. Casaubon. Through this action we can create our own judgement of Will's character, and his interactions with his family as a character that is unsocial. From the beginning of the chapter we are presented with the setting Casaubon faced in his home, there was a rather "happy" side to his house and also a "melancholy" feel as well. I found the detail and description of the house very interesting because in many cases people are defind by their setting/living condition.

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  11. I like how Elliot uses descriptive language in order to draw out Dorothea's feelings for Mr. Casaubon, who, ven though Mr. Casaubon is too formal to be exactly romantic, Dorothea's faith in him makes her overlook his stiffness. We can assume that the author wants Mr. Casaubon to be disliked by the way he if vilified through diction. Everyone around Dorothea say that Mr. Casaubon is attractive. What triggers this attraction from Dorothea to Casaubon?

    -Christopher Canenguez, Period 1, Group 6.

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  12. I find it ironic how Elliot incorporates the theme of women seen as objects!mlike when there are a lot of guests for dinner that night, and some of the men discuss Dorothea's beauty amongst themselves. Then they brought another woman, the lovely Miss Vincy, who is more of a flirt than either Dorothea or Celia. Some of the men present prefer a flirt, and say so. The women in the story become objectified when being compared to which woman is better, which I believe is ironic because the book is written by a woman.

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  13. -Christopher Canenguez, Period 1, Group 6, Chapter 10.

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    1. in chapter 9 we see that Dorothea is meeting up with one of Causobon's family member and this is important because they assume that his family is wealthy but then we see that Eill is the nephew of Causobon and this is important because they come froma a poor family and we see thst Will is in the garden with a sketchbook and we see that hr sister falls in love. Casaubon is also paying for the art school in europe and later he travels and then we see that Dorothea and Casaubon are planning their wedding and honeymoon. Finally we are seen that Dorothea gets mad at Casaubon and this can ruin the relationship between them.
      - Ricky Sebastian period 2 group 5

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    2. in chapter 9 we see that Dorothea is meeting up with one of Causobon's family member and this is important because they assume that his family is wealthy but then we see that Eill is the nephew of Causobon and this is important because they come froma a poor family and we see thst Will is in the garden with a sketchbook and we see that hr sister falls in love. Casaubon is also paying for the art school in europe and later he travels and then we see that Dorothea and Casaubon are planning their wedding and honeymoon. Finally we are seen that Dorothea gets mad at Casaubon and this can ruin the relationship between them.
      - Ricky Sebastian period 2 group 5

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    3. I found a few part in chapter 10 that I thought were interesting about Dorothea and her thoughts of Mr. Casaubon. She adores him and found herself attracted to his character rather than Sir James’s. But in this chapter it makes me think how the relationship between these two characters will come out. On page 88, Dorothea gets a bit irritated and you can see in text “She was ashamed of being irritated from some cause she could not define even to herself;.....Mr. Casaubon’s words had been quite reasonable, yet they had brought a vague instantaneous sense of aloofness on his part.” So it makes me question the outcome and the effects of their relationship on the other characters and events in the book.
      -Hunter Wilkinson
      -Period 2, Group 4

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  14. On behalf of the USC NAI Senior class 2017, I would like to thank you Devin Griffiths for taking your time to create this video to share your ideas and interpretations on MiddleMarch. Your advise shifted my focus to the contrasts, analogies, interactions between characters and the truth within characters. I agree that centering our attention to the connections between characters will ultimately establish an image of a "town", that will ultimately provide an insight of each individual character through different perspectives. I started to notice that Dorothea, like you mentioned thinks that her interpretations and views towards others are perfect, but in reality her vision could be fooling her. We will definitely keep in mind all the relationships between the analogies and how they are presented/carried on throughout the book. Jacquelin Barrios along with all of the NAI seniors are extremely grateful for your insight on MiddleMarch and the motivation to reach the finish line.

    -Millie Sanchez, Period 1, Group 4

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  15. Casaubon is attractive. What triggers this attraction from Dorothea to Casaubon?


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