Imagery Between Genders In Middlemarch By Eliot

1612 words - 6 pages

The relationships between genders have been topics of discussions for many years. How genders relate to one another, their similarities in situations and how very different they can encounter comparative life tribulations including roles imposed by society. When analyzing the characters Dorothea Brooke, Tertuis Lydgate, and Edward Casaubon we can identify issues that genders have in common and how they deal with them. Middlemarch by George Eliot uses imagery and language to illustrate how the genders face similar issues of dissatisfaction and societal concerns throughout the novel.
The setting of Middlemarch is placed during the years of 1830-1832. Historic background would tell us that this novel was written right before the First Reform Bill of 1832. Understanding the setting can help us place in context why certain events happen in the novel to particular characters. Apart from that there has been a lot of critical speculation on this novel, analyzing many aspects of the work. Robert Speaight writes, “To return Adam Bede (1859) from reading Middlemarch or Daniel Deronda is to experience a shock of naïveté. The novelist is too eager to tell us all about herself, her tastes, her feelings, her philosophy.” (93) This critic is telling us that in Middlemarch, the author’s personal voice is too loud this could include in the narration or within the plot line of the characters. With this in mind, we as the reader must not lose the focus of every character’s personal story.
“Modern critics agree… that the novel has unity that its subject is an exploration of human aspiration and fulfillment by individual and social influences…” as a lining for various themes that Eliot uses through imagery and language. (Doyle 118) Beginning with the expectations of women has changed over many years, especially since the 18th century. Women have been seen as the person of the household who takes care of the family and not the one with the intellectual knowledge of different collegiate subjects. As men continue to “degrade” women, in a sense, there are different affects that could happen to a female. These affects are apparent to the female characters of Middlemarch. One passage that highlights this is “Marriage, which was to bring guidance into worthy and imperative occupation, had not yet freed her from the gentlewoman’s oppressive liberty: it had not even filled her leisure with the ruminant jot of unchecked tenderness.” (Eliot 274) This image shows us that women who were of an upper class were at “liberty” to do as they pleased. They, more or less, did not have to worry about home needs because they were met due to servants that they had. Although they had this freedom, they still were mandated to be a part of activities that weren’t fulfilling to them. So in many ways, it was an oppressive liberty because they were extremely limited. Eliot uses this example to show the readers that although marriage is something highly looked upon by the citizens of...

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