Book 1: Miss Brooke

Odessa says:
I just finished reading Book 1 of the volume. Lynne, I believe you are also reading the Barnes and Noble Classic edition, have you noticed all the typos? Quotation marks are missing at the beginning or close of quotations, at one point the word “be” appears where I am quite sure it should say “me”. Am I just crazy or have you noticed this too?
As to the text, I must say I was surprised when reading to find that in the middle of normal third person narration, Eliot breaks the fourth wall and makes a comment directly to the audience at certain places. That was surprising. I was also surprised at how casually she discusses female stereotypes. The very first chapter begins with the quotation “Since I can do no good because a woman/reach constantly at something near it,” from The Maid’s Tragedy. An interesting tactic, not directly challenging the commonly held male and even often female belief about gender roles in her day. Perhaps she does this to set her audience at ease so they aren’t turned off by her politics? From all the criticisms I’ve read Eliot is a feminist writer, maybe she’s just very crafty about how she introduces it.
My feelings about Dorthea are mixed. Her modern equivalent would probably be one of the young women that are extremely impassioned about environmental and political issues that throw themselves into every one they can find as deeply as possible. She has good ideas and an inquisitve mind, but as her sister says, it’s not practical. She is extremely idealistc, but in a strange, almost masochistic way. She recieves great pleasure and satisfaction from denying herself things and suffering. In her marriage, which has been foreshadowed as vastly unwise, she sees herself as less worthy of love than her husband. If you can call it love. She doesn’t want someone to love her, she wants someone that is “better” than her, someone to father her in a way. Not a good basis for a marriage.
At the end of the first book we are finally introduced to our second protagonist, a young Dr. Lydgate. I haven’t formed much of an opinion on him, but his romantic interest Rosamund does not seem as atrocious as I expected. The summary says he ‘marries her to his ruin’, but she seems like she may be a sympathetic character in her own right.
Sorry, didn’t mean to write my own book here, what are your observations?

Lynne says:

You’ve totally lost your mind, Odessa.  I have no idea what you are talking about…actually I’ve noticed it too.

Dorothea Brooke strikes me as ridiculously naive.  She wants a father figure to tell her what to do rather then a husband to be equals with.  I almost threw my book across the room a few times in my frustration with Dorothea.  How could she be so blind to Sir James Chettam’s feelings towards her?  What man is going to spend time and money trying to make a woman happy with the intent of marrying her sister?  Casaubon seems to be along for the ride, and just wants someone to read to him when his eyes are tired.

Rosamund needs to grow up, there is no such thing as love at first sight, and Lydgate, I like him.

I’d make some deeper observations, but I keep dozing off at my computer.  I’ll probably edit this in the not too distant future.  ❤

Also: “We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner.” (Chapter VI)

Sega says:

Dorthea is very frustrating; she seems, like Odessa said, to be almost a sort of masochist. She will kind of introduce things and then decide against them as a big show of denying herself what she just suggested (the whole scene where she and Celia are splitting their mother’s jewelery). Dorthea is very, very showy in her faith and almost seems to be obsessed with being a kind of martyr. She seems to be looking for more of a teacher than a husband when she marries her husband. Celia definitely seems much more sensible, and frustrated with her sister (understandably).

I also find it interesting that the townspeople act as a kind of chorus; they comment upon the action but don’t want to interfere with anything; there are many characters who seem to just “let” things happen (such as Mr. Brooke does when he lets Dorthea get married even though it’s a supremely BAD idea!)

I haven’t really developed any opinions on Lyndgate or Rosamund yet, so we shall see!

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3 Responses to “Book 1: Miss Brooke”

  1. epicbookblog Says:

    Odessa also says:
    Sorry, don’t think I’m weird for messaging us, but I thought of a new quote that might go well on our headline:
    “A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”
    -Mark Twain
    It fits with your inaugural blog, Lynne.

    • epicbookblog Says:

      That’s perfect!

      I totally have only read the first five pages of Middlemarch so far >_>
      I got distracted by Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”

      Also, it’s L-y-n-n-e :-p

  2. epicbookblog Says:

    Oops, fixed it. I spelled it right in my post, it was one of those days I suppose.
    I was distracted for a while, by reading Fight Club if I’m being completely honest, but soon got back on track. However, I just found a copy of The Princess Bride… swaying from track as we speak.
    Oh, I added a little something to our “About” section, feel free to adjust it as you see fit, but I couldn’t stand to see it with their generic filler anymore.
    Love the icon picture, but could you send it to me so I could see it better?

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