George Eliot: An Intrusive Author

Topics: Middlemarch, George Eliot, Elliot Pages: 10 (3216 words) Published: August 24, 2013
Edith Suhartono, 48063754, ENN314Q, Assignment 2, No. 343304, 1st Semester, 2013

English III ENN314Q
Reading Classics
Assignment 02 Unique assignment number: 343304 First Semester 2013 By Edith Suhartono Student no.: 48063754 Topic: Georg Eliot Middlemarch


Edith Suhartono, 48063754, ENN314Q, Assignment 2, No. 343304, 1st Semester, 2013

George Eliot - an Intrusive Author
In Middlemarch George Eliot shows us a variety of different characters, different living circumstances and classes. Eliot is able to vividly mirror live and fates in her characters by creating contrasts and parallels, whereby she openly weaves in her own opinion and morality about a wide range of subjects such as women and marriage, class and rank, religion and morality as well as money. Mroz summarises well: “Middlemarch is about the process of understanding the experiences and perceptions of others, and of suffering through self-deception and disillusionment, social positioning, class consciousness, and the ambition for selfimprovement with its concomitants: education and money” (Mroz R. M.2004). An omniscient narrator and in addition a constantly interfering one ensures that the reader is well informed about her opinion and hardly is able to form an own one different from hers. However she pretends to look at her characters in a scientific way. The subtitle sounds like a title for a dissertation: ‘Study of Provincial Life’ which calls for objectivity. Eliot very seldom directly states her personal opinion, like when she says: "For my part I am very sorry for him" (Elliot G.:3.29) in contrast to the "strong [microscopic] lens applied to Mrs Cadwallader's matchmaking" (Elliot G.:1.6). The reason for this scientific approach might be a deep desire to morally lift up society and this way she tries to influence humankind. Eliot had a secular understanding of morality. Newton sees it “as signs of an excessive moralism” (Newton K.M.). However I do not agree with him, but believe that she wanted to spread and propagate her opinion and improve humankind as the intrusive narrator comments “We are all of us born into moral stupidity, taking the world as an udder to feed our supreme selves’ (Elliot G.:2.21). She is a child of Victorian writing and “places humans at the centre of 1

Edith Suhartono, 48063754, ENN314Q, Assignment 2, No. 343304, 1st Semester, 2013

the cosmic stage, in the place of God (Department of English Studies. 2008:79). Her scepticism towards religion and how religious people should conduct them in business is shown in the contrasting characters of Mr Caleb Garth and Mr Bulstrode. Bulstrode is a devoutly religious banker in Middlemarch. “It was a principle with Mr Bulstrode to gain as much power as possible, that he might use it for the glory of God” (Elliot G.:2.16). Although he does a lot of good things like the fever hospital, the narrator let him appear as a disagreeable hypocrite. During the course of the story the reader learns that he has a questionable past and even made his fortune through omission of telling the truth, by not admitting the existence of Will Ladislaw’s mother as the daughter of the widow he married. At the end he does not only try to bribe Will Ladislaw and Lydgate, but also indirectly commits murder. Even so he still manages for his own mental sake to distort all proceedings as it were God’s will although “he went through a great deal of spiritual conflict and inward argument in order to adjust his motives, and make clear to himself what God’s glory required.” (Elliot G.:3.32). However people were skeptical about him and did not trust him fully. Çetnkaya sees the root of his hypocrisy in his continual striving for self-deception (Çetnkaya G. 2003). In addition Bulstrode was less concerned with applied religiosity but with a “spiritual kind of rescue [which] was a genuine need with him. [] He was simply a man whose desires had been stronger than his theoretic beliefs, and who had gradually...

Bibliography: Department of English Studies. 2008. Reading Classics. Only Study Guide for ENN 314Q. Pretoria: University of South Africa
Eliot, G
Mroz, R. M. 2004. George Eliot 's Complex Characters in “Middlemarch”. Lakhead University, Ontario. Available at: (accessed on 29 March, 2013)
Newton, K
Edith Suhartono, 48063754, ENN314Q, Assignment 2, No
Name and student number: Assignment topic: Suhartono Edith Andrea Christine, 48063754 George Eliot, Middlemarch
Date: 07 April, 2013
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