UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Treatment of women in the novels of George Eliot Petrie, Anne Grant 1973

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1973_A8 P47_7.pdf [ 11.72MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0101492.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0101492-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0101492-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0101492-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0101492-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0101492-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0101492-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0101492-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0101492.ris

Full Text

THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN IN THE NOVELS OF GEORGE ELIOT  by  ANNE GRANT PETRIE B.A., U n i v e r s i t y  o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1968  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  i n t h e Department of English  We a c c e p t t h i s required  t h e s i s as conforming t o the  standard  THE UNIVERSITY  OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  September, 1973-  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r  an advanced degree at the the  University  o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree  L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e  and  that  study.  I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  be  g r a n t e d by  permission.  Department o f  English  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Vancouver 8, Canada  Date  October 10,  1973  Department or  I t i s understood t h a t c o p y i n g or  of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n written  the Head o f my  Columbia  s h a l l not  be  publication  allowed w i t h o u t  my  ABSTRCT A mid-nineteenth support  of the i l l u s t r i o u s  have found and  century feminist  i n the n o v e l i s t  conservative responses  George E l i o t  world  endured she  felt  system.  from  Ludv/ig  life.  She w o u l d n o t a d m i t  e q u a l i t y w i t h man b e c a u s e s h e f e l t cipation  o f h e r sex might coarsen  George E l i o t ' s of  the u n i t y Mill  worship house."  often  characters.  marring  I n The  brilliant  o f male s u p r e m a c y t u r n s i n t o vision  eman-  to the position  Middlemarch and D a n i e l Deronda  o f the V i c t o r i a n  full  nature.  i n her fictional writing,  of the e f f e c t s  moral  woman's  the complete  the feminine  o f h e r p r e s e n t a t i o n o f female  on t h e F l o s s ,  analysis  that  contradictory attitudes  women a r e r e f l e c t e d  time  p s y c h o l o g i c a l makeup  w h i c h meant t h e y c o u l d e x e r c i s e a s p e c i a l b e n e f i c e n t i n social  Feuer-  o f t h e o p p r e s s i o n women B u t a t t h e same  t h a t women h a d a d i s t i n c t i v e  influence  Marian  career coupled with the  understanding  under a p a t r i a r c h a l  would  of progressive  t o t h e "woman q u e s t i o n . "  view which she adopted  b a c h gave h e r an a c u t e  t o e n l i s t the  i n h e r cause  a curious blend  E v a n s ' own s t r u g g l e f o r a l i t e r a r y materialistic  anxious  blind  o f woman a s " t h e a n g e l i n t h e  My a r g u m e n t i s n o t w i t h t h e t r a d i t i o n a l  view o f  woman p e r s e .;but t h a t i n G e o r g e E l i o t ' s w o r k i t i s i n d i r e c t opposition radical  t o a s t r o n g e r a n d more a e s t h e t i c a l l y  interpretation.  of  women i n o t h e r w i s e  to  artifice,  facile  realism  sentiment.  The p r e s e n c e  brilliant to idealism  satisfying  o f s t e r e o t y p e d images  novels reduces and hard-edged  complexity irony to  In  The M i l l  Maggie T u l l i v e r i s c l e a r l y s t r u g g l i n g f o r some  p e r s o n a l i d e n t i t y other than the s t r i c t l y  "feminine" one  her b r o t h e r Tom i n s i s t s on. However, by the end o f the n o v e l Maggie has a p p a r e n t l y found f u l f i l m e n t i n p a s s i v e to Tom's male s u p e r i o r i t y .  submission  S i m i l a r l y I n Middlemarch Dorothea's  quest f o r some g r e a t e r meaning i n h e r l i f e  than the c l o i s t e r e d  p o s i t i o n of a gentlewoman u s u a l l y a l l o w s f o r i s answered f i r s t w i t h an i d e a l i z e d marriage  t o W i l l Ladislaw, and  second  w i t h Vague r e f e r e n c e s t o h e r g o d d e s s - l i k e p e r f e c t i o n . One  o f E l i o t ' s g r e a t e s t achievements as a n o v e l i s t i s  her d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o take the b i t c h s e r i o u s l y .  With both  Rosamond V i n c y and Gwendolen H a r l e t h she probes  the u s u a l  s t e r e o t y p e o f the e v i l woman t o show t h a t these two a r e as much v i c t i m s o f a r e p r e s s i v e p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y as a r e the more a t t r a c t i v e c h a r a c t e r s such as Dorothea and Maggie. But she does n o t c a r r y through h e r sympathetic the b i t c h c h a r a c t e r . the unregenerate  understanding of  Rosamond i s f i n a l l y d e c l a r e d t o be  e v i l woman who " f l o u r i s h e s w o n d e r f u l l y on  a murdered man's b r a i n s . "  Gwendolen does change b u t as i s  i m p l i e d by the comparison t o Mirah L a p i d o t h , i t i s o n l y t o he removed from i n another,  one r o l e ,  the b i t c h and p l a c e d  the good woman.  immediately  T h i s p a t t e r n i s repeated i n  F e l i x H o l t the R a d i c a l by measuring Mrs.  Transome a g a i n s t  E s t h e r Lyon. The ambiguous treatment  o f the female  p e r s o n a l i t y does  n o t a r i s e i n George E l i o t ' s o t h e r n o v e l s because none o f the women c h a r a c t e r s i s ever l i f t e d f a r enough above s t e r e o t y p e  for  there  t o be a n y q u e s t i o n  e v e r Adam B e d e with  Felix Holt Although  weaknesses  iviarner and Romola  the  feminine  recognizing dramatically  t h e s i s dwells  that  How-  are b r i e f l y  discussed  l a r g e l y on c e r t a i n  aesthetic  destroys  and e x p l o r i n g points  writing  her reversion  character  these  o f George E l i o t ,  to traditional  the novels.  up t h e b r i l l i a n c e  i si n fact  v a l u e s ) w h i c h George E l i o t  images o f  of failure  of the i n i t i a l  t h a t much o f what  a response  I am  On t h e c o n t r a r y  obvious areas  ( I . e . the r e c o g n i t i o n  female c h a r a c t e r  characters.  from r e a l i s m .  i n Chapter IV.  i n the f i c t i o n a l  suggesting  perspective  Silas  this  not  the  t  of a departure  feminist i s called  to patriarchal  takes i n i n t r o d u c i n g  h e r women  V  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Section  I.  II.  III.  IV.  V.  INTRODUCTION  1  THE MILL ON THE FLOSS  25  MIDDLEMARCH  68  DANIEL DERONDA  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  118  FELIX HOLT THE RADICAL, ADAM BEDE, SILAS MARNER AND ROMOLA  VI.  .  CONCLUSION  BIBLIOGRAPHY  189  .206  217  THE TREATMENT OP WOMEN IN THE NOVELS OP GEORGE ELIOT  I Introduction (i) The  f i r s t major document o f feminism, A V i n d i c a t i o n o f  the R i g h t s craft.  o f Woman was p u b l i s h e d  i n 1792 by Mary W o l l s t o n e -  A f r i e n d of Thomas Paine and o f French r e v o l u t i o n -  a r i e s , she was s u f f i c i e n t l y i n touch w i t h  the r a d i c a l i s m o f  her e r a t o i n s i s t upon the a p p l i c a t i o n o f i t s b a s i c mises t o t h a t m a j o r i t y Man.  pre-  s t i l l excluded from the R i g h t s o f  The r e a c t i o n t o A V i n d i c a t i o n was wide and v i o l e n t .  Unfortunately,  the a t t a c k s were not so much on the content  of the book i t s e l f ,  b u t on W o l l s t o n e c r a f t ' s  own l i f e . Her  l o v e a f f a i r s , i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d and attempted s u i c i d e made her book dangerous r e a d i n g . early nineteenth  century  Only a very few women i n the  had the courage t o look i n t o i t s  pages. I t was n o t u n t i l the 1830's and the coming of. age o f the reform movement i n England t h a t the s t r u g g l e f o r woman's political,  economic and s o c i a l e q u a l i t y g o t new impetus.  A l t h o u g h the Reform A c t o f I832 d i d n o t i t s e l f reform much, the wide d i s c u s s i o n t h a t the h i l l  very  engendered brought  many i s s u e s t o p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n — a m o n g them the e x t e n s i o n of the f r a n c h i s e t o women and the d e p l o r a b l e working women endured.  Still,  1  conditions  that  open a g i t a t i o n around the  "woman q u e s t i o n "  d i d n o t r e a l l y begin u n t i l  John S t u a r t M i l , w i t h the a s s i s t a n c e published  the S u b j e c t i o n  the s i x t i e s .  of H a r r i e t Taylor,  of Women and from t h i s  rallying  p o i n t B r i t i s h women, under M i l l ' s l e a d e r s h i p , began t o demand changes i n the education, and  l e g a l s t a t u s o f women.  employment,  political  E m i l y Davies and Barbara  Bodi-  chon worked t i r e l e s s l y f o r a woman's c o l l e g e and f i n a l l y G i r t o n was opened a t Cambridge i n 1872.  Protective  legis-  l a t i o n f o r women and c h i l d r e n f a c t o r y workers was i n t r o duced and i n a few r a r e i n s t a n c e s women were organized t o trade unions f o r the f i r s t signed  time.  in-  Middle c l a s s women  p e t i t i o n a f t e r p e t i t i o n t o have the marriage p r o p e r -  t y laws changed so t h a t they c o u l d have a t l e a s t minimal c o n t r o l over t h e i r f i n a n c i a l The  lives.  o p p o s i t i o n q u i c k l y made i t s e l f heard.  The most  p o p u l a r and p r o b a b l y most s u c c e s s f u l t a c t i c was i n s u l t . Horace Walpole had c a l l e d Mary W o l l s t o n e c r a f t  a "hyena  i n p e t t i c o a t s " * and i n the mid-nineteenth century the epithet  "strong-minded woman" meant t h a t one was e v e r y t h i n g  from a man-hater t o war-monger. reformers could  o f t e n n o t stand  r i d i c u l e and a c c u s a t i o n s inist  Even the most s i n c e r e f i r m i n the face o f the  of "unfemininity"  heaped upon fem-  sympathizers. John Ruskin, a r b i t e r of p o p u l a r t a s t e , l o u d l y denounced  the f e m i n i s t cause and i n a w i d e l y - r e a d  p u b l i c l e c t u r e , "Of  Queen's Gardens," informed women o f t h e i r true r i g h t — t o serve  t h e i r menfolkj p o p u l a r m o r a l i s t s such as Baldwin Brown  blamed a l l the e v i l s o f s o c i e t y on women who had "been s e duced by the r i d i c u l o u s phantom o f woman's r i g h t s when t h e i r t r u e power, the b i r t h r i g h t they would s e l l  f o r a mess o f 2  potage  i s the 'power t o l o v e , t o serve, t o save'";  many well-known women such as Mrs. T.H. Huxley, Stephen  and  Mrs. L e s l i e  and Mrs. Matthew A r n o l d s i g n e d a p e t i t i o n  entitled  "An Appeal A g a i n s t Female S u f f r a g e . " (ii) D e t e r m i n i n g where Marian Evans (as d i s t i n c t ,  f o r the  moment, from the w r i t e r George E l i o t ) s h o u l d be p l a c e d i n r e l a t i o n t o t h i s c o n t r o v e r s y over the proper r o l e o f woman i s a d i f f i c u l t problem.  I n r e a d i n g through h e r essays, and  Gordon H a i g h t ' s b i o g r a p h y and c o l l e c t i o n o f the George E l i o t letters,  one i s f i r m l y convinced she i s p a r t i a l t o feminism  o n l y t o t u r n the page and he e q u a l l y sure she i s n o t .  For  i n s t a n c e , i n h e r essay on Margaret F u l l e r and Mary W o l l s t o n e c r a f t Evans q u i e t l y b u t s t r o n g l y supports the feminism o f b o t h womeni There Is [ i n the w r i t i n g s o f both these women[ no e x a g g e r a t i o n o f woman's moral e x c e l l e n c e or i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a b i l i t i e s ; no i n j u d i c i o u s i n s i s tence on h e r f i t n e s s f o r t h i s or t h a t f u n c t i o n h i t h e r t o engrossed by men; b u t a calm p l e a f o r the removal o f u n j u s t laws and a r t i f i c i a l r e s t r i c t i o n s so t h a t the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of h e r n a t u r e may have room f o r f u l l development.3 Yet o n l y a y e a r e a r l i e r i n "Women i n France: Madame de Sable she had m a r s h a l l e d a l l k i n d s o f dubious, b u t p o p u l a r , p h y s i o l o g i c a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l  " f a c t s " i n o r d e r t o prove  t h a t E n g l i s h women were c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y i n c a p a b l e o f g r e a t  4 literary  achievementi What were the causes o f t h i s e a r l i e r development and more abundant m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f womanly i n t e l l e c t i n France? The primary one, perhaps, l i e s i n the p h y s i o l o g i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f the G a l l i c r a c e t the s m a l l b r a i n and v i v a c i o u s temperament which permit the f r a g i l e system o f woman t o s u s t a i n the s u p e r l a t i v e a c t i v i t y r e q u i s i t e f o r i n t e l l e c t u a l c r e a t i v e n e s s j w h i l e on the other hand, the l a r g e r b r a i n and slower temperament o f the E n g l i s h and Germans are, i n the womanly o r g a n i z a t i o n , g e n e r a l l y dreamy and p a s s i v e . . T h e woman o f l a r g e c a p a c i t y can seldom r i s e beyond the a b s o r p t i o n o f i d e a s ; her p h y s i c a l • c o n d i t i o n s r e f u s e t o support the energy r e q u i r e d f o r spontaneous a c t i v i t y ; the v o l t a i c p i l e i s n o t s t r o n g enough t o produce c r y s t a l i z a t i o n s ; phantasms o f g r e a t i d e a s f l o a t through h e r mind, b u t she has n o t the s p e l l which w i l l a r r e s t them, and g i v e them f i x i t y . T h i s , more than u n f a v o u r a b l e e x t e r n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s , i s , we t h i n k , the reason why woman has n o t y e t c o n t r i b u t e d any new form t o a r t , any d i s c o v e r y i n s c i e n c e , any d e e p - s e a r c h i n g i n q u i r y i n philosophy. The n e c e s s a r y p h y s i o l o g i c a l c o n d i t i o n s are n o t p r e s e n t i n h e r . ^  The  list  o f Evans' c l o s e f r i e n d s adds t o the u n c e r t a i n t y  s u r r o u n d i n g h e r p o s i t i o n on the "woman q u e s t i o n . "  Charles  Bray, who can be regarded as h e r e a r l i e s t mentor, remained adamantly convinced t h a t woman's o n l y p l a c e was i n the home and  H e r b e r t Spencer d i d n o t b o t h e r t o d i s g u i s e h i s  feminism.  Even George Henry Lewes seemed t o regard  as an e x c e p t i o n  t o the g e n e r a l  rule that  antihis  "wife"  "the Masculine mind  i s c h a r a c t e r i s e d by the predominance o f the i n t e l l e c t , and the Feminine by the predominance of the emotions."-' On the o t h e r hand, Barbara Bodichon, one o f England's l e a d i n g f e m i n i s t s was, next t o Lewes, s u r e l y Marian Evans' c l o s e s t friend.  As w e l l , Marian corresponded r e g u l a r l y and warmly  w i t h many other f e m i n i s t s such as Mary E l i z a b e t h Ponsonby, Mrs.  P e t e r T a y l o r and Mrs.  Nassau John S e n i o r  congratulating  5 them on t h e i r work. give her f u l l  But even w i t h these women she c o u l d n o t  a p p r o v a l to, l e t alone o f f e r h e r a c t i v e  t i c i p a t i o n i n , t h e i r cause. was  a t t h a t time  I n a note  par-  t o B e s s i e Parkes who  e d i t i n g the Waverly J o u r n a l ("Conducted by  Women") Marian warns B e s s i e t o be prepared  " i f I happen t o  w r i t e a n y t h i n g you don't l i k e about women."^ E d i t h Simcox, w i t h whom she had a l o n g and ( a t l e a s t on Simcox's p a r t ) p a s s i o n a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p , spoke o f t h i s b l e n d o f c o n s e r v a t i s m and p r o g r e s s i v e n e s s which marked h e r a t t i t u d e t o the woman question, She gave u n q u a l i f i e d and u n h e s i t a t i n g a s s e n t t o what might be c a l l e d the most 'advanced' o p i n i o n s on t h i s s u b j e c t ; o n l y the o p i n i o n s had t o be a d vocated i n p r a c t i c e w i t h l a r g e t o l e r a n c e and d i s i n t e r e s t e d n e s s , and she wished t o be assured t h a t n o t h i n g o f what i s v a l u a b l e i n the s o c i a l o r d e r o f the p a s t should be s a c r i f i c e d i n the quest o f even c e r t a i n f u t u r e good.7 But perhaps the most r e v e a l i n g i n s t a n c e o f h e r ambiguous a t t i t u d e towards the f e m i n i s t cause can be seen i n h e r response the  t o the s u f f r a g e q u e s t i o n .  Gordon Haight d e s c r i b e s  incident! When John S t u a r t M i l l i n t r o d u c e d h i s amendment t o extend the f r a n c h i s e t o women, Mrs. P e t e r T a y l o r urged Marian t o l e n d h e r i n f l u e n c e i n support o f the cause. I t was i m p o s s i b l e t o move h e r . To John Morley, who had d i s c u s s e d the i s s u e w i t h her, she w r o t e i ' I f I were c a l l e d on t o a c t i n the matter, I would c e r t a i n l y n o t oppose any p l a n which h e l d out any reasonable promise o f t e n d i n g to e s t a b l i s h as f a r as p o s s i b l e an e q u i v a l e n c e o f advantages f o r the two sexes, as t o e d u c a t i o n and the p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f f r e e development.' But the f a c t t h a t 'woman seems t o me t o have the worse share i n e x i s t e n c e , ' she thought, should be the ' b a s i s f o r a s u b l i m e r r e s i g n a t i o n i n woman and a more r e g e n e r a t i n g tenderness i n man.' However, she added, 'The p e c u l i a r i t i e s o f my own l o t may have caused me t o have i d i o s y n c r a s i e s r a t h e r than  6 an average  judgment.'8  T h i s l a s t statement  i s a t l e a s t a p a r t i a l answer as t o  why one f i n d s Marian Evans f i r s t o t h e r o f the woman q u e s t i o n .  on one s i d e , then on the  Her "own l o t , " though i n many  ways a happy one i n c l u d i n g as i t d i d h e r deep l o v e f o r Lewes and  the s u c c e s s o f her w r i t i n g , had s t i l l  t e n s i o n and a n x i e t y .  brought h e r c o n t i n u a l  When as a young woman she abandoned  her p a s s i o n a t e C a l v i n i s m f o r an e q u a l l y e n t h u s i a s t i c agnost i c i s m , the ensuing breach between Marian and h e r f a t h e r d i s t r e s s e d her deeply. mise (she s t i l l to  Although they soon came t o a compro-  accompanied him t o church r e g u l a r l y ) t h e r e was  be no such r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h h e r b r o t h e r I s a a c when s e v e r a l  y e a r s l a t e r she made the d e c i s i o n t o l i v e w i t h George Henry Lewes.  I s a a c r e f u s e d t o communicate w i t h h e r u n t i l many y e a r s  l a t e r , when a f t e r Lewes*s death she l e g i t i m a t e l y m a r r i e d John Cross.  Marian always remembered h e r own s t r u g g l e s f o r an e d -  u c a t i o n matching be counted  her a b i l i t i e s ,  on t o support p r o p o s a l s t o expand women's  tunities i n this fieldj for  and c o n s e q u e n t l y c o u l d u s u a l l y  complete  oppor-  b u t when i t came t o f e m i n i s t demands  e q u a l i t y w i t h men both i n the home and the work-  p l a c e , she was never a b l e t o conquer h e r own f e e l i n g s o f g u i l t a t h a v i n g broken  the c o n v e n t i o n a l r u l e s of, feminine be-  haviour. But i t was n o t o n l y a l i e n a t i o n from a d e a r l y l o v e d b r o t h e r which p r e c i p i t a t e d the bouts o f deep d e p r e s s i o n from which she s u f f e r e d f o r the r e s t o f h e r l i f e  and prevented  her from w h o l e h e a r t e d l y embracing  F o r many y e a r s  she  feminism.  was c r u e l l y o s t r a c i s e d by the whole o f "good" London  7  s o c i e t y and i t i s d i f f i c u l t  n o t t o agree w i t h Gordon Haight's  a n a l y s i s o f why her p h y s i c a l and emotional h e a l t h improved so much whenever she and Lewes t r a v e l l e d on the c o n t i n e n t : The m a l a i s e and l a n g u o r t h a t oppressed h e r i n London would...vanish as soon as she reached the C o n t i n e n t , where she took strenuous a l l n i g h t journeys by r a i l or d i l i g e n c e and endured l o n g days o f r e l e n t l e s s s i g h t s e e i n g . One l o o k s i n e v i t a b l y f o r some p s y c h o l o g i c a l e x p l a n a t i o n to r e c o n c i l e these c o n t r a d i c t i o n s . The most tempting one i s t o be found i n h e r e q u i v o c a l m a r i t a l s t a t e , which s i n c e she had become famous, was p a i n f u l l y c o n s p i c u o u s . *I can never t h i n k of h e r p o s i t i o n w i t h o u t p o s i t i v e p a i n ' , Blackwood t o l d Langford.9 One can e a s i l y understand the k i n d of p a i n John Blackwood must have f e l t f o r Marian g i v e n C h a r l e s K i n g s l e y ' s u n f e e l i n g d i s m i s s a l o f h e r as "none o t h e r than Miss Evans,  the i n f i d e l  e s p r i t f o r t e , who i s now G.H. Lewes's concubine'.'* and 0  C h a r l e s E l i o t Norton's  d e s c r i p t i o n of her s o c i a l  position:  She i s an o b j e c t o f g r e a t i n t e r e s t and g r e a t c u r i o s i t y [my i t a l i c s ! t o s o c i e t y h e r e . She i s n o t r e c e i v e d i n g e n e r a l s o c i e t y , and the women who v i s i t h e r a r e e i t h e r so emancipee as n o t t o mind what the w o r l d says" about them, o r have no s o c i a l p o s i t i o n t o maintain.11 Those "emancipee women" who v i s i t e d Marian Evans may have hoped t o champion h e r as an example o f feminine  independence,  but she v i o l e n t l y r e c o i l e d from any such n o t o r i e t y .  She  was n o t a d e f i a n t woman; on the c o n t r a r y she d e s p e r a t e l y wanted t o l e g i t i m i z e her union w i t h Lewes and was always most d i s t r a u g h t when one o f h e r f e m i n i s t f r i e n d s  insisted  on r e f e r r i n g t o h e r as Evans r a t h e r than Lewes: You must p l e a s e n o t c a l l me MISS EVANS a g a i n . I have renounced t h a t name, and do n o t mean t o be known by i t i n any way. I t i s Mr. Lewes's  8 w i s h t h a t t h e few f r i e n d s who c a r e a b o u t s h o u l d r e c o g n i z e me as Mrs. L e w e s . 1 2 The it  use  reflects  She  Marian's intense  regarded  sitated nist  by  o f L e w e s ' s surname may  her  own  same c o u r s e .  and  she often  tional who  was  was  a  She that  she  was  felt  keenly  of  that  the  any  a  the  liberation— most  "Some A c c o u n t  of a  on  fluence  o f women t h a t  t h e i r p h y s i c a l and  chological  d i f f e r e n c e s from  tradi-  Davies  f o r Women" M a r i a n i n s i s t e d from  an  "good" w o m a n —  College  springs  femi-  spoken  to Emily  the  neces-  thoughtlessly  female  preaching  a letter  a paper e n t i t l e d  exception  somehow n o t  example  In  an  t o embark  very  seemed t o c o m p e n s a t e by  o f womanly v i r t u e s .  and  others  felt  but  for social acceptability.  obstacles  "pernicious"*-^  preparing  a minor p o i n t ,  i r r e g u l a r u n i o n as  insurmountable  unspoken a c c u s a t i o n s that  desire  apology might encourage  upon t h e  be  me  Proposed  s p e c i a l moral i n psy-  men,  I n t h e f a c e o f a l l w r o n g s , m i s t a k e s and f a i l u r e s , h i s t o r y has d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t g a i n . And there l i e s j u s t that kernel of t r u t h in-the vulgar a l a r m o f men l e s t women s h o u l d be ' u n s e x e d * . We c a n no more a f f o r d t o p a r t w i t h t h a t e x q u i s i t e type of gentleness, tenderness, possible maternity s u f f u s i n g a woman's b e i n g w i t h a f f e c t i o n a t e n e s s , w h i c h makes what we mean by t h e f e m i n i n e c h a r a c t e r t h a n we c a n a f f o r d t o p a r t w i t h . . . h u m a n l o v e . ^ 1  Congratulating  a y o u n g man  engagement, Lewes and of  the  pleased  on  the  Evans sent  announcement o f  a n o t e p r o j e c t i n g an  p r o p e r w i f e l y r o l e w h i c h would have even John  his image  undoubtedly  Ruskinj  Few t h i n g s have g i v e n us more p l e a s u r e t h a n t h e i n t i m a t i o n i n y o u r n o t e t h a t you had a fiancee. May she be t h e c e n t r a l h a p p i n e s s and m o t i v e f o r c e o f y o u r c a r e e r , and, by s a t i s f y i n g the a f f e c t i o n s , l e a v e your r a r e i n t e l l e c t f r e e to  -  9 work o u t i t s g l o r i o u s  d e s t i n y . 15  Thus, as f a r as t h e contemporary e m a n c i p a t i o n was c o n c e r n e d , substntial  special  moral  stability  f o r female  Marian Evans f e a r e d  change i n woman's s t a t u s m i g h t  those  of  struggle  t h a t any  mean t h e l o s s o f  "womanly" q u a l i t i e s w h i c h w e r e v i t a l o f V i c t o r i a n England.  "woman w o r s h i p " was t o u c h e d  Although  this  w i t h melodramatic  mental  e x a g g e r a t i o n , W a l t e r Houghton p o i n t s  torian  Frame o f M i n d  to the kind  and s e n t i -  o u t i n The V i c -  that-  many i n t e l l i g e n t w o m e n — G e o r g e E l i o t , Ward, M r s . L y n n  Linton,  example—viewed  with uneasiness or apprehension  any  emancipation  its  moral  the  outside world  of their  influence  nature i t s e l f .  Beatrice  M r s . Humphry  P o t t e r Webb,  s e x which would  by d i s t r a c t i n g  for  weaken  attention to  o r by c o a r s e n i n g the feminine  1°  M a r i a n h e r s e l f p u t i t t h i s way, I f e e l too deeply the d i f f i c u l t complications that b e s e t e v e r y measure l i k e l y t o a f f e c t t h e p o s i t i o n o f women a n d a l s o I f e e l t o o i m p e r f e c t a sympathy w i t h many women who have p u t t h e m s e l v e s f o r w a r d i n c o n n e x i o n w i t h such measures, t o g i v e any p r a c t i c a l a d h e s i o n t o them. There i s no s u b j e c t on w h i c h I am more i n c l i n e d t o h o l d my p e a c e a n d l e a r n , t h a n on t h e "Women Q u e s t i o n . " I t seems t o me t o o v e r h a n g a b y s s e s , o f w h i c h e v e n p r o s t i t u t i o n i s n o t the worst.*7 T h i s i s an i n t e r e s t i n g  passage.  calm  and o b j e c t i v e .  note  o f f e a r and n e a r - h y s t e r i a .  has  the kind  elicits  i t i s certainly  Y e t on a n o t h e r t h e r e i s a d i s t i n c t  of scare value that  today.  On one l e v e l  The m e n t i o n  of prostitution  t h e " r e d menace o f communism"  I t w o u l d n o t t a k e much t h o u g h t  that  prostitution  sion  rather  i shistorically  than l i b e r a t i o n .  a result  to realize  o f female r e p r e s -  H e r comment a b o u t  being out  10 of  sympathy w i t h many of the f e m i n i s t s o f her day i s a l s o  noteworthy.  As i s the case almost a hundred  some o f them were undoubtedly  years l a t e r ,  f o o l i s h and i g n o r a n t b u t one  cannot h e l p s p e c u l a t i n g whether she r e j e c t e d these women and the freedom of  they demanded because  o f h e r own deep f e e l i n g s  g u i l t over h e r common-law r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Lewes. Marian Evans d i d n o t openly engage i n any f e m i n i s t  a c t i v i t i e s b u t the t r i a l s of h e r own i n t e l l e c t u a l and emot i o n a l l i f e most c e r t a i n l y gave h e r a s p e c i a l i n s i g h t  into  the d i f f i c u l t y o f a woman a d o p t i n g a n y t h i n g b u t the most conventional of l i f e s t y l e s .  Because she was a woman, and  moreover a woman " l i v i n g i n s i n , " both she and Lewes knew h e r n o v e l s would have t o be p u b l i s h e d under a male pseudonym: You may t e l l i t openly t o a l l who care t o hear i t t h a t the o b j e c t o f anonymity was t o g e t the book judged on i t s own m e r i t s , and n o t prejudged as the work o f a woman, o r o f a p a r t i c u l a r woman. I t i s q u i t e c l e a r t h a t people would have s n i f f e d at i t i f they had known the w r i t e r t o be a woman but they c a n ' t now unsay t h e i r a d m i r a t i o n i i S An a r t i c l e which appeared  i n the Athenaeum proved t h a t  their  f e a r s were a l l t o o well-founded« " I t i s time t o end t h i s pother about the a u t h o r s h i p of 'Adam Bede'. The w r i t e r i s i n no s e n s e a •great unknown'} the t a l e , i f b r i g h t i n p a r t s , and such as a c l e v e r woman w i t h an observant eye and unschooled moral nature might have w r i t t e n , has no g r e a t q u a l i t y of any kind...you t u r n up a r a t h e r strong-minded l a d y , b l e s s e d w i t h abundance of showy sentiment and a p r o f u s i o n o f p i o u s words but kept f o r s a l e r a t h e r than use.19 7  Even when she was an e s t a b l i s h e d author i t must have been d i f f i c u l t when, f o r example because  " l a d i e s were n o t a d m i t t e d , "  she twice had t o depend on Lewes's notes about the monastery  a t San Marco, which she needed  f o r Romola.  The  position  of women i n a p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y became a more a c u t e l y p e r s o n a l concern g i v e n the l e g a l and moral response t o h e r u n i o n w i t h Lewes.  A f t e r endless i n v e s t i g a t i o n , d i 21  vorce f o r Lewes was  f i n a l l y pronounced  "IMPOSSIBLE"  a l t h o u g h she made a show of n o t minding the s o c i a l  and isolation  which her common-law r e l a t i o n s h i p brought, n e v e r t h e l e s s she smarted under the i n j u s t i c e of a s o c i e t y t h a t o s t r a c i z e d her as a v i o l a t o r of the marriage t i e w h i l e r e g a r d i n g the i m p e n i t e n t Agnes CLewes's l e g a l w i f e ] as a b l a m e l e s s abandonned wife.22 I f her own  union was  i l l e g i t i m a t e a t l e a s t she was not bound  by many of the laws which reduced the m a r r i e d woman's s t a tus t o t h a t o f a mere p o s s e s s i o n of her husband.  Marian  s t r o n g l y supported the proposed M a r r i e d Women's P r o p e r t y A c t and d i d n o t seem t o be shocked a t the i d e a t h a t t h e r e c o u l d be such a t h i n g as rape i n marriage, They [George E l i o t and Lady Araherl^ t a l k e d about a book on the S o c i a l and P o l i t i c a l Dependence o f Women? Lady Amberly, h a v i n g read o n l y a q u o t a t i o n from i t i n the P a l l M a l l — ' t h a t a man ought t o be a b l e to be punished f o r a rape on h i s w i f e ' — w a s s u r p r i s e d when George E l i o t would not a l l o w t h a t the book was c o a r s e . 3 2  But perhaps most s i g n i f i c a n t l y she seemed t o r e a l i z e  that  the c o n v e n t i o n a l V i c t o r i a n p a t t e r n f o r a woman's l i f e i n which she was  expected to devote h e r s e l f w h o l l y t o h e r  husband and c h i l d r e n , might do s e r i o u s harm t o h e r i n d i v i dual self-development, We women are always i n danger o f l i v i n g too exc l u s i v e l y i n the a f f e c t i o n s ; and though our a f f e c t i o n s are perhaps the b e s t g i f t s we have,  12 we ought a l s o to have our share of the more i n dependent l i f e — s o m e joy i n t h i n g s f o r t h e i r own sake. I t i s p i t e o u s to see the h e l p l e s s ness o f some sweet women when t h e i r a f f e c t i o n s are d i s a p p o i n t e d — b e c a u s e a l l t h e i r teaching has been, t h a t they can only d e l i g h t i n study of any k i n d f o r the sake of a p e r s o n a l l o v e . They have never contemplated an independent d e l i g h t i n i d e a s as an experience which they c o u l d confess without b e i n g laughed a t . Yet s u r e l y women need t h i s s o r t o f defence a g a i n s t p a s s i o n ate a f f l i c t i o n even more than men.24 (iii) One  can understand  much about Marian Evans' c o n t r a d i c -  t o r y i d e a s about feminism through the events life.  But an examination  which had  o f her  o f Ludwig Feuerbach's  such a g r e a t i n f l u e n c e on her  personal  philosophy,  thinking—"with 25  the i d e a s of Feuerbach I everywhere agree" be p r o d u c t i v e .  J  —might  also  Feuerbach d i d not w r i t e s p e c i f i c a l l y about  the p o s i t i o n of women, but i m p l i c i t i n The Essence of C h r i s t i a n i t y are both the p r o g r e s s i v e and the c o n s e r v a t i v e tudes which mark Evans' response to the Feuerbach's t h e s i s was by C h r i s t i a n s ( o r any vine" being at a l l ,  atti-  "woman q u e s t i o n . "  t h a t the d i v i n e b e i n g worshipped o t h e r r e l i g i o u s group) i s not a " d i -  but o n l y an e x t e n s i o n of man's i d e a s  about h i m s e l f , God as God, t h a t i s , as a b e i n g not f i n i t e , not human, not m a t e r i a l l y c o n d i t i o n e d , not phenomenal, i s o n l y an o b j e c t of thought. He i s the i n c o r p o r e a l , formless, incomprehensible—the abstract, n e g a t i v e beings he i s known, i . e . , becomes an o b j e c t , o n l y by a b s t r a c t i o n and n e g a t i o n ( V i a n e g a t i o n i s ) . Why? Because he i s n o t h i n g but the o b j e c t i v e nature of the t h i n k i n g power, or i n g e n e r a l of the power or a c t i v i t y , name i t what you w i l l , whereby man i s c o n s c i o u s of reason, of mind, of i n t e l l i g e n c e . There i s no other s p i r i t , t h a t  13  i s ( f o r the i d e a of s p i r i t i s simply the i d e a of thought, of i n t e l l i g e n c e , of understanding, every o t h e r s p i r i t b e i n g a s p e c t r e of the i m a g i n a t i o n ) , no o t h e r i n t e l l i g e n c e which man can b e l i e v e i n or c o n c e i v e than t h a t i n t e l l i gence which e n l i g h t e n s him, which i s a c t i v e i n him. Ke can do n o t h i n g more than separate the i n t e l l i g e n c e from the l i m i t a t i o n s of h i s own individuality. The ' i n f i n i t e s p i r i t ' , i n d i s t i n c t i o n from the f i n i t e , i s t h e r e f o r e n o t h i n g e l s e • than the i n t e l l i g e n c e disengaged from the l i m i t s of i n d i v i d u a l i t y and c o r p o r e a l i t y , — f o r i n d i v i d u a l i t y and c o r p o r e a l i t y are i n s e p a r a b l e , — i n t e l l i g e n c e p o s i t e d i n and by i t s e l f . . 2 0  The problem i s o f course t h a t i n p o s i t i n g t h i s d i v i n e the i n d i v i d u a l man mankind.  being  had s e p a r a t e d h i m s e l f from the r e s t of  A t r u e r e l i g i o n , Feuerbach  " r e l i g i o n of humanity" wherein man c o n s c i o u s n e s s n o t i n response  says, would be  a  would develop h i s moral  t o the laws of a d i v i n e being,  but i n c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the needs and d e s i r e s of h i s "human" b r o t h e r s and s i s t e r s .  H i s emphasis was  on the c o n c r e t e  "sensuous" ( i n i t s b r o a d e s t sense) world, n o t on any romant i c and i l l u s o r y it  "heaven."  To many 19th-century t h i n k e r s  seemed t h a t here i n The Essence  of C h r i s t i a n i t y  the  " s p e l l " of r e l i g i o n had been s i m u l t a n e o u s l y e x p l a i n e d and broken.  The  enthusiasm  w i t h which many o f h i s contempora-  r i e s g r e e t e d Feuerbach's work i s b e s t expressed  by F r e d e r i c k  Engels t Then came Feuerbach*s Essence of C h r i s t i a n i t y . With one blow i t p u l v e r i z e d the c o n t r a d i c t i o n , i n t h a t w i t h o u t c i r c u m l o c u t i o n s i t p l a c e d mat e r i a l i s m on the throne a g a i n . Nature e x i s t s i n d e p e n d e n t l y of a l l p h i l o s o p h y . I t i s the f o u n d a t i o n upon which we human beings, o u r s e l v e s p r o d u c t s of n a t u r e , have grown up. Nothing e x i s t s o u t s i d e nature and man, and the h i g h e r beings our r e l i g i o u s f a n t a s i e s have c r e a t e d are only the f a n t a s t i c r e f l e c t i o n s of our own essence. The  14 s p e l l was broken; the "system" was exploded and c a s t a s i d e , and the c o n t r a d i c t i o n , shown t o e x i s t o n l y i n our i m a g i n a t i o n , was d i s s o l v e d . One must h i m s e l f have experienced the l i b e r a t i n g e f f e c t o f t h i s book t o g e t an i d e a o f i t . Enthusiasm was g e n e r a l ; we a l l became a t once F e u e r b a c h i a n s . ? 2  Marian Evans' response t o Feuerbach, as h e r correspondence during  the p e r i o d  o f t r a n s l a t i n g The Essence of C h r i s t i a n i t y  points  out, was e q u a l l y p o s i t i v e i f perhaps a l i t t l e  subdued i n tone. her,  Feuerbach's m a t e r i a l i s m  more  c e r t a i n l y attracted'  and the axiom she adopted f o r F e l i x H o l t ,  "that  there  i s no p r i v a t e l i f e which i s n o t determined by a w i d e r p u b l i c one"  i s E l i o t ' s v e r s i o n o f Feuerbach's "man i s what he e a t s . "  Here "Man" o f course i n c l u d e s woman, and E l i o t saw t h a t the common b e l i e f i n woman's i g n o r a n c e and f r a i l t y had i t s r o o t at  l e a s t p a r t i a l l y i n s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s r a t h e r than some d i -  v i n e law o f female  inferiority,  complete union and sympathy [between man and womanf can o n l y come by women h a v i n g opened t o them the same s t o r e o f a c q u i r e d t r u t h o r b e l i e f s as men have, so t h a t t h e i r grounds o f judgment may be as f a r as p o s s i b l e the same. The domestic misery, the e v i l e d u c a t i o n o f the c h i l d r e n t h a t come from the p r e s u p p o s i t i o n t h a t women must be kept i g n o r a n t and s u p e r s t i t i o u s , a r e p a t e n t enough. ° 2  And  as much as she abhorred the v a i n and f o o l i s h women  who c o n s t i t u t e d such a l a r g e p a r t of-London s o c i e t y she still  r e a l i z e d t h a t t h e i r s was n o t an e v i l i n h e r e n t  i n the  f e m i n i n e n a t u r e , as was commonly b e l i e v e d , b u t a product of the. p a t r i a r c h a l system itself» Men pay a heavy p r i c e f o r t h e i r r e l u c t a n c e t o encourage s e l f - h e l p and independent r e s o u r c e s i n women. The p r e c i o u s m e r i d i a n y e a r s o f many a man o f genius have to be spent i n the t o i l o f r o u t i n e , t h a t an 'establishment' may be kept up  15 f o r a woman who can understand none of h i s s e c r e t y e a r n i n g s , who i s f i t f o r n o t h i n g but to s i t i n her drawing-room l i k e a doll-Madonna i n her s h r i n e . No matter. A n y t h i n g i s more endurable than to change our e s t a b l i s h e d formulae about women, or to run the r i s k of l o o k i n g up to our wives i n stead of l o o k i n g down on them. S i t d i v u s , dummodo non s i t v i v u s ( l e t him be a god, provided he be not l i v i n g ) , s a i d the Roman magnates of Romulus; and so men say of women, l e t them be i d o l s , u s e l e s s absorbents of p r e c i o u s t h i n g s , p r o v i d e d we are not o b l i g e d to admit them t o be s t r i c t l y f e l l o w - b e i n g s , to he t r e a t e d , one and a l l , , w i t h j u s t i c e and sober r e v e r e n c e . A l t h o u g h E l i o t c r i t i c i z e d many of the r e s u l t s of t r i a r c h y , she never r e a l l y a t t a c k e d same can he in  s a i d of Feuerbach.  the system i t s e l f .  As K a r l Marx p o i n t e d  The  out  the f o u r t h of h i s "Theses on Feuerbach," the l a t t e r might  have separated d i d not  go  the r e l i g i o u s from the  on to r e v e a l why  s e c u l a r world but  that separation  Except f o r v e r y i s o l a t e d statements l i k e f e r e n t l y i n a palace  "man  c o u l d understand the  a part of t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s ,  the r u l i n g c l a s s c o u l d enforce Feuerbach a c t u a l l y d i s c a r d e d of c o n v e n t i o n a l  dif-  or on the  the c h i e f oppression  other hand  that oppression.  was  God.  The  way that  that  A l l that  i d e a s and  con-  C h r i s t i a n i t y he maintained, merely  s a y i n g t h a t they should  be  followed  as the laws- of man  than the laws of some a b s t r a c t d i v i n i t y . concepts, to Feuerbach, was f o r men  thinks  or a hut" he never seemed to understand  by which the mass of men  cepts  he  existed at a l l .  t h a t the c r e a t i o n of the r e l i g i o u s world was  was  pa-  l o v e . The  i s a c t u a l l y the l o v e t h a t man  The  c h i e f of these  l o v e t h a t God has  rather  f o r man,  has and i t  i s t h i s concern f o r our f e l l o w human b e i n g s t h a t Feuerbach  16  f e e l s should be e x a l t e d  t o the l e v e l of a r e l i g i o n , and  which w i l l as a matter of course b r i n g about the l i b e r a t i o n of mankind.  However, even the most c u r s o r y  examination  of human r e l a t i o n s demonstrates the i d e a l i s t i c nature o f Feuerbach's t h i n k i n g .  Engels  spluttered:  But l o v e ! — y e s , w i t h Feuerbach l o v e i s everywhere and a t a l l times the wonder-working god who should h e l p t o surmount a l l d i f f i c u l t i e s o f p r a c t i c a l l i f e — a n d a t that i n a s o c i e t y which i s s p l i t i n t o c l a s s e s with d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposite i n t e r e s t s . At t h i s p o i n t the l a s t r e l i c o f i t s r e v o l u t i o n a r y c h a r a c t e r d i s a p p e a r s from h i s p h i l o s o p h y , l e a v i n g only the o l d c a n t : Love one a n o t h e r — f a l l i n t o each o t h e r ' s arms r e g a r d l e s s o f d i s t i n c t i o n s o f sex o r e s t a t e — a u n i v e r s a l orgy o f r e c o n c i l i a t i o n ' In s h o r t , the Feuerbachian t h e o r y o f morals f a r e s l i k e a l l i t s p r e d e c e s s o r s . I t i s designed t o s u i t a l l p e r i o d s , a l l peoples and a l l c o n d i t i o n s , and p r e c i s e l y f o r t h a t reason i t i s n e v e r and nowhere a p p l i c a b l e . I t remains, as r e g a r d s the r e a l world, as powerless as Kant's c a t e g o r i c a l imperative. I n r e a l i t y every c l a s s , even every p r o f e s s i o n , has i t s own m o r a l i t y , and even t h i s i t v i o l a t e s whenever i t can do so v/ith i m p u n i t y . And l o v e , which i s t o u n i t e a l l , m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f i n wars, a l t e r c a t i o n s , l a w s u i t s , domestic b r o i l s , d i v o r c e s and every p o s s i b l e e x p l o i t a t i o n of one by a n o t h e r . 3 0 The  l a s t sentence of t h i s q u o t a t i o n  t h i n k i n g would l e a d i n r e g a r d  shows where Feuerbach's  t o the p o s i t i o n o f women.  H i s emphasis on the v a l i d i t y o f s e x u a l i t y i n l o v e was c e r - t a i n l y meaningful given  the r e p r e s s i v e  society, but without a correspondingly  atmosphere o f V i c t o r i a n radical re-definition  of the mutual r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t h a t male-female l o v e e n t a i l s , then g r e a t e r  sexual  freedom might a c t u a l l y work t o woman's  disadvantage*by g i v i n g h e r husband even more power over h e r . I t was under t h a t v e r y name o f " l o v e " t h a t women were expected u n c r i t i c a l l y t o "honour and obey."  A l l too often,  17 l o v e , f o r a woman, meant g i v i n g up h e r r i g h t s under the law,  s u b m i t t i n g t o h e r husband's w i l l and l i m i t i n g h e r p e r -  s o n a l ambitions t o the rewards o f motherhood. Marian Evans' acceptance  o f Feuerbach's  r e l i g i o n of  l o v e was e n t h u s i a s t i c and complete: The powerful appeal the book had f o r h e r sprang, n o t from h i s b o l d humanism—'Homo homini deus e s t * — f o r she had l o n g been f a m i l i a r w i t h t h a t , h u t from Feuerbach's d a r i n g c o n c e p t i o n o f l o v e : 'Love i s God h i m s e l f , and a p a r t from i t there i s no God...not a v i s i o n a r y , imaginary l o v e — n o l a r e a l l o v e , a l o v e which has f l e s h and b l o o d , which v i b r a t e s as an a l m i g h t y f o r c e through a l l l i v i n g . ' She agreed w h o l e - h e a r t e d l y w i t h Feuerbach's d i s t i n c t i o n between • s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d l o v e ' and 'the t r u e human l o v e * , which 'impels the s a c r i f i c e o f s e l f t o another.' Such l o v e i s , and must always be, p a r t i c u l a r and l i m i t e d , f i n d i n g i t s e x p r e s s i o n i n the s e x u a l r e l a t i o n , the f r a n k e s t r e c o g n i t i o n of the d i v i n e i n Nature.31 Her h e a l t h y r e c o g n i t i o n of s e x u a l i t y c e r t a i n l y marked Evans as a r a d i c a l  i n a t l e a s t one a s p e c t o f the debate  t r u e n a t u r e o f woman.  But l i k e Feuerbach  over the  she d i d n o t seem  t o want t o i n v e s t i g a t e t h o r o u g h l y o t h e r a s p e c t s o f male/ female r e l a t i o n s h i p s t h a t might t h r e a t e n the s t a b i l i t y o f existing social institutions.  When c o n f r o n t e d w i t h the  f a c t o f women's and men's o p p r e s s i o n she took the Feuerba-r c h i a n way out.  Concern  f i s h and e g o t i s t i c a l .  f o r our own d i f f i c u l t i e s i s s e l One must r e s i g n o n e s e l f t o one's  "own l o t , " as i t were, and the h i g h e s t achievement o f human e x i s t e n c e i s t o r e p r e s s s e l f - i n t e r e s t f o r the i n t e r e s t o f others, Consciousness o f the world i s the c o n s c i o u s n e s s of my l i m i t a t i o n . . . . M y fellow-man,is the bond between me and the w o r l d . I am, and I f e e l  18 myself, dependent on the world, because I f i r s t f e e l myself dependent on o t h e r men. If I did n o t need man, I should n o t need the world, I r e c o n c i l e myself w i t h the world o n l y through my fellow-man. Without o t h e r men, the world would be f o r me not o n l y dead and empty, but meaningless. Only through h i s f e l l o w does man become c l e a r t o h i m s e l f and s e l f - c o n s c i o u s . - ^ These are f i n e sentiments, as E n g e l s suggested, i f one d i d n o t l i v e i n a " s o c i e t y which i s s p l i t i n t o c l a s s e s w i t h d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposite i n t e r e s t s . " century B r i t i s h l i f e ,  Given the f a c t s o f 19th-  Feuerbach's and Evans' c a l l s f o r r e s i g -  n a t i o n sound more r e a c t i o n a r y than p r o g r e s s i v e .  As f a r as  the f e m i n i s t s t r u g g l e f o r emancipation i s concerned, statement quoted p r e v i o u s l y  Evans'  ( " i f a female has a worse share  i n e x i s t e n c e t h a t s h o u l d be the b a s i s f o r a s u b l i m e r r e s i g n a t i o n i n women") can be i n t e r p r e t e d o n l y as a  justification  f o r m a i n t a i n i n g the p r e s e n t system o f s e x u a l i n e q u a l i t y . She handled the l a r g e r q u e s t i o n o f c l a s s p o l i t i c s i n the same way.  In her "Address t o Working Men,  she pleaded w i t h working men b a l l o t or to "allow the mob and d e s t r o y the c l a s s who t h i n k and l e g i s l a t e . " ^  n o t t o misuse and mob  Feuerbach's  Holt,"  the power of the  o r a t o r s t o m i s l e a d them  have l e i s u r e and r e f i n e m e n t t o I t may  be noted t h a t her v e r y con-  s e r v a t i v e p u b l i s h e r , John Blackwood, was of t h i s k i n d o f  by F e l i x  most enamoured  "radicalism." g r e a t e s t s t r e n t h — t h a t he p e r c e i v e d the  world m a t e r i a l i s t i c a l l y — i s a l s o Marian Evans'. f a i l u r e i s hers t o o . become what he was,  Both saw what man but n e i t h e r saw  was  But h i s  and how  he  had  t h a t he c o u l d or would  19 become a n y t h i n g e l s e . To me m a t e r i a l i s m i s the f o u n d a t i o n of the e d i f i c e of human essence and knowledge; but to me i t i s not what i t i s t o the p h y s i o l o g i s t , to the n a t u r a l s c i e n t i s t i n the narrower sense, f o r example, t o Moleschott, and n e c e s s a r i l y i s from t h e i r s t a n d p o i n t and p r o f e s s i o n s , namely, the e d i f i c e i t s e l f . Backwards I f u l l y agree w i t h the m a t e r i a l i s t s ; but not forwards. !~Feuerbacn~l A t the p o i n t where they were c h a l l e n g e d to a t t a c k or even t h r e a t e n e x i s t i n g s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , both Evans and Feuerbach  escaped  were determined  i n t o the v e r y i d e a l i s m t h a t they  initially  to r e j e c t .  I f i n her p r i v a t e l i f e  Marian Evans had c o n t r a d i c t o r y  f e e l i n g s about"..the p o p u l a r f e m i n i s t i s s u e s of her time i t i s n o t unreasonable up i n the f i c t i o n  t o expect t h i s same c o n f u s i o n w i l l show  of George E l i o t .  The purpose of t h i s  the-  s i s i s to p o i n t up these c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i f and when they o c c u r and  t o show t o what e x t e n t E l i o t ' s ambiguity w i t h  res-  p e c t t o the p o s i t i o n of women can be h e l p f u l i n e x p l a i n i n g both the undeniable b r i l l i a n c e and her n o v e l s .  obvious weaknesses i n  I am n o t a t a l l t r y i n g t o suggest t h a t a f e m i -  n i s t b i a s makes good a r t or t h a t e x p r e s s i o n s o f male c h a u v i nism doom a n o v e l t o f a i l u r e .  To p i c k out such  i n an author's w r i t i n g i s merely  a p r o c e s s of d e s c r i p t i o n  and does n o t c o n t r i b u t e i n any way work as a r t .  I t does seem t o me,  to the a n a l y s i s of the however, t h a t a n o v e l i s  bound to run i n t o d i f f i c u l t i e s i f two approaches t o female  attitudes  d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed  c h a r a c t e r are p r e s e n t i n i t ,  c o n t r a d i c t i o n has no s p e c i f i c l i t e r a r y f u n c t i o n . I believe, characteristic  and  the  This i s ,  of many of the n o v e l s of George  Eliot.  She i n i t i a l l y p r e s e n t s h e r women c h a r a c t e r s from a  f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e ( i . e . from the s t a n d p o i n t o f one who sees t h a t much o f what i s c a l l e d i n f a c t a response  the female  character i s  to p a t r i a c h a l values) but u l t i m a t e l y  measures them a g a i n s t the standards  o f a c o n s e r v a t i v e anxious  to p r e s e r v e a l l the t r a d i t i o n a l i d e a l s about the p r o p e r p l a c e o f women. Given the s u b j e c t w i t h which t h i s t h e s i s d e a l s , I found a thematic approach t o a l l the n o v e l s i m p o s s i b l e . Although  the same c o n t r a d i c t o r y a t t i t u d e s i n the p r e s e n t a -  t i o n o f female  c h a r a c t e r s occur i n much o f h e r work, the prob-  lem m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f i n d i f f e r e n t ways, making any comparisons or c r o s s - r e f e r e n c e s s u b j e c t t o t o o much q u a l i f i c a t i o n .  I  have c o n c e n t r a t e d on t h r e e o f the n o v e l s — T h e  M i l l on the  F l o s s , Middlemarch and D a n i e l D e r o n d a — p a r t l y  because  they  are r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f the t h r e e major p e r i o d s o f h e r w r i t i n g but more i m p o r t a n t l y because the weaknesses o f these n o v e l s are i n e x t r i c a b l y bound up w i t h t h e i r g r e a t n e s s as works o f fiction.  The M i l l on the F l o s s f a l l s a p a r t i n the l a s t  book because the deus ex machina death by drowning i s f a r too simple a way o f r e s o l v i n g the complexity o f Maggie's s i tuation. is  I n D a n i e l Deronda, p a r t o f the reason why Deronda  such a weak c h a r a c t e r i s because he does n o t p r o v i d e a  s a t i s f a c t o r y answer t o the problems w i t h which Gwendolen H a r l e t h c o n f r o n t s him.  I n t h i s way Gwendolen's s t o r y , the  b e s t p a r t o f the book^is weakened too.  Middlemarch does  n o t have the marked f a i l u r e s o f the o t h e r two n o v e l s , b u t  the vague d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n one f e e l s about Dorothea's with Ladislaw  marriage  seems t o me t o a r i s e because i t a v o i d s the  v e r y c o m p e l l i n g q u e s t i o n s about a woman's l i f e  t h a t Dorothea  has posed e a r l i e r i n the book. There i s only one other woman c h a r a c t e r , Mrs. Transome in  F e l i x H o l t the R a d i c a l , whom I f e e l warrants  extensive •  d i s c u s s i o n b u t s i n c e her p a r t i s r e l a t i v e l y s m a l l i n t h a t n o v e l I have i n c l u d e d t h a t d i s c u s s i o n w i t h the b r i e f of IV.  reviews  Adam Bede, S i l a s Marner and Romola which make up Chapter The c o n c l u s i o n recaps the main p o i n t s o f the body o f  the t h e s i s and t r i e s t o o f f e r some g e n e r a l c o n c l u s i o n s about George E l i o t ' s treatment  One  f i n a l note»  o f women i n h e r f i c t i o n .  i n a l l the c r i t i c i s m o f George E l i o t I  have read i n the p a s t y e a r . o n l y r a r e l y i s she r e f e r r e d t o by h e r surname,, whether Evans o r the pseudonymous E l i o t . The  same a p p l i e s t o Jane Austen,  the Brontes, H a r r i e t Mar-  t i n e a u , C h a r l o t t e G a s k e l l and o t h e r female w r i t e r s , b u t of  course n o t t o C h a r l e s Dickens  Henry James.  o r W i l l i a m Thackery o r  I am sure George E l i o t ,  would have chosen "Mrs. Lewes."  had she been c o n s u l t e d ,  Notwithstanding  f e r e n c e , I s h a l l g i v e h e r equal treatment contemporaries.  her pre-  w i t h h e r male  I n d e a l i n g w i t h h e r p e r s o n a l l i f e and  e a r l y w r i t i n g s up t o Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e used e i t h e r Marian,  Marian  (1858) I have  Evans o r Evans; i n d i s c u s s i n g the  n o v e l s w r i t t e n under h e r pen name, e i t h e r George E l i o t o r E l i o t i s used.  22  NOTES 1  quoted by E l a i n e Showalter i n i n t r o d u c t i o n t o "Observ a t i o n s on the S t a t e o f D e g r a d a t i o n t o Which Woman i s Reduced by V a r i o u s Causes," i n Women's L i b e r a t i o n and L i t e r a t u r e (New York: H a r c o u r t , Brace Jovanovich, 19?1), p. 9 .  2 1870  W a l t e r E . Houghton, The V i c t o r i a n Frame o f Mind 1830(New Haven & London: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1957). p. 351.  3 George E l i o t , "Margaret F u l l e r and Marry W o l l s t o n e c r a f t , " Leader, VI (1855), i n E s s a y s o f George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney (New York: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1963), p. 200.  4 Ibid.,  "Women i n F r a n c e , " E s s a y s , pp. 55-56.  5 George Henry Lewes, "The Lady N o v e l i s t s , " Westminter Review (1852), i n Women's L i b e r a t i o n and L i t e r a t u r e , ed. Showalter, p. 174. 6  The George E l i o t L e t t e r s , ed. Gordon S. Haight (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ) , I I , 175* |George E l i o t t o B e s s i e Rayner Parkes, Weimar, 10 September 1854) 7  K.A. McKenzie, E d i t h Simcox and George E l i o t Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1961), p. 118.  (Oxford:  8  Gordon S. Haight, George E l i o t : A Biography ( O x f o r d : Clarendon P r e s s , 1968), p. 396. 9 I b i d . , p. 338.  10  Quoted by Thomas Pinney i n i n t r o d u c t i o n Ho! and Constance H e r b e r t , " Essays, p. 122.  11  t o "'Westward  Haight, L e t t e r s , V, 7. [Charles E l i o t Norton t o George W i l l i a m C u r t i s , London, 29 January I869J  23 12  Haight, Biography, p. 243. [George_Eliot to B e s s i e Rayner Parkes, London, 24 September 1852  Haight, L e t t e r s ,  V, 7.  Norton  to C u r t i s , 29 January  186?] 14 Haight, L e t t e r s , IV, 468. [George. E l i o t to E m i l y D a v i e s , London"! 8 August 1868[ Haight, L e t t e r s , VI, 1 0 2 . [George Henry Lewes t o W i l l i a m Kindon C l i f f o r d , London, 1875  16  Houghton, The V i c t o r i a n Frame o f Mind, p. 3 5 2 .  r Haight, L e t t e r s , V, 58. [George E l i o t to Mrs. John Senior,-London, 4 October I869J 1  1  7  Nassau  r  8  Haight, Biography, 2 9 0 . jCjeorge E l i o t t o Mme. B a r b a r a Bodichoo. London, 30 June, 1859 - p o s t s c r i p t quoted by G.H. LewesJ  19  Ibid., 290-1  20  Ibid., 326. 21  Haight, L e t t e r s , I I I , 3 6 6 . [George E l i o t t o Eugene Bodichon, London, 26 December 186/J 22  23  Mme.  H a i g h t , Biography, p. 3 3 8 . I b i d . , p. 3 9 1 .  24  Haight, L e t t e r s , V, 1 0 7 . [George E l i a t to the Mrs. Robert L y t t o n , Harrogate, 8 J u l y I870] Haight, Biography, p. 142. H e n n e l l , London, 29 A p r i l 1854)  [George E l i o t  Hon.  to S a r a Sophia  24 26 Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of C h r i s t i a n i t y York: Harper Torchbooks, 1 9 5 7 ) , p. 3 5 .  (New  27 F r e d e r i c k E n g e l s , "Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of C l a s s i c a l German P h i l o s o p h y , " i n K a r l Marx and F r e d e r i c k E n g e l s S e l e c t e d Works (Moscow: F o r e i g n Languages P u b l i s h i n g House, 1 9 6 2 ) I I , 3 6 7 - 8 . Haight, L e t t e r s , . IV, 468. London, 8 August 1868]  [George E l i o t  to Emily Davies,  29  George E l i o t , "Margaret F u l l e r and Mary W o l l s t o n e c r a f t , i n E s s a y s of George E l i o t , op. c i t . , p. 204-5. M  30  Eng.els, p.  384.  31 Haight, Biography, p.  137•  32  Feuerbach, p. 82. 33  r  Haight, L e t t e r s , IV, 403. |john Blackwood E l i o t , Edinburgh, 6 December 1 8 6 3 3^  Quoted by E n g e l s i n "Feuerbach," p. 373*  t o George  II The  Kill  on t h e F l o s s (i)  She s a t q u i t e s t i l l f a r on i n t o t h e n i g h t ; w i t h no i m p u l s e t o change h e r a t t i t u d e , w i t h o u t a c t i v e f o r c e enough e v e n f o r t h e m e n t a l a c t o f p r a y e r — o n l y w a i t i n g f o r t h e l i g h t t h a t w o u l d s u r e l y come again. I t came w i t h t h e memories t h a t n o p a s s i o n c o u l d l o n g q u e n c h ; t h e l o n g p a s t came h a c k t o h e r , and w i t h i t t h e f o u n t a i n s o f s e l f - r e n o u n c i n g p i t y and a f f e c t i o n , o f f a i t h f u l n e s s and r e s o l v e . The w o r d s t h a t were marked b y t h e q u i e t hand i n t h e l i t t l e o l d book t h a t s h e h a d l o n g ago l e a r n e d b y h e a r t r u s h e d e v e n t o h e r l i p s , and f o u n d a v e n t f o r t h e m s e l v e s i n a l o w murmur t h a t was q u i t e l o s t i n the loud d r i v i n g of the r a i n against the window and t h e l o u d moan o f t h e w i n d : " I have r e c e i v e d t h e C r o s s , I have r e c e i v e d i t f r o m T h y h a n d ; I w i l l b e a r i t , and h e a r i t t i l l d e a t h , a s T h o u h a s t l a i d i t upon m e . " l 3y  this  p o i n t i n The M i l l  achieved will  that renunciation  w h i c h George E l i o t  o f human e x i s t e n c e . his  last  appeal  exchanged  on t h e F l o s s M a g g i e T u l l i v e r h a s of self,  considers  that resignation of  the highest  Maggie h a s g i v e n  to her—chosen  up  Stephen—resisted  duty i n s t e a d  e a s e f u l j o y f o r the " w i l l i n g  i s n o t a l l a y e d — t h a t you don't expect  (MF,  363)*  her  with  a reunion  and  of a pain  t o be a l l a y e d "  action i s necessary  metamorphosis from egoism  M a g g i e must e f f e c t  of passion,  endurance  that  O n l y one f i n a l  achievement  t o complete  to true C h r i s t i a n humility. with  Tom.  And s o , f i l l e d  a s t r o n g r e s u r g e n t l o v e towards h e r b r o t h e r t h a t swept away a l l t h e l a t e r i m p r e s s i o n s o f h a r d , c r u e l o f f e n c e and m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g , and l e f t o n l y  25  26 the deep, u n d e r l y i n g , unshakable e a r l y union (MF, 5 6 7 )  memories o f  Maggie p o l e s h e r boat down the suddenly f l o o d - s w e l l e d to  f i n d f i n a l peace f o r h e r s e l f through  w i t h Tom.  Floss  reconciliation  B r o t h e r and s i s t e r go down h a p p i l y t o t h e i r  deaths i n an embrace never t o be p a r t e d , l i v i n g through a g a i n i n one supreme moment the days when they had c l a s p e d t h e i r l i t t l e hands i n l o v e and roamed the d a i s i e d f i e l d s t o g e t h e r . (MF, 5 7 ° ) So run the l a s t scenes o f an otherwise b r i l l i a n t n o v e l . A f t e r b e i n g presented w i t h one o f the most r e a l i s t i c and e x c i t i n g p o r t r a i t s o f a woman's l i f e  t o be found i n E n g l i s h  f i c t i o n we are suddenly expected t o a c c e p t c o m p l e t e l y the r i d i c u l o u s combination o f s e n t i m e n t a l i d e a l i s m , events, and overblown  r e l i g i o u s r h e t o r i c t h a t makes up  the f i n a l book o f The M i l l on the F l o s s . n o t then,nor does i t now work. first  incredible  Of course i t d i d  E v e r s i n c e The M i l l ' s  p u b l i c a t i o n , Book VII "The F i n a l Rescue" has i r r i -  tated c r i t i c a l s e n s i b i l i t i e s .  A c c o r d i n g t o Henry James,  the s t o r y i s t o l d as i f i t were d e s t i n e d t o have, i f not a s t r i c t l y happy t e r m i n a t i o n , a t l e a s t one w i t h i n o r d i n a r y p r o b a b i l i t i e s . As i t stands the denouement shocks the r e a d e r most p a i n f u l l y . Nothing has prepared him f o r i t ; the s t o r y does not move towards i t ; i t c a s t s no shadow b e f o r e i t . Did such a denouement l i e w i t h i n the a u t h o r ' s i n t e n t i o n s from the f i r s t or was i t a t a r d y exped i e n t f o r the s o l u t i o n o f Maggie's d i f f i c u l t i e s ? 2  In  The Great T r a d i t i o n F.R. L e a v i s says t h a t i n the f i n a l  scene on the r i v e r E l i o t l o s e s the " i n s i g h t and u n d e r s t a n d i n g " which so p o w e r f u l l y informs the r e s t o f the n o v e l * Something so l i k e a k i n d of daydream i n d u l g e n c e  27  we are a l l f a m i l i a r w i t h , c o u l d not have imposed i t s e l f on the n o v e l i s t as the r i g h t ending i f her mature i n t e l l i g e n c e had been f u l l y engaged, g i v i n g her f u l l self-knowledge. The f l o o d e d r i v e r has no symbolic or m e t a p h o r i c a l v a l u e . I t i s o n l y the dreamed-of h e r o i c a c t - - t h e a c t t h a t s h a l l v i n d i c a t e us a g a i n s t a h a r s h l y m i s j u d g i n g w o r l d , b r i n g emotional f u l f i l m e n t and ( i n o t h e r s ) changes of h e a r t , and p r o v i d e a g l o r i o u s l y t r a g i c c u r t a i n . Not t h a t the s e n t i m e n t a l i n i t i s e m b a r r a s s i n g l y g r o s s , but the f i n a l i t y i s not t h a t of g r e a t a r t , and the s i g n i f i c a n c e i s what I have s u g g e s t e d — a r e v e a l e d immaturity.3 Even Joan Bennett, tic  one  of E l i o t ' s r e c e n t and most e n t h u s i a s -  s u p p o r t e r s , can f i n d n o t h i n g v e r y good t o say about  a s p e c t of The  this  Mill*  We are t e m p o r a r i l y c a r r i e d away by the v i v i d desc r i p t i o n of her death, but the i n f l a t e d , melo- • dramatic s t y l e of the c l o s e i s a symptom of the r e l a x a t i o n of the a u t h o r ' s s e r i o u s concern w i t h her c h a r a c t e r s . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , d i s a g r e e a b l e and i r r i t a t i n g scenes may  be,  they are s t i l l  as the' f i n a l  t h e r e (as Mirah i s s t i l l  " t h e r e " i n D a n i e l Deronda) and must be d e a l t w i t h .  .  I,t i s  obvious t h a t Evans h e r s e l f had a s p e c i a l f e e l i n g f o r the end o f t h i s n o v e l , "which I had looked forward t o w i t h much a t t e n t i o n and p r e m e d i t a t i o n from the beginning."-' In to  Barbara Bodichon  Marian's  letters  and John Blackwood, Lewes r e p o r t e d  tremendous emotional involvement w i t h the f i n a l  t i n i e s of Tom  des-  and Maggies  Mrs. Lewes i s g e t t i n g her eyes r e d d e r and s w o l l e n e r every morning as she l i v e s through her t r a g i c story. 0  'My good l a d y ' ( s t y l e c h o i s i I ) . . . i s r e d d e n i n g her eyes, and b l a c k e n i n g her paper, over the f o o l i s h sorrows of two f o o l i s h young persons of her imaginary acquaintance.7  28  And H e r b e r t Spencer mentions  t h a t a t about the same time  when he c a l l e d upon the c o u p l e , Lewes, who was j u s t the house s a i id,  leaving  "Oh, Spencer do go i n and comfort P o l l y [ a  p e t name f o r Marian J 5 she i s c r y i n g her eyes out over the o  death o f h e r c h i l d r e n . "  E l i o t ' s own l e t t e r w r i t t e n t o John  Blackwood the day she f i n i s h e d the manuscript suggests t h a t she had no doubts about the denouement o f The M i l l on the F l o s s .  Her u s u a l tone o f s e l f - e f f a c e m e n t i s c e r t a i n l y  t h e r e , b u t the sense o f p e r s o n a l s a t i s f a c t i o n  "with a job  w e l l done" i s even s t r o n g e r , Your l e t t e r y e s t e r d a y morning helped t o i n s p i r e me f o r the l a s t e l e v e n pages, i f they have any i n s p i r a t i o n i n them. There were w r i t t e n i n a f u r o r , b u t I daresay t h e r e i s n o t a word d i f f e r e n t from what i t would have been i f I had w r i t t e n them a t the s l o w e s t pace. 9 I f E l i o t was as c o n t e n t w i t h the ending o f the "novel as t h i s l e t t e r suggests, when the c r i t i c s have been so c o n s i s t e n t l y n e g a t i v e , t h e r e must be a s e r i o u s problem tation.  of i n t e r p r e -  Are we r e a d i n g the n o v e l i n a way d i f f e r e n t  t h a t E l i o t i n t e n d e d us t o ? What a r e the problems  from  she f e l t  Maggie T u l l i v e r was d e a l i n g w i t h and how does h e r r e t u r n t o Tom and t h e i r mutual death by drowning  r e s o l v e them?  And  where and why i n the n o v e l does our u n d e r s t a n d i n g d e p a r t from hers so t h a t we are l e f t d i s s a t i s f i e d by the f i n a l scenes? (ii) As Barbara Hardy p o i n t s out i n Chapter IV o f The Novels of George E l i o t ,  one o f Marian Evans' main concerns as a  29 novelist  (and one can only conclude from r e a d i n g  as a human b e i n g  her l e t t e r s ,  too) was w i t h the problem o f egoism.  Feuerbach, E l i o t saw p e r s o n a l  p r i d e and w i l f u l n e s s as the  f a c t o r s most a n t a g o n i s t i c t o and d e s t r u c t i v e o f s o c i a l mony. life  Like  har-  The t r u l y moral or " r e l i g i o u s " ( i n i t s b r o a d e s t sense)  must, i n h e r words, "express l e s s care f o r  personal  c o n s o l a t i o n and a more deeply-awing sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ' to man."* And i t i s towards t h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f the i n d i v i 0  dual's she at  duty t o the l a r g e r community i n which he l i v e s  t r i e s t o move h e r c h a r a c t e r s .  Renunciation  that  o f s e l f , or  l e a s t the abandonment o f t h a t p a r t o f s e l f - l o v e which  b l i n d s one t o the needs and concerns of others  i s of course  the means o f e f f e c t i n g t h i s end. As Bernard P a r i s commentsJ The p r i m a l undeniable ground o f value f o r E l i o t i s the i n d i v i d u a l ' s importance t o himself} i t i s a f a c t t h a t h i s own p l e a s u r e s and p a i n s a r e o f g r e a t moment t o him. T h i s i s the s u b j e c t i v e b a s i s of m o r a l i t y . The o b j e c t i v e b a s i s o f m o r a l i t y i s o t h e r men} and we become aware o f i t o n l y when we regard our f e l l o w s o b j e c t i v e l y , t h a t i s , as subj e c t s i n themselves t o whom we a r e o b j e c t s . I f I am important t o myself, and o t h e r men have an i n n e r l i f e l i k e my own, then they must be import a n t t o themselves. I evaluate the a c t i o n s o f my fellows^ i n terms o f the e f f e c t s which they have upon me. S i m i l a r l y , they must e v a l u a t e my a c t i o n s by the e f f e c t s which I have upon them. Other men, then, g i v e my deeds, my l i f e , an o b j e c t i v e value. The moral s a t i s f a c t i o n t h a t we d e r i v e from l i v i n g f o r the good of others i s dependent upon the degree t o which we r e g a r d our fellow-men o b j e c t i v e l y , upon our a b i l i t y t o p r o j e c t o u r s e l v e s i m a g i n a t i v e l y i n t o the c o n s c i o u s - , ness of o t h e r s and i n t o the f u t u r e . By l i v i n g f o r o t h e r s , we a l s o l i v e i n o t h e r s , and by e n v i s i o n i n g the e f f e c t s o f our e x i s t e n c e upon those who l i v e a f t e r us we can experience a sense o f impersonal i m m o r t a l i t y . "I t h i n k i t i s p o s s i b l e , " E l i o t wrote, " f o r t h i s s o r t o f impersonal l i f e to a t t a i n g r e a t i n t e n s i t y . " 1 1  Eliot tion  fully  recognizes  between r e a l  martyrdom.  was p a i n l e s s ,  and u n i m p o r t a n t  periority. Herbert this  self-abnegation  She had l i t t l e  renunciation small  she c r i t i c i z e s The h e r o i n e  because  that  t h o s e who  thought  to insure  one's m o r a l s u -  Jewsbury's  Gonstnace  the author f o r h e r promotion of i n the novel  of a family  he i s d i s c o v e r e d  with  i t was a m a t t e r o f m e r e l y  on G e r a l d i n e  heritage  thing i s ultimately resolved end  a t l e a s t ) the d i s t i n c -  and t h e g l o r i e s o f e a s y  patience  sacrifices  I n an e s s a y  idea.  fiance  too ( i ntheory  has had t o renounce h e r of i n s a n i t y , hut every-  t o h e r a d v a n t a g e when i n t h e  t o have been an " e g o i s t i c , s h a l l o w  w o r l d l i n g " who i s n o t w o r t h m a r r y i n g anyway. The n o t i o n t h a t d u t y l o o k s s t e r n , b u t a l l t h e w h i l e h a s h e r hand f u l l o f s u g a r - p l u m s , w i t h w h i c h she w i l l reward us by-and-by, i s t h e f a v o u r i t e c a n t o f o p t i m i s t s , who t r y t o make o u t t h a t t h i s t a n g l e d w i l d e r n e s s o f l i f e has a p l a n as e a s y t o t r a c e a s t h a t o f a D u t c h g a r d e n s b u t i t r e a l l y undermines a l l true moral development by p e r p e t u a l l y s u b s t i t u t i n g s o m e t h i n g e x t r i n s i c as a motive t o a c t i o n , i n s t e a d o f t h e immediate i m p u l s e o f l o v e o r j u s t i c e , w h i c h a l o n e makes a n action truly moral. 1 2  But  f o r t h e i n d i v i d u a l who does a c h i e v e  there one in  i s reward.  gains  the joys  In return of inner  t h e same way t h a t  life  will  lose  will  find i t . "  the  context  pleasures  harmony and p e a c e o f m i n d  Jesus promised  i t , and he who l o s e s  egoism i s t h e r o o t of E l i o t ' s  selflessness  f o r the l o s s o f w o r l d l y  Although i t i s perhaps a l i t t l e individual  true  novels  that  much  "He who f i n d s h i s  hislife  f o r my  simplistic  to say that  o f a l l human m i s e r y , one c a n n o t h e l p  sake  given  sympathizing  31 with her point  o f view.  we s e e a l l t o o c l e a r l y personal The  the dangers o f p r i d e  w i l l without regard  determination  Guest t o f o l l o w misery  T h r o u g h o u t The M i l l  on t h e F l o s s and e x e r c i s e o f  t o the s e n s i b i l i t i e s  of others.  o f Tom, h i s f a t h e r , Wakem a n d S t e p h e n their  f o r others  own i m m e d i a t e  desires  leads  and deep d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h  But  the moral lesson  o f The M i l l  not  through the l i v e s  on t h e F l o s s  o f these people,  only to  themselves.  i s played out,  b u t through  Maggie  Tulliver. To the  my mind  this  i s the root  denouement o f t h e n o v e l .  worked  out,  of our basic  The p r o c e s s  n o t through the l i f e  needs t o l e a r n t h a t  lesson,  certainly  t o the s i n s  as l i a b l e  reaction against  of renunciation i s  h u t t h r o u g h a woman. of pride  Women a r e  a s men, b u t i n  revealed  t o be a  t h e l i m i t a t i o n s imposed  s e l f - d e v e l o p m e n t by the system  of patriarchy  ficult  of self-abnegation  else  t o see h e r f i n a l  but a tedious  scenes  re-statement  woman a s s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g with the idea  he  and t h a t ,  tion  that  i n fact,  t o what we f e e l  character. .  martyr.  The p r o b l e m  i t i s difas  i t i s worked  anything about  then i s n o t  limited,, i t i s a valid  i t i s n o t worked  are very  that  on h e r  o f a l l t h e o l d myths  of resignation—though  enough t h e o r y — b u t  with  o f one o f t h e men who most  Maggie's case h e r egoism i s so c l e a r l y healthy  uneasiness  o u t where i t  out i n d i r e c t  should  contradic-  d i f f e r e n t needs o f a p a r t i c u l a r  32 (iii) Tom h a s a l w a y s b e e n the of  nature of t h e i r  relationship  o f Maggie's  i s the clue  l i f e and  t o the process  u n d e r s t a n d i n g h e r b e h a v i o u r and thus o u r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n  with he  the centre  "The F i n a l  has l i t t l e  absorbed  A l t h o u g h Maggie may w o r s h i p Tom,  i f any r e s p e c t  f o r her.  Tom h a s c o m p l e t e l y  ( a n d i n t h i s way he t o o i s a v i c t i m ) t h e a n t i -  feminist bias nizes  Rescue."  girls  o f the w o r l d around him which  scarcely recog-  o r women a s human b e i n g s .  T i m p s o n h a d a l a r g e f a m i l y o f d a u g h t e r s 5 Mr. R i l e y f e l t f o r h i m . (MP, 4 0 ) Mr. T u l l i v e r f e l t v e r y much a s i f t h e a i r h a d b e e n c l e a r e d o f o b t r u s i v e f l i e s now t h e women were o u t o f t h e room. (MF, 9 3 ) You've g o t enough o ' g e l l s , G r i t t y , " he a d d e d , i n a tone h a l f compassionate, h a l f r e p r o a c h f u l . (MF, 1 0 0 ) Tom f e e l s  smugly  superior  t o the poor female  Maggie,  I ' v e g o t a g r e a t d e a l more money t h a n y o u , b e c a u s e I'm a b o y . I a l w a y s have h a l f - s o v e r e i g n s and s o v e r e i g n s f o r my C h r i s t m a s b o x e s b e c a u s e I s h a l l , be a man, and y o u o n l y have f i v e - s h i l l i n g p i e c e s b e c a u s e y o u ' r e o n l y a g i r l . (MF, 5 1 ) A l t h o u g h Tom may d e s p i s e beings,  ironically  model o f p e r f e c t his  fatherland  feminine hance  the opposite  he w i l l  a c c e p t Maggie  femininity;  t h e males  qualities  a man's s e n s e  sex as l e s s e r  human  o n l y i f she i s t h e  f o r he h a s a l s o u n d e r s t o o d  around  of passivity, o f h i s own  him t h a t  from  the supposedly  o b e d i e n c e and d e c o r u m e n virility,  I p i c k e d t h e mother because she wasn't o ' e r ' ' c u t e — b e i n g a good l o o k i n g woman t o o , a n ' come o f a r a r e f a m i l y f o r managing, b u t I p i c k e d h e r f r o m her s i s t e r s o' p u r p o s e 'cause she was a b i t weak,  33 l i k e , f o r I wasn't a g o i n ' to be t o l d the r i g h t s o' t h i n g s by my own f i r e s i d e . (MF, 33) And h i s second s u b j e c t of m e d i t a t i o n was the " c o n t r a r i n e s s of the female mind",as t y p i c a l l y e x h i b i t e d i n Mrs. Glegg. That a c r e a t u r e made-i n the g e n e a l o g i c a l s e n s e — o u t of a man's r i b , and i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r case maintained i n the h i g h e s t r e s p e c t a b i l i t y without any t r o u b l e of her own, should he n o r m a l l y i n a s t a t e of c o n t r a d i c t i o n to the b l a n d e s t p r o p o s i t i o n s and even to the most accomodating c o n c e s s i o n s was a mystery i n the scheme of t h i n g s to which he had o f t e n i n v a i n sought a c l u e i n the e a r l y chapters of G e n e s i s . (MP, 144) Maggie has She  a little  t r o u b l e i n f u l f i l l i n g t h i s male i d e a l .  i s d e f i n i t e l y not the charming l i t t l e  "piece of  fluff"'  t h a t Lucy Deane i s , And you sit get she Nor  t h e r e ' s Lucy Deane's such a good c h i l d — may s e t her on a s t o o l , and there s h e ' l l f o r an hour together, and never o f f e r t o o f f . I can't h e l p l o v i n g the c h i l d as i f was my own. (MF, 60)  i s she p a r t i c u l a r l y masculine, or i n any  unusual.  other  way  In her e a r l y c h i l d h o o d a t l e a s t , Maggie has  h i g h s p i r i t s of any  c h i l d r e g a r d l e s s of sex.  the  Rather than  a "white k i t t e n " she i s more l i k e a "rough, dark overgrown puppy"(MF, 7 9 ) • and Mrs.  She  t h i n k s patchwork i s " f o o l i s h work"  i s not i n t e r e s t e d i n having T u l l i v e r these  f e m i n i n i t y nothing  her h a i r c u r l e d .  are i n d i c a t i o n s of a l a c k of  But  to  "normal"  s h o r t of catastrophe»  F o l k s ' u l l t h i n k i t ' s a judgment on me as I've got such a c h i l d - - t h e y ' 1 1 t h i n k I've done somet h i n g wicked. (MF, 42) She  and  standard  the other a d u l t s i n Maggie's world i n j u d g i n g even c h i l d h o o d  t u r a l " i n Tom  as a boy  use  behaviour.  a double What i s  "na-  i s r e p r e h e n s i b l e i n Maggie because  3^ she  i s a  girli " M a g g i e ' s t e n t i m e s n a u g h t i e r when t h e y [the aunts] come t h a n she i s o t h e r d a y s , a n d Tom d o e s n ' t l i k e 'em, b l e s s h i m — t h o u g h i t ' s more n a t ' r u l i n a boy than a g e l l . "  Even Maggie's  obvious  intelligence  i s suspecti  "An o ' e r ' c u t e woman's no b e t t e r n o r a l o n g t a i l e d s h e e p — s h e ' l l f e t c h none t h e b i g g e r p r i c e f o r t h a t . " (MF, 2 5 ) It  i s Tom,  t h e m a l e , who s h o u l d  have had t h e f a m i l y b r a i n s ,  "But y o u s e e when a man's g o t b r a i n s h i m s e l f , t h e r e ' s no k n o w i n g where t h e y ' l l r u n t o , a n ' a p l e a s a n t s o r t o' s o f t woman may go on b r e e d i n g you s t u p i d l a d s and 'cute wenches, t i l l i t ' s l i k e a s i f t h e w o r l d was t u r n e d t o p s y - t u r v y . It's an uncommon p u z z l i n ' t h i n g . " (MF, 3 3 ) Maggie would that  like  to please  she had L u c y ' s k i n d  h e r f a m i l y and o f t e n w i s h e s  of social  acceptability«  She was f o n d o f f a n c y i n g a w o r l d where t h e p e o p l e n e v e r g o t a n y l a r g e r t h a n c h i l d r e n o f t h e i r own age, a n d s h e made t h e q u e e n o f i t j u s t l i k e L u c y , w i t h a l i t t l e c r o w n on h e r h e a d and a l i t t l e s c e p t r e i n h e r h a n d . . . o n l y t h e q u e e n was M a g g i e h e r s e l f i n L u c y ' s f o r m . (MF, 79) But  there  the  life  i s another  p a r t o f h e r which longs  o f a h e l p l e s s , obedient,  unthinking  f o r more 'than female:  Maggie...was a c r e a t u r e f u l l o f e a g e r , p a s s i o a t e l o n g i n g s f o r a l l t h a t was b e a u t i f u l and g l a d , t h i r s t y f o r a l l knowledge, w i t h an e a r s t r a i n i n g a f t e r dreamy m u s i c t h a t d i e d away a n d w o u l d n o t come n e a r t o h e r , w i t h a b l i n d , unconscious y e a r n i n g f o r something t h a t would l i n k t o g e t h e r the wonderful impressions o f t h i s mysterious life and g i v e h e r s o u l a s e n s e o f home i n i t . (MF, 2 6 4 ) And  i ti s this  search of  t e n s i o n between s o c i a l  f o r personal identity  the conventional  Maggie's l i f e  outside  female r o l e  as i t u n f o l d s  acceptability the narrow  and a  boundaries  which i s the p a t t e r n o f  i n The M i l l  on t h e F l o s s .  35 These two nistic,  d e s i r e s are of course not i n h e r e n t l y  but i n Maggie's case they become so.  mother r e l e g a t e s her to second had a s t r o n g f e e l i n g , i t was and  Though her  p l a c e — " I f Mrs.  fondness  Tulliver  f o r her hoy"  the aunts w i l l always have to be reckonned  f a t h e r ' s l o v e and her s t r o n g attachment  antago-  (MF,  48)—  w i t h , her  to the M i l l  itself  c o u l d b r i n g her a good d e a l of s a t i s f a c t i o n even i n the more p a s s i v e feminine p a r t she would have t o p l a y t o p l e a s e them. But t h e r e i s another member o f the f a m i l y to be c o n s i d e r e d - Tom.  And  t o be accepted by Tom  means complete  submission t o h i s masculine w i l l . think f o r herself5  utter  Maggie must not a c t or  she must o n l y he_.  Maggie w i l l have w i t h Tom  and  The  only i d e n t i t y  i s what he wants her t o be,  You're always s e t t i n g y o u r s e l f up above me and everyone e l s e , and I've wanted t o t e l l you about i t s e v e r a l times. You ought not t o have spoken as you d i d t o my_ [my emphasis} u n c l e s and aunts — you should l e a v e i t t o me t o take care o f my mother and you and n o t put y o u r s e l f f o r w a r d . You t h i n k you know b e t t e r than anyone, but you're almost always wrong. I can judge much b e t t e r than you can. (MF, 263) Thus what might have been a r e a s o n a b l e o p t i o n f o r Maggie becomes an a c t o f extreme s u b m i s s i o n .  There i s no  mise as f a r as her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Tom Only by d e n y i n g her own  compro-  i s concerned.  i n d i v i d u a l i t y , by c a p i t u l a t i n g com*  p l e t e l y to Tom's male dominance, can Maggie g a i n h i s approval.  I f she wishes  common d e f i n i t i o n  t o express h e r s e l f a t a l l , o u t s i d e of the  of l a d y l i k e p e r f e c t i o n ,  d i r e c t c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h him. d e f y i n g the whole s o c i a l system.  And  she comes i n t o  d e f y i n g Tom  i s like  He i s the a u t h o r i t y  figure  36  i n her l i f e .  He i s always r i g h t , h i s a c t i o n s are always  approved? o f the two o f them i t i s c l e a r l y he, the male, who has  the power.  The s i t u a t i o n i s f u r t h e r complicated i n  t h a t there i s no one on Maggie's " s i d e " t o assure  her that  she i s n o t some k i n d o f monster, t h a t h e r d e s i r e f o r s e l f expression and  i s not unnatural.  i n d u l g e n t , b u t he s t i l l  Her f a t h e r may be a f f e c t i o n a t e knows what a woman's p l a c e i s .  Whenever Maggie a c t s out, however i n n o c u o u s l y ,  any f e e l i n g  of s a t i s f a c t i o n i s almost immediately r e p l a c e d by f e e l i n g s o f guilt.  She has not done something merely " m i s c h i e v i o u s j "  she has somehow a t t a c k e d  the r i g h t f u l order of the w o r l d .  I t i s from t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t we form our i n i t i a l of the n o v e l ' s  conflict.  sense  Maggie's r e b e l l i o n a g a i n s t Tom i s  not simply w i l f u l n e s s but a h e a l t h y e x p r e s s i o n  of s e l f .  E q u a l l y h e r compulsion t o c o n s t a n t l y seek h i s f o r g i v e n e s s i s a sign not of true h u m i l i t y but of n e u r o t i c  guilt.  In the v e r y l a s t paragraph o f the n o v e l , as Maggie and Tom go t o t h e i r deaths, E l i o t d e s c r i b e s how the two have f i n a l l y been r e u n i t e d i n the l o v e f o r each other which began  early i n t h e i r childhood.  previous  occasions  We have been t o l d  on many  i n the n o v e l o f t h i s deep b r o t h e r - s i s t e r  l o v e , b u t we never r e a l l y see i t demonstrated, a t l e a s t n o t from Tom.  He l o v e s Maggie only when he needs her« In h i s s e c r e t h e a r t he yearned to have Maggie w i t h him, and was almost ready to dote on h e r e x a s p e r a t i n g a c t s o f f o r g e t f u l n e s s , though, when he was a t home, he always r e p r e s e n t e d i t as a g r e a t f a v o u r on h i s p a r t t o l e t Maggie t r o t by h i s s i d e on h i s p l e a s u r e e x c u r s i o n s . ( M F , 1 6 9 )  37 And  a s f o r Maggie i t seems a s i f t h e r e  love  f o r Tom t h a n  pure  i s more f e a r i n h e r  affection,  M a g g i e saw a c l o u d on h i s brow when he came home w h i c h c h e c k e d h e r j o y a t h i s c o m i n g .so much s o o n e r t h a n s h e had e x p e c t e d , and she d a r e d h a r d l y s p e a k t o h i m a s he s t o o d s i l e n t l y throwing t h e s m a l l g r a v e l - s t o n e s i n t o t h e m i l l - d a m . (MF, 70) This  i s n o t t o deny t h e v a l i d i t y  first and  or importance  s t r o n g a t t a c h m e n t s we make, e s p e c i a l l y  sister,  which E l i o t  o f those  between  a l w a y s f e l t were s o  brother  meaningful:  T h a t p i c - n i c o f t h e y o u n g ones t o S t r a t h t y r u m was v e r y p r e t t y , and a good enough s u b j e c t f o r a poem. I hope t h a t t h e b r o t h e r and s i s t e r l o v e e a c h o t h e r v e r y d e a r l y : l i f e m i g h t be so e n r i c h e d i f t h a t r e l a t i o n were made t h e most o f , a s one of t h e h i g h e s t forms o f f r i e n d s h i p . A good w h i l e a g o I made a poem, i n t h e f o r m o f e l e v e n s o n n e t s a f t e r t h e S h a k s p e a r e t y p e , on t h e c h i l d h o o d o f a b r o t h e r and s i s t e r — l i t t l e d e s c r i p t i v e b i t s on t h e m u t u a l i n f l u e n c e s i n t h e i r s m a l l l i v e s . T h i s was a l w a y s one o f my b e s t l o v e d s u b j e c t s . 13 However,  one c a n n o t h e l p h u t q u e s t i o n  Tom's c a s e ,  we a r e r e a l l y  sequently  how n e c e s s a r y  ciliation  with  of  The M i l l  dependent final the  feel  l o v e , and c o n -  t h a t Maggie's The l a s t  that the l a t t e r  with  Maggie i s s u d d e n l y  o f h e r need  Maggie's  f o r independence  of the novel.  In going  a c c e p t i n g a l l the r e s t r i c t i o n s s o l o n g and h a r d  the l a s t  given from  t o Tom, on f e m a l e  to r e s i s t .  and f e a r , n o t l o v e , w h i c h one f e e l s  f o r c e behind  scenes  Tom i s f o r a l l t h e w r o n g r e a s o n s ,  t h a t she has f o u g h t  i s guilt  recon-  i s utterly  on t h e f o r m e r , b u t I want t o show t h a t  strong impressions  ving  of t h i s  Tom i s t o h e r s a l v a t i o n .  Tom c r e a t e d b y t h e r e s t  It  then  seem t o be s a y i n g  reunion  behaviour  we  convinced  how much, i n Maggie a n d  a c t i o n s of the n o v e l .  i s t h e mo-  38 (iv) That i n Tom  Maggie has  to cope not only w i t h  the  i n s e n s i t i v i t y of a b r o t h e r but w i t h the c r u e l t i e s of the p a t r i a r c h a l system, i s c l e a r from the s t o r y of t h e i r hood.  When Maggie f o r g e t s to feed h i s r a b b i t s , Tom  on her w i t h t o t a l l y unnecessary  childturns  venomi  Tom stopped immediately i n h i s walk and turned towards Maggie. "You f o r g o t t o f e e d 'em, then, and K a r r y f o r g o t ? " he s a i d , h i s c o l o u r h e i g h t e n i n g f o r a moment, but soon s u b s i d i n g . " I ' l l p i t c h i n t o H a r r y — I ' l l have him turned away. And I don't l o v e you, Maggie. You shan't go f i s h i n g w i t h me tomorrow. I t o l d you to go and see the r a b b i t s every d a y . " y o u ' r e a naughty g i r l , " s a i d Tom s e v e r e l y , "and I'm s o r r y I bought you the fish-line. I don't l o v e you." " 0 , Tom, i t ' s v e r y c r u e l , " sobbed Maggie. "I'd f o r g i v e you i f YOU f o r g o t a n y t h i n g — I wouldn't mind what you d i d — I ' d f o r g i v e you and l o v e you." "Yes, you're s i l l y — b u t I never DO f o r g e t . t h i n g s — I don't." (MF, 51) Even over the s i l l y  i n c i d e n t of the a p r i c o t p a s t r y  punishes Maggie f o r her v i c t o r y i n a f a i r c o n t e s t . to  Tom  a girl's  o n l y v a l u e i s to c o n f i r m h i s own  Tom According  sense  of  power« Tom condescended t o admire her Lucy's houses as w e l l as h i s own, the more r e a d i l y because she had asked him t o teach h e r . (MF, 106) Maggie must l e a r n t o a c c e p t her secondary  statust  Tom, indeed, was of the o p i n i o n t h a t Maggie was a s i l l y l i t t l e t h i n g ; a l l g i r l s were s i l l y — t h e y c o u l d n ' t throw a stone so as t o h i t a n y t h i n g , c o u l d n ' t do a n y t h i n g w i t h a p o c k e t - k n i f e , and were f r i g h t e n e d a t f r o g s . S t i l l he was very fond of h i s s i s t e r and meant always to take care of her, make her h i s housekeeper, and punish her when she d i d wrong. (MF, 56) Tom's e x p e r i e n c e , however, i s not a l l e f f o r t l e s s s u p e r i o -  39 rity.  Eliot  does something  v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g w i t h Tom;  she  p u t s him i n t h e " f e m a l e " p o s i t i o n  and l e t s  Maggie's knowledge  The p r e s s u r e s o f s c h o o l  life,  o f the world.  where Tom i s no l o n g e r m a s t e r  ferior  one a t t h a t ) . , . r e d u c e  much t h a t  him h a v e some o f  but student  h i s usual s e l f  (and an i n -  c o n f i d e n c e so  he became more l i k e a g i r l t h a n he had e v e r b e e n i n his l i f e before. He h a d a l a r g e s h a r e o f p r i d e w h i c h had h i t h e r t o f o u n d i t s e l f v e r y c o m f o r t a b l e i n t h e w o r l d , d e s p i s i n g O l d G o g g l e s and r e p o s i n g i n t h e s e n s e o f u n q u e s t i o n e d r i g h t s , o u t now t h i s same p r i d e met w i t h n o t h i n g b u t b r u i s e s a n d c r u s h e s . (MF, 1 6 5 )  The be  a u t h o r ' s g e n t l e mocking tone a good  sense  that  this  might  t h i n g f o r Tom and one c a n o n l y a g r e e  that  some  o f a woman's g e n e r a l s e n s e  p e r some o f h i s m a s c u l i n e  suggests  of i n f e r i o r i t y  might  tem-  a g g r e s s i v e n e s s and i n c r e a s e h i s i  tolerance  f o r Maggie's need  t o express  herself,  h i s p r i d e g o t i n t o an uneasy c o n d i t i o n w h i c h q u i t e n u l l i f i e d h i s b o y i s h s e l f - s a t i s f a c t i o n and gave h i m s o m e t h i n g o f t h e g i r l ' s s u s c e p t i b i l i t y . . . Tom, a s I s a i d , h a d n e v e r b e e n s o much l i k e a g i r l i n h i s l i f e b e f o r e . (MF, 166) Unfortunately, is  an u n p l e a s a n t e p i s o d e  life. to  Tom j u s t  In fact,  re-assert  Tom's  suffers:  he d o e s n o t l e a r n  f o r him i s the s t o r y  "feminine" experience  h i s mastery  over  "You h e l p me, Tom i n s u c h h i g h he q u i t e e n j o y e d by s h o w i n g h e r a to see y o u d o i n g L a t i n t o o J. Girls too s i l l y . " (MF,  that  what"  o f Maggie's ,  o n l y d r i v e s him  Maggie,  you s i l l y l i t t l e thing.'" s a i d s p i r i t s a t t h i s announcement t h a t t h e i d e a o f c o n f o u n d i n g Maggie page o f E u c l i d . "I s h o u l d l i k e one o f my_ l e s s o n s ! Why, I l e a r n never l e a r n such t h i n g s . They're 169)  B e c a u s e Tom's d o m i n a t i o n  i s so s e v e r e l y  limiting  to this  40 ebullient  little  above, n o t healthy. the  girl  t o see h e r r e b e l l i o n But whether E l i o t  most p a r t E l i o t  gie,  i t is difficult,  as I have  as b o t h n e c e s s a r y  seems t o be  note  affection.  of c r i t i c i s m  and  does i s a n o t h e r q u e s t i o n . clearly  sympathetic  r e c o u n t i n g her v a r i o u s misadventures  w i t h warmth and  suggested  and  For  .  t o Mag-  frustrations  Y e t a t t h e same t i m e  a muted  o f t e n c r e e p s i n s u g g e s t i n g t h a t much i n  Maggie's b e h a v i o u r i s s e l f i s h  or  egoistic,  M a g g i e s o o n t h o u g h t she had b e e n h o u r s i n t h e a t t i c and i t must be t e a - t i m e , and t h e y were a l l h a v i n g t h e i r t e a and n o t t h i n k i n g o f h e r . Well, t h e n , she w o u l d s t a y up t h e r e and s t a r v e h e r s e l f — h i d e h e r s e l f b e h i n d t h e t u b , and s t a y t h e r e a l l n i g h t , and t h e n t h e y w o u l d a l l be f r i g h t e n e d , and Tom w o u l d be s o r r y . Thus M a g g i e t h o u g h t i n t h e p r i d e of her heart...(MF, 53) M a g g i e f e l t an u n e x p e c t e d p a n g . She had t h o u g h t b e f o r e h a n d c h i e f l y o f h e r own d e l i v e r a n c e f r o m h e r t e a s i n g h a i r and t e a s i n g r e m a r k s a b o u t i t , and s o m e t h i n g a l s o o f t h e t r i u m p h she s h o u l d h a v e o v e r h e r m o t h e r and a u n t s b y t h i s v e r y d e c i d e d course of a c t i o n : she d i d n ' t want h e r h a i r t o l o o k p r e t t y — t h a t was out o f t h e q u e s t i o n — s h e o n l y wanted p e o p l e t o t h i n k h e r a c l e v e r l i t t l e " g i r l . (MF, 83) j  Maggie...prepared h e r s e l f t o prove her c a p a b i l i t y o f h e l p i n g him i n E u c l i d . She b e g a n t o r e a d w i t h f u l l c o n f i d e n c e i n h e r own powers, b u t p r e s e n t l y , , becoming q u i t e b e w i l d e r e d , her face f l u s h e d w i t h irritation. I t was u n a v o i d a b l e — s h e must c o n f e s s h e r i n c o m p e t e n c y , and she was n o t f o n d o f h u m i l i a t i o n . (MF, 172) Certainly has  on a t h e o r e t i c a l  a point.  is  not r e a l  one  must a d m i t  Though Maggie n e v e r d i s p l a y s  t h a t marks Tom's r e s p o n s e frustration,  level  t o t h e same p r o b l e m  too o f t e n Maggie's or honest.  the  She  that  cruelty of "feminine"  s e a r c h f o r "something  a c t s i n resentment  Eliot  or  more"  frustration,  i  41 not only g a i n i n g n o t h i n g o t h e r s i n the b a r g a i n .  f o r h e r s e l f b u t sometimes h u r t i n g One can and does sympathize  entirely  w i t h her resentment of Lucy who "always d i d v/hat she was d e s i r e d t o do" (MF, 1 1 3 ) w i t h (MF,  "not a h a i r out o * p l a c e "  2 6 ) and who was h e l d up t o Maggie as a model of u l t r a -  f e m i n i n i t y ; but pushing Lucy i n t o the mud has o n l y r e s u l t s f o r both o f them.  E q u a l l y , though Maggie  negative experiences  "a sense o f c l e a r n e s s and freedom, as i f she had emerged from a wood i n t o the open p l a i n " (MF, 82)  when she chops o f f  her bothersome h a i r , t h a t f e e l i n g o f power i s s h o r t - l i v e d in  the f a c e o f the "chorus o f reproach  from h e r mother and aunts.  and d e r i s i o n " (MF, 8 7 )  And f i n a l l y ,  her d o l l f e t i s h i s l i k e c h i l d h o o d  hammering n a i l s i n t o  temper tantrums, h a r d l y a  p o s i t i v e way o f d e c l a r i n g one's i n d i v i d u a l Accusations But  identity.  o f w i l f u l n e s s and p r i d e a r e then t r u e enough.  t o put i t b l u n t l y , c o n s i d e r i n g what e l s e we know about  Maggie, do we r e a l l y c a r e ?  I n Dorothea's case (as the next  chapter w i l l p o i n t o u t ) the s i t u a t i o n i s a l i t t l e  different'.  Although we a r e c l o s e t o her, we a r e a l s o i n v o l v e d w i t h the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s i n her l i f e  (we sympathize w i t h Casaubon i n  a way t h a t i s never p o s s i b l e w i t h Tom) and so c l e a r l y understand how dangerous h e r egoism can be.  But w i t h The M i l l on  the F l o s s , even though E l i o t s a i d t h a t "Tom i s p a i n t e d  with  14 as much l o v e and p i t y as Maggie,"  i t i s Maggie's n o v e l . And  what we come t o value most about Maggie i s h e r involvement in  a k i n d o f a r c h e t y p a l b a t t l e a g a i n s t the s t r i c t u r e s and  r e p r e s s i o n o f a woman's l i f e  under a p a t r i a r c h a l system.  42 When she  r e s i s t s the p r e s s u r e s  c e r t a i n image simply t o be  or do,  we  are  her a c t i o n s are impulse i s not  put  on her to conform to a  because t h a t i s what a woman i s supposed e n t i r e l y i n sympathy w i t h her.  sometimes e g o i s t i c or s e l f i s h , to c r i t i c i z e but  t h a t shape her l i f e  to understand.  r e j e c t i o n from her aunts, her mother and of s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e and  sensitivity.  She  reader's  The  conditions  as a young g i r l l e a d her o f t e n to l a s h  out b l i n d l y r a t h e r than to a c t c o n s t r u c t i v e l y .  her  the  Thus i f  often leads  The  continual  e s p e c i a l l y Tom  to i r r a t i o n a l  i s also h e l p l e s s l y ignorant.  Her  robs  overfamily  does not f e e l i t i s n e c e s s a r y to educate a mere g i r l s "And a l l a y s a t her book: But i t ' s bad," Mr. T u l l i v e r added, s a d l y , c h e c k i n g t h i s blameable e x u l t a t i o n , "a woman's no b u s i n e s s wi• b e i n g so c l e v e r j i t ' l l t u r n t o t r o u b l e , I doubt. (MF, 31) And  Maggie's own  unguided attempts to educate h e r s e l f  only  i n c r e a s e her d i s a b i l i t i e s » . . . i n t r a v e l l i n g over her s m a l l mind you would have found the most unexpected ignorance as, w e l l as unexpected knowledge...her thoughts g e n e r a l l y were the oddest mixture of c l e a r - e y e d acumen and b l i n d dreams. (MF, 135) The  education  provided  f o r boys was  Maggie does not have any  Even i f we  on what her p o s i t i o n as a f e -  know t h a t her r e b e l l i o n i s doomed  ( c o n s i d e r i n g her ignorance and  the impenetrable b r i c k w a l l  of p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s w i t h which she we  are  still  but  i n t e l l e c t u a l s t i m u l a t i o n which might  h e l p her get some p e r s p e c t i v e male means.  hardly enlightening  continually collides)  more concerned w i t h the s t r u g g l e i t s e l f  the egoism or s e l f i s h n e s s t h a t i t may  cause.  than  43 (v) To and is  say  t h a t we  are not  bothered by Maggie's egoism,  thus t h a t the l a s t c h a p t e r r e s o l v e s obviously  the wrong problem,  to make a v e r y sweeping statement about a l l  those i n c i d e n t s i n The  M i l l on  I t may  childhood  the n o v e l i n terms of a c o n f l i c t between  see  the p o w e r f u l f o r c e s  true  t h a t i n the  not  yet considered. we  be  the F l o s s which I have  of p a t r i a r c h y and  s t o r y of Maggie's  the r i g h t s of a woman  t o the development o f her  f u l l p o t e n t i a l , but  n e c e s s a r y to show t h a t we  c o n t i n u e t o be  and  judge Maggie's a c t i o n i n t h i s way  and  faces  dilemmas more s e r i o u s  wants her h a i r c u r l e d . t h a t she  i t is  l e d to i n t e r p r e t  as she  becomes  introduced  than whether or not  What i s the meaning of the  Stephen Guest?  i n the  Are  she choices  there c o m p l i c a t i n g  j u s t i f y and Mr.  make more probable the  T u l l i v e r ' s f a i l u r e a t law  Maggie and  Tom's c h i l d h o o d .  been r e v e r s e d .  The  The  and  or had  u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the  no  Tom.  so  novel?  marks the  of both  end  helpless  children  and  a d u l t r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of  f a t h e r was  tween her  and  ending of the  For Maggie there i s one  they were c h i l d r e n her  dif-  f a m i l y r o l e s have suddenly  p a r e n t s are now  Maggie must take on the  the household.  factors  second h a l f which might l e a d us t o a  f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Maggie's c o n f l i c t w i t h Tom  and  older  must make i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h P h i l i p Wakem,  Lucy Deane and  Tom  still  added f a c t o r .  something of a b u f f e r  When be-  I f her b r o t h e r d e s p i s e d her i n t e l l i g e n c e f r u s t r a t i o n s that  resulted  44 from many of her misadventures, and s e c u r i t y w i t h her f a t h e r .  she c o u l d s t i l l  find  affection  But w i t h him rendered  practi-  c a l l y i n f a n t i l e by a s e r i o u s s t r o k e , she i s l e f t alone w i t h Tom.  I t i s a c r u c i a l point i n their relationship.  He  can  e i t h e r a c c e p t her as an equal, i n which case they might work t o g e t h e r t o r e s t o r e both the f a m i l y name and f o r t u n e , or he can a g a i n i n s i s t  on h i s masculine s u p e r i o r i t y and thus b r i n g  i n t o t h e i r a d u l t l i v e s the same c o n f l i c t t h a t marked  their  childhood. The c h o i c e Tom  makes i s c l e a r from h i s r e a c t i o n t o  Maggie's behaviour a t the f i r s t family/ c o u n c i l h e l d Mr. T u l l i v e r ' s bankruptcy.  after  He w i l l make a l l the d e c i s i o n ;  he alone w i l l bear the burden  of the f a m i l y ' s m i s f o r t u n e s .  Maggie i s t o f i n d s a t i s f a c t i o n i n s i t t i n g w i t h her mother and e a r n i n g what she can through p l a i n sewing. male/female  I t i s the o l d  s t o r y a g a i n , and E l i o t shows her u n d e r s t a n d i n g  o f and sympathy w i t h Maggie's p o s i t i o n of f r u s t r a t i n g  inac-  tivity; So i t has been s i n c e . t h e days o f Hecuba and of Hector, Tamer of h o r s e s ; i n s i d e the g a t e s , the women w i t h streaming h a i r and u p l i f t e d hands of:-., f e r i n g p r a y e r s , watching the world's combat from a f a r , f i l l i n g t h e i r l o n g empty days w i t h memories and f e a r s ; o u t s i d e , the men, i n f i e r c e s t r u g g l e w i t h t h i n g s d i v i n e and human, quenching memory i n the s t r o n g e r l i g h t of purpose, l o s i n g the sense of dread and even of wounds i n the h u r r y i n g ardour of a c t i o n . (MF, 3^2) Maggie's n a t u r a l energy, her d e s i r e to do something  has  i t s o n l y o u t l e t rage a t her aunts and u n c l e s — w h i c h  of  course Tom  sees o n l y as another example of h i s s i s t e r ' s  as  45 w i l f u l n e s s and d e s i r e to undermine h i s a b s o l u t e a u t h o r i t y . Even her f a c e t i o u s s u g g e s t i o n t h a t , i f she c o u l d , she might teach Tom  bookkeeping i s sneered  daresay.  That's always the tone you t a k e , " s a i d Tom''  263).  teachJ Yes,  Tom's a d m i t t e d l y d i f f i c u l t s i t u a t i o n as the  "head o f the f a m i l y " l e a d s him hood mastery over Maggie. all  a t , "You  over a g a i n .  Tom  I (MF,  new  only to r e a s s e r t h i s c h i l d -  I t i s the schoolroom  f e e l s h e l p l e s s and  situation  insecure.  of t u r n i n g to Maggie f o r h e l p or even emotional  Instead  support  r e a f f i r m s h i s sense of s e l f by t r a n s f e r r i n g h i s own  he  feelings  of inadequacy t o hers Poor Tom! He had j u s t come from b e i n g l e c t u r e d and made t o f e e l h i s i n f e r i o r i t y : the r e a c t i o n of h i s s t r o n g , s e l f - a s s e r t i n g nature must take p l a c e somehow, and here was a case i n which he c o u l d j u s t l y show h i m s e l f dominant. Maggie's cheek f l u s h e d and her l i p q u i v e r e d w i t h c o n f l i c t i n g resentment and a f f e c t i o n . (MF, 263) Maggie's t u r n i n g t o r e l i g i o u s r e n u n c i a t i o n s h o r t l y a f t e r t h i s i n c i d e n t i s not v e r y s u r p r i s i n g g i v e n her On the one hand i t i s a way  f o r her to appease Tom  n i s h i n g h e r s e l f but i t can a l s o be seen as another of her independence.  A l l outward a c t i o n has been  f r u s t r a t e d by her own  ignroance  improper to her womanly p l a c e .  by  history. pu-  expression completely  or r e j e c t e d by o t h e r s  as  In r e l i g i o u s f e r v o u r Maggie,  l i k e many other f r u s t r a t e d young women (and l i k e  Dorothea  i n Middlemarch) f i n d s some i d e n t i t y f o r h e r s e l f .  Giving  up e v e r y t h i n g a t l e a s t makes her somebody, marks her as a s p e c i a l person. E l i o t finds  However, i t i s t h i s v e r y s e l f - i n t e r e s t which  distressing:  46 She t h r e w some e x a g g e r a t i o n and w i l f u l n e s s , some p r i d e and i m p e t u o u s i t y e v e n i n t o h e r s e l f r e n u n c i a t i o n : h e r own l i f e was s t i l l a drama f o r h e r i n w h i c h s h e demanded o f h e r s e l f t h a t h e r p a r t s h o u l d be p l a y e d w i t h i n t e n s i t y . And so i t came t o pass t h a t she o f t e n l o s t t h e s p i r i t o f h u m i l i t y by b e i n g e x c e s s i v e i n t h e o u t w a r d a c t . (MF, 3 2 5 ) But  I would  suggest  t h a t what E l i o t  i n t e n s i t y w h i c h she c r i t i c i z e s — i s  calls  i n t r u t h the f a c t o r which  makes M a g g i e ' s r e l i g i o u s p h a s e b e a r a b l e This  last  explanation "The  to the reader.  s t a t e m e n t most c e r t a i n l y r e q u i r e s  and I t h i n k  Bernard  J . Paris' recent  I n n e r C o n f l i c t s o f Maggie T u l l i v e r :  may p r o v e u s e f u l . Experiments i n L i f e . novel  Here P a r i s  because  further article,  A Horneyan  how,  t h a t p o s i t i o n and f o u n d i s a distinction  Analysis"  i n h i s book  t o show t h a t  t h e end o f t h e  " i n terms o f the n o v e l ' s  o f m o t i v e s " i t d i d a d e q u a t e l y answer t h e  which Maggie's e x p e r i e n c e  there  explains  he h a d t r i e d  was a p p r o p r i a t e  analysis  a fault—the  raised.  questions  B u t he h a s s i n c e  i tinadequate.  own  He now f e e l s  reviewed that  t o be made b e t w e e n how we a r e s u p p o s e d  t o i n t e r p r e t M a g g i e ' s a c t i o n a n d how we a c t u a l l y do u n d e r s t a n d her  pattern  of behaviour:  George E l i o t ' s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f Maggie i s b r i l l i a n t ; and, g i v e n b r i l l i a n t c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , we must s a y t h a t , i n one s e n s e , t h e a u t h o r has. understood, the c h a r a c t e r p e r f e c t l y . George.Eliot*s i n t u i t i v e g r a s p and m i m e t i c p r e s e n t a t i o n o f M a g g i e ' s p s y c h o l o g y a r e f l a w l e s s ; h e r a t t i t u d e s , v a l u e s and analyses are considerably l e s s trustworthy.15 There i s o f t e n a d i s p a r i t y between t h e n o v e l ' s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f M a g g i e and t h e n o v e l ' s i n t e r p r e t a i o n o f Maggie. I n t h e p a s t I have b e e n s o b u s y showing Maggie's f u n c t i o n i n the n o v e l ' s o v e r a l l t h e m a t i c s t r u c t u r e t h a t I have f a i l e d t o s e e how much o f Maggie e s c a p e s s u c h a n a l y s i s , how l i t t l e she c a n be u n d e r s t o o d a s a c h a r a c t e r i n t h i s way. In order t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e c h a r a c t e r t h a t George  47 E l i o t has a c t u a l l y presented ( r a t h e r than the one she t h i n k s she has presented) i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o employ n o t thematic, but p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s . - " 1  I  disagree  with P a r i s ' p a r t i c u l a r "psychological a n a l y s i s "  of Maggie (he s t i l l  t a l k s about h e r i n terms o f  "unnatural"  female a g g r e s s i v e n e s s ) b u t h i s p o i n t about the c h a r a c t e r George E l i o t one  " t h i n k s " she i s p r e s e n t i n g ,  she does, i s v i t a l l y The  first  that  i n c o n t r a s t t o the  important.  p l a c e where the c o n t r a d i c t i o n he d e s c r i b e s  becomes a problem i s i n t h i s p e r i o d  o f Maggie's  "renunciation."  U n t i l now the n o v e l seems t o be c l e a r l y a c o n f l i c t between Maggie's courageous d e s i r e f o r s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n r e f u s a l o f a p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y (represented t h a t freedom t o a female.  and the  by Tom) t o a l l o w  But when E l i o t c r i t i c i z e s the s e l -  f i s h n e s s of her r e n u n c i a t i o n  (which o f course i m p l i e s t h a t she  would approve o f s e l f l e s s r e n u n c i a t i o n )  she seems t o be i n -  v o k i n g an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t s e t o f v a l u e s .  Suddenly i t seems  Maggie i s the " s i n n e r , " that i t i s her^own egoism, and n o t at  v  a l l Tom's c r u e l t y , which i s the cause o f h e r m i s e r y . I t f l a s h e d through h e r l i k e the suddenly apprehended s o l u t i o n o f a problem t h a t a l l the m i s e r i e s o f h e r young l i f e had come from f i x i n g h e r h e a r t on h e r own p l e a s u r e , as i f t h a t were the c e n t r a l n e c e s s i t y o f her u n i v e r s e , and f o r the f i r s t time she saw the p o s s i b i l i t y o f s h i f t i n g the p o s i t i o n from which she looked a t the g r a t i f i c a t i o n of h e r own d e s i r e s — of t a k i n g h e r stand out o f h e r s e l f and l o o k i n g a t her own l i f e as an i n s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t o f a d i v i n e l y guided whole. (MF, 323)  Statements such as the above, o f which there a r e s e v e r a l i n t h i s p a r t o f the n o v e l , a r e v e r y c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n s o f how E l i o t i n t e r p r e t s Maggie's s i t u a t i o n and where she t h i n k s  48 her  salva.tion l i e s .  But I would suggest t h a t we  passages v e r y d i f f e r e n t l y . have had  up  these  sense of the n o v e l  we  to t h i s p o i n t , Maggie's d e s i r e to renounce a l l  wordly p l e a s u r e at  Given the  read  sounds l i k e an e x p r e s s i o n  having d e f i e d the a u t h o r i t y of Tom.  backwards from the end  of n e u r o t i c  I f one were  o f the n o v e l her  guilt  reading  self-condemnation  would make a t l e a s t some thematic sense.  But  as her  story  has  been r e l a t e d so f a r , one  cannot h e l p t h i n k i n g t h a t were  she  to a c h i e v e t h a t u l t i m a t e  s t a t e of s e l f l e s s n e s s , where  she  perceived  her  own  life  as  "an i n s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t of a  d i v i n e l y guided whole," i t would not he a g a i n i n g of harmony but r a t h e r a c a p i t u l a t i o n to the p a s s i v e r o l e t h a t Tom  i n s i s t s she p l a y .  That i s why  feminine  I say we  the s e l f i s h element o f her r e l i g i o u s f e r v o u r as positive.  inner  perceive  something  I t means t h a t her d e s i r e f o r some i n d i v i d u a l  i d e n t i t y i s not y e t dead.  I t i s the f i r s t  in  f e e l Maggie's egoism i s more .;•  her a d u l t l i f e where we  of those s i t u a t i o n s  p r a i s e w o r t h y than blameable. It  i s to the problems presented by t h i s i n c i d e n t of  Maggie's r e l i g i o u s c o n v e r s i o n t o understand E l i o t ' s c h o i c e  t h a t we  o n l y episode u n t i l the  M i l l t h a t does p r e s e n t  interpretation.  We  P h i l i p , Lucy and  Stephen, and  of her c h i l d h o o d ,  are now  any  The  last  s e r i o u s problems of  approaching the s i t u a t i o n s w i t h l i k e t h a t of the  the meaning of these i s v e r y  are back to a w e l l - d e f i n e d  order  of the n o v e l ' s c o n c l u s i o n .  p o i n t here i s that t h i s i s the book of The  w i l l return i n  earlier  events  clear.  We  c o n f l i c t between Maggie and  Tom,  49 back to a s t r u g g l e between the most elementary i s s u e s feminism and  of  the p r a c t i c e s of a p a t r i a r c h a l system. (vi)  Maggie's "Romola phase" does not l a s t v e r y P h i l i p Wakem's r e - e n t r a n c e i n the n o v e l her r e l i g i o u s r e n u n c i a t i o n  provides  l o n g because  a t the h e i g h t  another, more  of  appealing  o u t l e t f o r the d e s i r e f o r s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n which i s a l i v e i n Maggie.  Thus we  can view her d e c i s i o n to meet s e -  c r e t l y w i t h P h i l i p i n the Red  Deeps not as simple w i l f u l n e s s  but as an attempt, though again a f u t i l e somehow an i d e n t i t y f o r h e r s e l f o u t s i d e types of s a i n t or domestic drudge. has  still  a g r e a t d e a l to o f f e r her.  one,  to e s t a b l i s h  the female  On the  one  stereo-  hand,  Philip  Though from the n o v e l ' s des-  c r i p t i o n of p r o v i n c i a l e d u c a t i o n  we  may  suspect  l e a r n i n g i s n e i t h e r broad nor deep, he can  still  that h i s g i v e Maggie  "books, converse, a f f e c t i o n — s h e might hear t i d i n g s of world from which her mind had (MF,  360).  And  not y e t l o s t i t s sense of  the b r o t h e r l y l o v e which Tom  "What happiness have I ever had  (MF,  372).  worlds  a little  girl—the  At l e a s t temporarily  refuses,  so g r e a t as b e i n g w i t h days Tom  was  good to  Maggie can b r i n g her  you—  me" two  together.  However, i t i s c l e a r t h a t the escape to the Red is  exile"  what i s more, from Maggie's p o i n t o f view  P h i l i p can g i v e her  s i n c e I was  the  not a r e a l one;  even f o r g e t t i n g f o r a moment the  w i t h her f a m i l y t h a t i t must n e c e s s i t a t e ,  Deeps conflict  this relationship  50 with P h i l i p o f f e r s her very l i t t l e  t r u e freedom and w i l l  only,  l i k e h e r o t h e r adventures i n s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n f r u s t r a t e h e r even more.  Her a t t i t u d e t o P h i l i p i s as romantic as h e r  f a n c i f u l dream t h a t  "she  Scott, perhaps—and t e l l was, She  would go t o some g r e a t  him how wretched and how c l e v e r she  and he would s u r e l y do something f o r h e r " immediately p l a c e s  mentorJ  man—Walter  (MF,  320),  P h i l i p above h e r s e l f i n the p o s i t i o n o f  "And you would teach me e v e r y t h i n g — w o u l d n ' t you?  Greek and e v e r y t h i n g ? "  (MF, 2 1 2 ) .  "Your mind i s a s o r t o f -  w o r l d t o me« you can t e l l me a l l I want t o know" (MF, 3 7 2 — a f o r e t a s t e here o f Dorothea, E s t h e r Lyon, Gwendolen). P h i l i p ' s response f a l l s i n t o t h e same p a t t e r n . meetings mean f a r more than simple,  And  F o r him,  good companionship.  their While  Maggie e a r n e s t l y t a l k s o f a e s t h e t i c s , r e l i g i o n , n o v e l s and p a i n t i n g , P h i l i p searches h e r f a c e f o r s i g n s o f l o v e .  In her  emotional and i n t e l l e c t u a l d e p r i v a t i o n he sees an advantage for  himself. ...he c l u t c h e d p a s s i o n a t e l y the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t she might l o v e him: perhaps the f e e l i n g would grow i f she c o u l d come t o a s s o c i a t e him w i t h t h a t watchf u l tenderness which h e r n a t u r e would he so k e e n l y alive to. I f any woman c o u l d l o v e him, s u r e l y Maggie was t h a t woman: there was such a w e a l t h of l o v e i n her, and there was no one t o c l a i m i t all. T h e n — t h e p i t y o f i t , t h a t a mind l i k e hers should be w i t h e r i n g i n i t s v e r y youth, l i k e a young f o r e s t t r e e , f o r want o f the l i g h t and space i t was formed t o f l o u r i s h i n ! (MF, 241) In an odd sense, Maggie and P h i l i p a r e t o o s i m i l a r f o r  e i t h e r o f them t o be o f much r e a l h e l p both caught up i n the "feminine"  t o the o t h e r .  They a r e  predicament o f r e j e c t i o n :  51 "I'm f i t t o speak to something b e t t e r than you-you poor s p r i t i e d imp!" s a i d Tom, l i g h t i n g up immediately a t P h i l i p ' s f i r e . "You know I won't h i t you because you're no b e t t e r than a g i r l . But I'm an honest man's son and your f a t h e r ' s a r o g u e — everybody says so! (MF, 201) Consequently, l i k e Maggie, P h i l i p s u f f e r s from a "womanish" over-sensitivity. The s l i g h t s p u r t of p e e v i s h s u s c e p t i b i l i t y which had escaped him i n t h e i r f i r s t i n t e r v i e w was a symptom o f a p e r p e t u a l l y r e c u r r i n g mental a i l m e n t — h a l f o f i t nervous i r r i t a b i l i t y , h a l f o f i t the h e a r t - b i t t e r n e s s produced by the sense o f h i s deformity. I n these f i t s o f s u s c e p t i b i l i t y every g l a n c e seemed t o him t o be charged e i t h e r w i t h o f f e n s i v e p i t y o r w i t h i l l - r e p r e s s e d d i s g u s t — a t the v e r y l e a s t i t was an i n d i f f e r e n t g l a n c e , and P h i l i p f e l t i n d i f f e r e n c e as a c h i l d o f the s o u t h f e e l s the c h i l l a i r of a northern spring. (MF, 194) F a r from p r o v i d i n g an escape f o r her, isolation.  P h i l i p increases  He i s n o t l e a d i n g h e r toward a n y t h i n g .  wants t o make h e r an a l i e n , l i k e  He merely  himself.  Maggie's s i t u a t i o n a t t h i s p o i n t i s o f c o u r s e c a t e d by a more e a s i l y r e c o g n i z a b l e Philip,  Maggie's  moral dilemma.  compliI n meeting  the son o f the man on whom h e r f a t h e r has sworn r e -  venge, she w i l l b r i n g v e r y r e a l d i s t r e s s t o h e r f a m i l y — "cause new misery t o those who had the primary n a t u r a l on h e r "  claim  (MF, 365). The a t t r a c t i o n of h e r f a t h e r ' s l o v e and  her domestic t i e s are v e r y s t r o n g and u n d e r s t a n d a b l e . c h o i c e were simply  I f the  between h e r f a t h e r ' s a f f e c t i o n and h e r  r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h P h i l i p we might c l e a r l y say t h a t Maggie made the wrong c h o i c e ,  f o r as I have shown, h e r a f t e r n o o n s i n  the Red Deeps w i l l n o t b r i n g h e r c l o s e to the k i n d she  o f freedom  s e e k s — n o c l o s e r than, f o r instance, d i d h e r c h i l d h o o d  52  adventure w i t h the g y p s i e s .  Yet i n the shadows o f her a f f e c -  t i o n f o r h e r f a t h e r (and as we s h a l l see l a t e r i n h e r t i e s t o Lucy and P h i l i p ) ' l u r k s * the presence of Tom, who has " h i s t e r r r i b l e c l u t c h on her c o n s c i e n c e and h e r deepest d r e a d " (MF,  380)•  Choosing Tom over P h i l i p may mean the r e c o g n i t i o n  from him t h a t she has always wanted, but i t a l s o means comp l e t e submission t o h i s masculine a u t h o r i t y and r e s i g n a t i o n ^ t o the f e m i n i n e r o l e t h a t Tom f i n d s a c c e p t a b l e .  As Tom puts  i t i n a l a t e r i n t e r v i e w when Maggie asks p e r m i s s i o n  t o see  P h i l i p a t Lucy Deane's, I wished my s i s t e r t o be a l a d y , and I would always have taken care of you, as my f a t h e r d e s i r e d , u n t i l you were w e l l married...you might have sense enough t o see t h a t a b r o t h e r who goes out i n t o the world and mixes w i t h men n e c e s s a r i l y knows b e t t e r what i s r i g h t and r e s p e c t a b l e f o r h i s s i s t e r than she can know h e r s e l f . (MF, 429) Thus, under the c i r c u m s t a n c e s , Maggie's d e c i s i o n t o cont i n u e h e r meetings w i t h P h i l i p c o n s t i t u t e s the h e a l t h i e r choice.  Her o p t i o n s  a r e acceptance o f the f e m i n i n e  type o r the c o n t i n u a t i o n  o f h e r search  stereo-  f o r some k i n d o f i d e n -  t i t y beyond t h a t r e s t r i c t i v e p a t t e r n o f b e h a v i o u r ; t h i s i s made c l e a r by Tom's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f her a c t i o n s ? "We'll, " s a i d Tom, w i t h c o l d scorn, " I f y o u r f e e l i n g s a r e so much b e t t e r than mine, l e t me see you show them i n some other way than by conduct t h a t ' s l i k e l y t o d i s g r a c e us a l l — t h a n by r i d i c u l o u s f l i g h t s i n t o one extreme and then i n t o a n o t h e r . Pray, how have you shown your l o v e t h a t you t a l k o f , e i t h e r t o me or my f a t h e r ? 3y d i s o b e y i n g and d e c e i v i n g us. I have a d i f f e r e n t way of showing my a f f e c t i o n . " "3ecause you are a man, Tom, and have power and can do something i n t h e w o r l d . " "Then, i f you can do n o t h i n g , submit t o those t h a t can." (MF, 383)  53 Maggie  ultimately will  this  point  h e r need  that  respects  "submit  t o those  that  can" but at  f o r s e l f - a s s e r t i o n , "a s e l f - a s s e r t i o n  the r i g h t s of others,  but insists  upon  one's  17 own r i g h t s a s w e l l " alive.  ' as Bernard  For the f i r s t  separates  time,  Paris puts i t , i s very  and also  the last,  she  much  really  h e r s e l f f r o m Tom's v a l u e systems So I w i l l s u b m i t t o w h a t I a c k n o w l e d g e a n d f e e l t o be r i g h t . , 1 w i l l s u b m i t even t o what i s u n r e a s o n a b l e f r o m my f a t h e r , b u t I w i l l n o t s u b m i t t o i t f r o m y o u . (MF, 3 8 3 )  (vii) Maggie's independent  determination,  o f Tom  o f course has no chance  c a n n o t make h e r f o r t u n e nor  can she l a n g u i s h  open of  and poverty  only  she a r r i v e s a t Lucy  "highly-strung, rate  i n Europe  like  hungry  schoolroom,  of  tasks"  is  bound  with  (MF, 4 2 0 — a t o respond  death  t o be •  o f success.  i n the business world Philip.  t o a y o u n g woman i s g o v e r n e s s i n g .  teaching  When  after her father's  She  a s Tom h a s ; The o n l y  option  But the dreary  world  further dulls her sensibilities.  Deane's f o ra s h o r t . h o l i d a y  nature—just  come a w a y f r o m  a l li t s j a r r i n g response which  to the f i r s t  sounds Eliot  seeming  a  Maggie's third-  and p e t t y  round  does n o t c r i t i c i z e )  escape  that  presents  itself. Escape can  agree w i t h  Maggie, fail  i n this  instance  critics  t o so l i m i t  to understand  i s Stephen  who c l a i m  t h e judgment Maggie's  that  Guest.  Though  we  he i s n o t w o r t h y  of  o f Stephen's  h i s t o r y up t o t h i s  role  i sto  point.  Her  '  desire few  for self-assertion  i sstill  very  o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r development.  to acquire  any o f t h a t  Stephen  k  b u t i t has had  Nor has Maggie been  and e n t h u s i a s m s i n t o  What we may s e e a s p u r e l y  sexual  able  (MP, 3 0 7 )  "prudence and self-command"  w h i c h m i g h t temper h e r p a s s i o n s judgment.  real  5  rational  attraction to  seems t o M a g g i e a way o u t o f a l l h e r d i f f i c u l t i e s .  Stephen's l o v e  seems t o g i v e h e r a s e n s e  never experienced  of self  t h a t she has  before.  T h e r e were a d m i r i n g e y e s a l w a y s a w a i t i n g h e r now; she was no l o n g e r a n u n h e e d e d p e r s o n , l i a b l e t o be c h i d , f r o m whom a t t e n t i o n was c o n t i n u a l l y c l a i m e d and on whom n o one f e l t bound t o c o n f e r any. (MF, 4 3 Unlike her f e e l i n g n o t m i x e d up w i t h tunately,  for Philip, pity  her attraction  or s e l f - i d e n t i f i c a t i o n .  Maggie c o n f u s e s  masculine  adoration  pect.  Stephen has no p a r t i c u l a r understanding  beyond  the r e a l i z a t i o n  man.  t o Stephen i s  that  But unforf o r true  o f Maggie  she i s a r a t h e r unusual  y o u n g wo-  T h a t i n c r e a s e s h i s d e s i r e , n o t t o h e l p Maggie  sympathize w i t h  her,  res-  or to  b u t t o p u t i t b l u n t l y , t o master  her:  To s e e s u c h a c r e a t u r e subdued b y l o v e f o r one w o u l d be a l o t w o r t h " h a v i n g . (MP, 4 4 8 ) Again, rather  second-rate  sincere she  as with  ties  will  her secret relationship with o p t i o n f o r freedom i s balanced  t o Lucy and P h i l i p  And, a s n o t e d  the  a c t i o n would  is  the complicating  this  f r o m whom, l i k e  be a l i e n a t e d b y c h o o s i n g  desires. right  Philip,  earlier, be c l e a r .  factor-.  a c t i o n , he i s c e r t a i n l y  this  by v e r y  her father,  t o f o l l o w h e r own i m m e d i a t e i f t h e c h o i c e were t h i s  simpl  B u t once more i t i s Tom who  Though o f f - s t a g e d u r i n g m o s t o f hovering  i n the wings.  When  55 Maggie v i s i t s him a t Bob Tom  J a k i n ' s her simultaneous f e a r of  and need f o r h i s a p p r o v a l are r e i n f o r c e d . Maggie had h a r d l y f i n i s h e d s p e a k i n g i n t h a t c h i l l , d e f i a n t manner b e f o r e she repented and f e l t the dread of a l i e n a t i o n from her b r o t h e r . (MF, 428)  Again he makes c l e a r her s i t u a t i o n i n r e l a t i o n t o him. be accepted by Tom  means t o t a l s u b m i s s i o n — r e n u n c i a t i o n of  any r i g h t t o s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n o u t s i d e of the female t y p e — " I wished my  To  s i s t e r t o be a l a d y . "  I f we  stereo-  understand  her c h o i c e i n these terms, between s e l f - d e f e a t and even the most i l l u s o r y f e e l i n g of r e c o g n i t i o n , r u n n i n g away w i t h Stephen In  c o n t a i n s a t l e a s t a germ of h e a l t h y s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . fact,  e l o p i n g w i t h Stephen  Maggie has ever taken. to  i s the most d e f i a n t s t e p  T h i s i s no adventure  t o Dunlow Common  take r e f u g e w i t h the g y p s i e s , no s h o r t walk to the  Deeps t o s n a t c h a few hours w i t h P h i l i p .  Red  F l o a t i n g down the  F l o s s w i t h Stephen marks the severance of the t i e s which b i n d h e r t o a l l she k n o w s — t o Lucy,  P h i l i p , her mother, the  memory of her f a t h e r and her home.  But most of a l l i t i s  s e p a r a t i o n from Tom,  not by mere d e f i a n t words t h i s  but through c o n c r e t e a c t i o n .  And  she cannot do i t .  time, Though  her f e e l i n g s f o r P h i l i p and Lucy p u l l her s t r o n g l y , i t i s her f e a r of Tom,  her dread of d e f y i n g the s o c i a l  conventions  he r e p r e s e n t s , t h a t f i n a l l y s e t t l e s the matter f o r h e r . Maggie's b r e a k i n g p o i n t  (and E l i o t ' s too, i n terms of the  c o n s i s t e n c y o f her main c h a r a c t e r ) comes w i t h the t h a t awakes her a f t e r the f i r s t  n i g h t on the boat.  nightmare The dream  i s a p e r f e c t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of Maggie's c o n f l i c t as i t has  56  been d e s c r i b e d  above.  I t i s not Lucy and  main f i g u r e s i n the dream, but Tom l o o k i n g a t her" i s Lucy i n the  (MF,  5 1 6 ) ; and  "who  P h i l i p who  the  rowed p a s t w i t h o u t  w i t h him,  accepted by  epitome of the female r o l e — t h e  him,  Virgin.  However b e l i e v a b l e her arguments w i t h Stephen may t h i s p o i n t , we  are  be  after  f e e l t h a t i t i s the image of Tom's anger  and  the d e s i r e f o r h i s f o r g i v e n e s s which draws her back t o S t . Ogg's.  The  defeated  t e n s i o n has  and  f i n a l l y been broken; Maggie has  a l l t h a t i s l e f t i s to convince Tom  been  t h a t he  has  won. (viii) In k e e p i n g w i t h the p a t t e r n  of her dream, Maggie  goes on her r e t u r n from the t r i p w i t h Stephen not or P h i l i p but punish  t o Tom,  and  first  to Lucy  she goes w i t h the hope t h a t he  will  her; She almost d e s i r e d t o endure the s e v e r i t y of Tom's r e p r o o f , to submit i n p a t i e n t s i l e n c e to t h a t h a r s h d i s a p p r o v i n g judgment a g a i n s t which she had so o f t e n r e b e l l e d ; i t seemed no more than j u s t t o her now—who was v/eaker than she was? She craved t h a t outward h e l p to her b e t t e r purpose which would come from complete, submissive confession—from b e i n g i n the presence of one whose l o o k s and words would be a r e f l e c t i o n of her own conscience. (MF, 528)  I f E l i o t meant by Maggie's "own g u i l t which has  conscience"  neurotic  been b u i l t up i n her by her f a i l u r e  t o conform t o Tom's image of what she of the n o v e l might p o s s i b l y work. could  the  The  should Mill  then be read as a s t o r y t h a t t a l k s not  be,  or  the  on the of the  refusal  ending  Floss "wrong-  57  n e s s " but o f the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of r e b e l l i o n and Maggie's h i s t o r y and f i n a l r e n u n c i a t i o n would be i n p e r f e c t w i t h each o t h e r .  keeping  Furthermore, from Maggie's experience  would d i s c o v e r something about the supposedly male q u a l i t i e s of submission  inherent f e -  and p a s s i v i t y — t h a t  n o t a t a l l i n h e r e n t , but a p o s t u r e  we  they are  o f t e n a c q u i r e d out o f  f e a r o f male o s t r a c i s m . Although P a r i s suggests  with a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t  emphasis,.Bernard  t h a t the l a s t c h a p t e r s can be read i n such  a way t o make them work w i t h the r e s t o f the n o v e l . him  For  the main p a t t e r n of the n o v e l i s Maggie's n e u r o t i c  search f o r r e c o g n i t i o n .  The r e c r i m i n a t i o n t h a t Maggie heaps  upon h e r s e l f d u r i n g the p e r i o d of " w a i t i n g " a t S t . Ogg's i s c l e a r l y m a s o c h i s t i c and h e r rescue  o f Tom i s a f i n a l  attempt t o j u s t i f y h e r s e l f i n h i s eyes, suffering.  and f i n d g l o r y through  But I t h i n k t o i n t e r p r e t the l a s t book t h i s  or i n the manner I suggest  way,  i n the p r e c e d i n g paragraph means  we have t o read so much between the l i n e s we might as w e l l be d e a l i n g w i t h another  novel.  In the i n c i d e n t of Maggie's  r e n u n c i a t i o n there was some a b i g u i t y , but t h e r e can be no q u e s t i o n o f E l i o t ' s i n t e n t i o n s i n the l a s t c h a p t e r s .  She  c l e a r l y means us to t h i n k Maggie has done the " r i g h t " t h i n g . T h i s i s a happy ending  and there i s no d i s t i n c t i o n d i s c o -  v e r a b l e between the author's  and the c h a r a c t e r ' s  feelings.  By r e t u r n i n g t o S t . Ogg's, by w i l l i n g l y s u b m i t t i n g t o , and i n f a c t embracing, misery  and s o c i a l o s t r a c i s m , Maggie has  58 f i n a l l y conquered t h a t w i l f u l n e s s which marred her p r e v i o u s period her  of "renunciation."  She has d i s c o v e r e d  t h a t i t was  own d e s t r u c t i v e egoism which brought h e r i n t o  w i t h Tom.  Now, purged o f t h a t s e l f i s h n e s s , she can r e t u r n  to him ready t o a c c e p t j o y f u l l y The  conflict  fortunate  arrival  the d u t i e s of " s i s t e r h o o d . "  o f the f l o o d g i v e s her t h a t  opportuni-  ty* A l o n g w i t h the sense o f danger and p o s s i b l e r e s cue f o r those long-remembered beings a t the o l d home, there was an undefined sense of r e c o n c i l e ment w i t h h e r b r o t h e r ; what q u a r r e l , what h a r s h ness, what u n b e l i e f i n each other can s u b s i s t i n the presence of a great c a l a m i t y , when a l l the a r t i f i c i a l v e s t u r e o f our l i f e i s gone, and we a r e a l l one w i t h each o t h e r i n p r i m i t i v e m o r t a l needs? (MF, 566) And in  the example o f the s i s t e r who chose t o l o s e h e r l i f e t r y i n g t o save t h a t o f h e r b r o t h e r ' s  w i l l l i v e on l i k e  the legend o f the V i r g i n o f the F l o s s who "sat i n the prow, shedding a l i g h t around as o f the moon i n i t s b r i g h t n e s s so t h a t the rowers i n the g a t h e r i n g  darkness took h e a r t and  p u l l e d anew" (MF, 141). The  problem o f course i s t h a t E l i o t has t o l d  of Maggie T u l l i v e r  the s t o r y  i n such a way t h a t the l a s t c h a p t e r s can  only make us t h i n k t h a t the n o v e l has completely l o s t i t s direction. fice  Her r e t u r n t o S t . Ogg's and h e r u l t i m a t e  sacri-  f o r Tom do n o t appear t o be an example o f abandonment  of s e l f but o f d e f e a t  of s e l f .  E l i o t may have meant t o t a l k  about Maggie i n terms of her personhood but what she d i d was t o t a l k about h e r i n terms of h e r "womanhood." choice  Maggie's  i s supposed to be between s e l f i s h r e b e l l i o u s n e s s and  59 r e c o g n i t i o n of her t i e s and consequent d u t i e s to her f a m i l y and community.  But i n every i n s t a n c e we  between h e a l t h y s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n and most extreme of feminine r o l e s . tried  t o show, i s Tom.  d i s c o v e r i t to be  submission  t o the  The v a r i a b l e , as I have  Maggie's r e l a t i o n s h i p t o him i s  c l e a r l y c o n d i t i o n e d by more than simple f a m i l y bonds.  He  r e p r e s e n t s not only the t i e s of a f f e c t i o n but s o c i e t y ' s r e f u s a l t o a l l o w women the r i g h t of s e l f - d i s c o v e r y . Maggie i s drawn towards him not merely  And  out of s i s t e r l y l o v e ,  but a l s o out of her f e a r of d e f y i n g t h a t m a l e - o r i e n t e d tem o f v a l u e s .  I t i s completely understandable  should be drawn towards the s o c i a l l y approved  t h a t she  r o l e he  t h a t she c a p i t u l a t e s so completely, w i t h the f u l l of her c r e a t o r , i s n o t . about-face.  She  George E l i o t suddenly  approval  pulls  an  I am not s u g g e s t i n g t h a t  Maggie should have run away w i t h Stephen nor t h a t she have made any u n r e a l i s t i c speeches about feminine But the urge f o r s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n was  should  rights.  too s t r o n g i n Maggie,  too much of a theme i n the n o v e l , to be d e a l t w i t h a t  the end i n terms of egoism versus a l t r u i s m .  To the q u e s t i o n s  r a i s e d by Maggie's s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t p a t r i a r c h y , E l i o t wers t h a t she has found happiness Tom.  offers?  p r e s e n t s a s t r u g g l e which she r e f u s e s ( o r  i s a f r a i d ) to see t o i t s end.  and  sys-  and  ans-  peace i n submission  to  T h i s makes the l a s t book of the n o v e l a mockery of i t s  beginning. George E l i o t  f a l l s back i n t o her  "all  good" t h e o r y but f o r g e t s the q u a l i f i c a t i o n  self-sacrifice is she h e r s e l f put  on  60  t h a t statement made i n commenting on Rochester's l o y a l t y to h i s mad wife-r-"but one would l i k e i t t o be i n a somewhat nobler  cause than t h a t of a d i a b o l i c a l law which c h a i n s a 1  8  man s o u l and body t o a p u t r e f y i n g c a r c a s s . "  Though .Mag-  g i e ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p t o P h i l i p and Lucy cannot be i g n o r e d , i s t h a t a cause noble enough t o j u s t i f y such complete  submission  to Tom's d i a b o l i c a l law, t h a t  "anything i s more endurable  than t o change our e s t a b l i s h e d  formulae about women...to  admit them t o be s t r i c t l y f e l l o w - b e i n g s and  all,  t o be t r e a t e d , one 19 w i t h j u s t i c e and sober r e v e r e n c e ? " 7  (ix) There are many p o s s i b l e reasons f o r E l i o t ' s  complete  l o s s o f h e r g r i p on~the n o v e l i n "The F i n a l Rescue." have a l r e a d y  discussed  I  a t l e n g t h her almost b l i n d adhe-  rence t o the Feuerbachian i d e a l s o f r e n u n c i a t i o n  and r e s i g -  nation.  feelings  But there  i s a l s o h e r own c o n t r a d i c t o r y  about the p o s i t i o n o f women as o u t l i n e d i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n to t h i s t h e s i s .  E l i o t may understand how a woman's  i s l i m i t e d by the r u l e o f male supremacy.  life  But she does n o t  a t the same time r e a l i z e t h a t the image o f woman as s e l f s a c r i f i c i n g martyr w i t h which she l e a v e s more s u b t l e , a s p e c t of p a t r i a r c h y . no  us i s j u s t another,  Thus f o r h e r there i s  seeming c o n t r a d i c t i o n between Maggie's s i t u a t i o n as a  female r e v e a l e d to Tom.  i n her c h i l d h o o d  and h e r f i n a l  submission  61 Eliot's dering. was  attitudes  To h e r ,  any t h r e a t  deplorable.  half-sister incidents,  to the family  to the stability  When t h e s t o r y  w a s made p u b l i c even i f t r u e ,  are also worth  be  of family  o f 3yron's a f f a i r  she pleaded  that  consilife  with h i s  news o f s u c h  suppressed,  As t o t h e B y r o n s u b j e c t , n o t h i n g c a n o u t w e i g h t o my m i n d t h e h e a v y s o c i a l i n j u r y o f f a m i l i a r i z i n g young minds w i t h t h e d e s e c r a t i o n o f f a m i l y t i e s . The d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e s u b j e c t i n n e w s p a p e r s , p e r i o d i c a l s a n d p a m p h l e t s , i s s i m p l y o d i o u s t o me, and I t h i n k i t a p e s t i l e n c e l i k e l y t o l e a v e v e r y ugly marks. One t r e m b l e s t o t h i n k how e a s i l y t h a t m o r a l w e a l t h may b e l o s t w h i c h i t h a s b e e n t h e . work o f ages t o produce, i n t h e r e f i n e m e n t and differencing of the affectionate relations.20 Again and again portance  o f those bonds  tween f a t h e r ter.  t h r o u g h o u t The K i l l  and son,  who  she belongs  son.  i t i s often  brother  and s i s -  what she h e r s e l f  the family  unit which i s  t o " (MF, 4 6 6 ) .  Maggie i s a s i s t e r  nothing  importance  an i n s t i t u t i o n  and must submit  t o h e r husband's  a n d a d a u g h t e r and she must be  of the family  i n which  and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s  that  sitive  Maggie's mother was a Dod-  else.  The  duties  As  "We d o n o t a s k w h a t a woman d o e s , we a s k  Now s h e i s a T u l l i v e r ,  wishes.  see  mother and daughter,  formed be-  m o s t p o w e r f u l f a c t o r i n d e t e r m i n i n g woman's p l a c e .  L a w y e r Wakem s a y s ,  as  o f mutual duty and love  B u t s h e d o e s n o t seem t o r e c o g n i z e  makes s o c l e a r , t h a t the  she t a l k s about t h ei m -  from  family  but also  people  to Eliot  lies  i n i t s role  c a n l e a r n much a b o u t  t o others.  B u t she does n o t  r e l a t i o n s h i p s we l e a r n n o t o n l y  the negative  lessons  their  of the larger  thepoworld.  62 Here men can more e a s i l y a s s e r t t h e i r mastery and women have no c h o i c e b u t t o accept t h e i r r o l e o f submission. To b r i n g i n b i o g r a p h i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n t o support a c r i t i c a l argument i s always q u e s t i o n a b l e , b u t there i s such an obvious p a r a l l e l between Maggie's and Marian Evans' e x p e r i ence t h a t I t h i n k some r e f e r e n c e t o the author's  personal  l i f e might be h e l p f u l i n e x p l a i n i n g the weakness of the l a s t c h a p t e r s o f The M i l l on the F l o s s .  I n the young l i v e s o f  both the f i c t i o n a l and the r e a l g i r l similarity.  one f i n d s an o v e r a l l  Both have a s t r o n g emotional attachment t o an  a f f e c t i o n a t e f a t h e r , both go through a p e r i o d o f r e l i g i o u s r e n u n c i a t i o n and,  most important,  with a strong-willed brother. p o r t s t o Mrs.  and Mrs.  On  both come i n t o  conflict  one o c c a s i o n Marian  re-  Bray how Isaac f l e w i n t o a v i o l e n t  p a s s i o n over h e r d e c i s i o n t o l e a v e home, and s t a t e d t h a t  2i she should never  "apply t o him f o r a n y t h i n g whatever."  As young women, both Maggie and Marian become i n v o l v e d w i t h men  whose s i t u a t i o n s were c o m p l i c a t e d by the presence  nother woman. to  of a-  Both Maggie and Marian r i s k s o c i a l o s t r a c i s m  be w i t h the men they l o v e d .  The s i m i l a r i t y extends t o  the manner o f t h e i r departure w i t h t h e i r l o v e r s :  Marian  and George b o a r d i n g the steamer Ravensbourne and g l i d i n g down the Thames, Stephen and Maggie on a s i m i l a r v e s s e l heading down the F l o s s towards Mudport. spend the whole, n i g h t on deck. s i m i l a r i t y ends. to  Marian  And both  couples  T h i s i s , however, where the  stayed w i t h George; Maggie r e t u r n e d  f a c e the consequences o f h e r a c t i o n .  63 Although  Marian Evans may have stood her ground she  was o f t e n t e r r i b l y depressed,  as I p o i n t e d out i n the i n -  t r o d u c t i o n , by the common-law nature o f her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Lewes, and she f e l t s t r o n g l y the p u b l i c condemnation of her a c t i o n .  She knew t h a t she had f o l l o w e d her own  strict  moral code, s i n c e no one e l s e had been a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t e d by h e r union w i t h Lewes, b u t her g u i l t was s t i l l In  tremendous.  The M i l l on the F l o s s she t e l l s v e r y much the s t o r y o f  Marian Evans' l i f e w i t h the s i g n i f i c a n t e x c e p t i o n o f h e r own "happy" ending.  True,  the f i c t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n i s somewhat  c o m p l i c a t e d i n t h a t Maggie's elopement w i t h Stephen i s o f ' d i r e c t consequence t o Lucy and P h i l i p  (though,  as Joan  Bennett  p o i n t s out, "she cannot go back and save Lucy and P h i l i p 22  from the misery o f knowing t h a t they a r e n o t l o v e d " I  ). But  t h i n k the consequence we see the n o v e l most d i r e c t l y  con-  cerned w i t h i s the s o c i a l one, r e p r e s e n t e d by Tom's anger. And by h a v i n g Maggie r e t u r n t o Tom we can perhaps say t h a t George E l i o t v i c a r i o u s l y a b s o l v e s Marian Evans o f the g u i l t t h a t she f e e l s over her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Lewes.  Tom i s  v e r y much h e r b r o t h e r Isaac Evans, who broke a l l a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h h e r when she decided t o l i v e w i t h Lewes.  By means o f  the f i n a l r e u n i o n o f Tom and Maggie she can f u l f i l l for  h e r wish  r e u n i o n w i t h h e r own b r o t h e r , which came o n l y many y e a r s  l a t e r when she was o f f i c i a l l y and r e s p e c t a b l y m a r r i e d . all  the r e s t r a i n e d tones o f Tom T u l l i v e r ,  accepted h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p t o him,  In  Isaac f o r m a l l y  64 My dear S i s t e r , I have much p l e a s u r e i n a v a i l i n g myself o f the p r e s e n t o p p o r t u n i t y t o break the l o n g s i l e n c e which has e x i s t e d between u s . 3 2  In h e r answer one cannot h e l p h e a r i n g the w i s t f u l v o i c e o f Maggie T u l l i v e r i n The M i l l on the F l o s s , Our l o n g s i l e n c e has never broken the a f f e c t i o n f o r you which began when we were l i t t l e o n e s . ^ 2  Whether out o f g u i l t o r not, i t i s always t o t h i s  Vic-  t o r i a n image o f "the angel i n the house" t h a t E l i o t r e t u r n s . T h i s never d e s t r o y s a n o v e l , except perhaps Romola, b u t i t always d i m i n i s h e s i t s f o r c e .  The M i l l on the F l o s s i s n o t  by any means r u i n e d by the l a s t c h a p t e r s , b u t i t c e r t a i n l y i s weakened.  I n Middlemarch and D a n i e l Deronda the damage  i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y l e s s but s t i l l  recognizable.  Rosamond and Gwendolen a l l s u f f e r from E l i o t ' s  Dorothea, inability  to see t h e i r s t r u g g l e s t o a s a t i s f y i n g c o n c l u s i o n .  I n each  case, the n o v e l c o u l d show the need f o r , and the, p o s s i b i l i t y of, r a d i c a l change i n V i c t o r i a n i d e a s about women.  Instead,  each t u r n s i n t o a R u s k i n i a n l e c t u r e on the need f o r women t o a c c e p t the d e f i n i t i o n o f themselves p r o v i d e d by the p a t r i a r c h a l value  system.  65  NOTES 1  George E l i o t , The M i l l on the F l o s s , ed. Maxine Greene (New York: C o l l i e r Books, 1962), p. 5 6 3 . Subsequent r e ferences i n text. 2  Henry James, "The Novels of George E l i o t , " i n D i s c u s s i o n s of George E l i o t , ed. R i c h a r d Stang (Boston: D.C. Heath and Co., I960), p. 6 . 3  p.  F.R. L e a v i s , 58.  The Great T r a d i t i o n (Penguin Books, 1948),  4  Joan Bennett, George E l i o t : Her Mind and Her A r t (Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 1 3 0 . 5 The George E l i o t L e t t e r s , ed. Gordon S. H a i g h t (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ) , I I I , 3 7 4 . George E l i o t t o F r a n c o i s d'Albert-Durade, London, 2 9 January 1 8 6 l Haight, L e t t e r s , I I I , 269 [George Henry Lewes t o John Blackwood, Wandsworth, 5 March I860] I b i d . , 269-70. [George Henry Lewes t o Mme. Bodichon, Wandsworth, 6 March I86g  Eugene  8 I b i d . , 270, n. 1. I b i d . , 278 [George E l i o t t o John Blackwood, Wandsworth, 22 March i860] 10 Gordon S. Haight, George E l i o t : Clarendon P r e s s , 1968), p. 412.  A Biography ( O x f o r d :  11 Bernard P a r i s , "George E l i o t ' s R e l i g i o n of Humanity," i n George E l i o t : A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , ed. George R. Creeger (Englewood C l i f f , N. J . P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1970), p. t  66 12  George E l i o t , "Westward Ho! and Constance H e r b e r t , " Westminster Review, L X I V ( 1 8 5 5 ) , r p t . i n Essays^ of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney (New York: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 6 3 ) , pp. 1 3 ^ - 5 • Haight, L e t t e r s , V, 4 0 3 . wood, London, 21 A p r i l I 8 7 3 14  George E l i o t  Haight, L e t t e r s , I I I , 2 9 9 .  Blackwood, F l o r e n c e ,  2 ? Kay  to John B l a c k -  George E l i o t  to W i l l i a m  i860  15 Here P a r i s adds the f o l o w i n g f o o t n o t e : "When I speak of George E l i o t i n t h i s essay, I am r e f e r r i n g n o t to the author as a person e x i s t i n g o u t s i d e of the work, but t o the " i m p l i e d a u t h o r , " the " o f f i c i a l s c r i b e , " the a u t h o r ' s "second s e l f . " For a d i s c u s s i o n of these terms, see Wayne Booth, The R h e t o r i c of F i c t i o n (Chicago, 1 9 6 1 ) , pp. 70-75. S t a t e d i n Booth's terms, my argument here i s . t h a t the i m p l i e d a u t h o r of The M i l l on the F l o s s i s n o t i n h a r mony w i t h h i m s e l f : t h e r e i s a d i s p a r i t y between George E l i o t as a n a l y s t and judge and George E l i o t as i m i t a t o r of char a c t e r and a c t i o n . " 16 Bernard J . P a r i s , "The Inner C o n f l i c t s of Maggie T u l l i v e r : A Horneyan A n a l y s i s , " C e n t e n n i a l Review, X I I I (1969),  p.  167.  17 I b i d . , p.  I83.  18 H a i g h t , Biography,  p. 6 5 .  19  George E l i o t , "Margaret F u l l e r and Mary W o l l s t o n e . c r a f t " , i n Essays of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney. Haight, L e t t e r s , V, 56. London, 2 1 September 186§J  Mrs.  [George E l i o t  to Sara Hennell,  Haight, L e t t e r s , I I , 7 5 . (George E l i o t t o Mr. and C h a r l e s Bray and Sara H e n n e l l , London, 31 December  1852]]  67 22 127.  Joan B e n n e t t , George  E l i o t t H e r Mind and H e r A r t , p .  23  H a i g h t , L e t t e r s , V I T . 280 E l i o t , G r i f f , 17- May 1880] I b i d . . 287. 26 May 1880J  [George E l i o t  [isaac  Pearson Evans  to Isaac  to  George  Pearson Evans,  Milan,  Ill Middlemarch (i) In  terms of Geroge E l i o t ' s treatment of women, M i d d l e -  march i s n o t h e r most e x c i t i n g n o v e l .  The M i l l  on the F l o s s  and D a n i e l Deronda both e x p l o r e the i n n e r landscape o f manhood w i t h g r e a t e r i n t e n s i t y and a c c u r a c y .  wo-  Dorothea's  r a t h e r g e n t e e l b a t t l e a g a i n s t Middlemarch v a l u e s does n o t have n e a r l y the power o f Maggie's l o n g and t r a g i c w i t h Tom,  struggle  and f o r a d e t a i l e d examination of the b i t c h c h a -  r a c t e r Rosamond can h a r d l y compare t o Gwendolen.  But i f  Middlemarch does n o t a t t a i n the h e i g h t s of the o t h e r  two  n o v e l s i n i t s d r a m a t i z a t i o n o f the female s i t u a t i o n , i t i s a f a r more even and s a t i s f y i n g p i e c e o f work.  There are  no f a i r y - t a l e f l o o d s or r h a p s o d i c paeans t o Z i o n i s m t o upset  the b a l a n c e o f t h i s study of p r o v i n c i a l l i f e .  It is  by no means a f l a w l e s s n o v e l , however, and i n many ways the  e s s n e n t i a l weakness of The M i l l — i t s  i n c o n s i s t e n t cha-  r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f a female f i g u r e — i s a l s o p r e s e n t i n Middlemarch. There i s n o t h i n g p a r t i c u l a r l y o r i g i n a l i n s u g g e s t i n g t h a t one o f the weak p o i n t s of Middlemarch i s E l i o t ' s  ten-  dency t o i d e a l i z e Dorothea (as opposed t o her s a t i r i z a t i o n of Dorothea's tendency t o i d e a l i z e h e r s e l f ) and Dorothea's  68  69 r e l a t i o n s h i p with W i l l Ladislaw.  But no c r i t i c seems t o  have worked out a r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h a t p a r t characterization cessful.  o f the  which f a i l s and t h a t which i s h i g h l y  suc-  I n f a c t , E l i o t succeeds and f a i l s w i t h Dorothea  i n the same way as she does w i t h Maggie i n The M i l l a l though t o a much l e s s e r degree. has  Maggie  v i t a l i t y as a c h a r a c t e r l a r g e l y because she i s e s t a -  blished the  We have seen t h a t  e a r l y i n the n o v e l as a woman s t r u g g l i n g  l i m i t s o f a p a t r i a r c h a l system.  against  Dorothea i s n o t watched  as c l o s e l y o r examined as m i n u t e l y as Maggie, b u t the b a s i s of our acquaintance w i t h , and a t t r a c t i o n t o h e r i s much t h e same.  Dorothea i s a s k i n g e s s e n t i a l q u e s t i o n s about h e r  r e l a t i o n s h i p as a woman t o t h e s o c i e t y around her. naively,  even i n some cases s t u p i d l y ,  However  she i s , l i k e  Maggie,  t r y i n g t o e s t a b l i s h an i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y f o r h e r s e l f i n a w o r l d which E l i o t t a k e s c a r e f u l p a i n s t o show does n o t welcome women as o t h e r than d u t i f u l daughters, f a i t h f u l or l o v i n g mothers.  wives  But as w i t h Maggie, E l i o t cannot always  maintain t h i s feminist  perspective.  Too o f t e n  t h e woman  who i s s e r i o u s l y c o n f r o n t i n g the p r e j u d i c e d v a l u e s o f a male-dominated s o c i e t y i s r e p l a c e d by t h e complacent r i a n v i s i o n o f the i d e a l woman as s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g or m i n i s t e r i n g  angel.  Victo-  saint  Thus one o f the main problems w i t h  Middlemarch as t h i s c h a p t e r w i l l t r y t o demonstrate i s the ^ whole S t . Theresa theme which by i t s " r a t h e r uncontrolled,  breathless,  even embarrassing emotional q u a l i t y "  \  1  often  70  weakens the s t r o n g e r is  more r e a l i s t i c  character  a n a l y s i s which  established. That t h e r e  a r e a t l e a s t some "problems" worth c o n s i -  d e r i n g about the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f Dorothea ought t o be r e a d i l y accepted.  That the same k i n d  of c r i t i c i s m  should  be made o f the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Rosamond may r a i s e more argument.  However, i t i s j u s t because E l i o t makes Rosamond  more than t h e commonplace f i g u r e o f the f a m i l i a r temptress o r e v i l woman t h a t the c h a r a c t e r  does t o some e x t e n t  fail.  E l i o t cannot s t a y w i t h and develop h e r new t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l and  sympathetic v i s i o n o f the t r a d i t i o n a l b i t c h  character  t h a t she b e g i n s t o a c h i e v e w i t h h e r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f Rosamond. was  By the end o f Middlemarch the sense o f Rosamond t h a t  previously hinted  at—that  she h e r s e l f was a t l e a s t  p a r t i a l l y a v i c t i m — i s gone, l e a v i n g o n l y the f l a t of the m a n i p u l a t i v e , c o l d - h e a r t e d  picture  woman who has " f l o u r i s h e d  2 w o n d e r f u l l y on a murdered man's b r a i n s . " (ii) The  t h i r d female f i g u r e who must be c o n s i d e r e d  discussion  i n any  o f the young women o f Middlemarch i s Mary G a r t h .  There c e r t a i n l y does n o t seem t o be any problem w i t h s i s t e n c y of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n here. i n t o stereotype;  she i s not,  incon-  Mary never seems t o f a l l  n o r does she a t any time be-  come e i t h e r the " b i t c h " o r the meekly o b e d i e n t "good woman," She  i s affectionate, but s t i l l  d i r e c t l y c r i t i c a l o f those  she  l o y e s and i s n o t a f r a i d o f o b j e c t i n g openly t o F r e d ' s  71  m a t e r i a l i s t i c ambitions.  Having g r e a t r e g a r d f o r f a m i l y  t i e s , and w i l l i n g t o make almost any s a c r i f i c e f o r those a t home, a t the same time she l e a v e s no doubt about h e r d i s l i k e o f g o i n g out as a t e a c h e r .  F i n a l l y , Mary i s w i t t y  and speaks h e r mind d i r e c t l y w i t h o u t b e i n g e i t h e r c a t t y o r apologetic.  E l i o t makes Mary an i n t e l l i g e n t , r e s p o n s i b l e  and i n t e r e s t i n g a d u l t and c r e a t e s a c r e d i b l e and s a t i s f a c t o r y p o r t r a i t o f a woman.  The q u e s t i o n then i s why, i f  E l i o t can be so c o n s i s t e n t l y s u c c e s s f u l w i t h one c h a r a c t e r , does she f a l t e r i n h e r d e p i c t i o n o f the o t h e r two? I would suggest t h a t p a r t o f the answer i s t h a t E l i o t does n o t p l a c e Mary G a r t h as c o m p l e t e l y i n the "woman's s i t u a t i o n " as she does e i t h e r Dorothea o r Rosamond.  Mary  Garth i s n o t a s t e r e o t y p e d p i c t u r e o f a woman, b u t n e i t h e r i s she p r e s e n t e d as one who i s trapped i n o r s t r u g g l i n g a g a i n s t the r e p r e s s i v e s t r i c t u r e s o f p a t r i a r c h y .  Thus w i t h  Mary, E l i o t does n o t come up a g a i n s t the problems p r e s e n t e d by Dorothea and Rosamond; w i t h them she must a d j u s t h e r " r e v o l u t i o n a r y " a n a l y s i s o f a woman's p o s i t i o n t o the demands o f the Feuerbachian  creed o f "submission" and h e r own grow-  i n g p o l i t i c a l c o n s e r v a t i s m and doubts about the "woman question."  By p o s i t i n g a combination  of circumstances—  Mary's p h y s i c a l p l a i n n e s s , h e r u n u s u a l l y h e a l t h y f a m i l y . s i t u a t i o n , and the n e c e s s i t y o f h e r working,  which means she  must t o some e x t e n t experience the world as a man does--Mary i s n o t n e a r l y so much i n c o n f l i c t w i t h the u s u a l s o c i e t a l  72  p r e s s u r e s p u t on a woman.  Although g i v e n h e r f a m i l y ' s  finan-  c i a l i n s e c u r i t y Mary might seem t o be i n a l e s s f o r t u n a t e position  than the o t h e r two, a comparison o f t h e i r  t i o n s " shows that  "situa-  i t i s Dorothea and Rosamond f o r whom  cir-  cumstances a r e and have been most f r u s t r a t i n g i n t h e i r development towards a d u l t h o o d .  E l i o t makes i t v e r y c l e a r how  much, due t o the p r e v a l e n t s o c i a l a t t i t u d e s  towards women,  t h e i r emotional, i n t e l l e c t u a l and moral development has been r e t a r d e d . I t i s perhaps a minor p o i n t ,  but i n introducing  all  these young women, E l i o t does u n d e r l i n e t h a t w h i l e Dorothea and  Rosamond a r e each i n t h e i r own way i d e a l s o f f e m i n i n e  beauty, Mary Garth "on the c o n t r a r y had the a s p e c t o f an o r d i n a r y s i n n e r i she was brownj h e r c u r l y dark h a i r was rough  and stubbornj h e r s t a t u r e  was low."  A l t h o u g h as  E l i o t p o i n t s out i n the n e x t phrase, " i t would n o t be t r u e t o d e c l a r e i n s a t i s f a c t o r y a n t i t h e s i s , t h a t she (Mar^j had a l l the v i r t u e s " (MM, 8 3 ) a t l e a s t she does n o t have' t h a t d i s t o r t e d view o f h e r s e l f o r the world which many b e a u t i f u l women, because- o f the way o t h e r s t r e a t them, cannot a v o i d . I n Rosamond's case i t i s h e r beauty which i s the d e t e r mining f a c t o r i n how o t h e r people, p a r t i c u l a r l y men, r e g a r d herV Only a few c h i l d r e n i n Middlemarch looked b l o n d by the s i d e o f Rosamond, and the s l i m f i g u r e d i s p l a y e d by h e r r i d i n g - h a b i t had d e l i c a t e u n d u l a tions. I n f a c t , most men, except h e r b r o t h e r s , h e l d t h a t Miss V i n c y was the b e s t g i r l i n the world, and some c a l l e d h e r an a n g e l . (MM, 8 3 )  73  Consequently,  because h e r beauty has such h i g h s o c i a l v a l u e ,  Rosamond h e r s e l f does not have t o l o o k i n w a r d l y , a t l e a s t c o n s c i o u s l y , and examine h e r own motives  and a c t i o n s — " W h a t  she l i k e d t o do was t o h e r the r i g h t t h i n g " (MM, 4 2 7 ) . L y d gate o f course o n l y r e i n f o r c e s t h i s a t t i t u d e . for  He has no use  p l a i n women, r e g a r d i n g them "as he d i d the o t h e r severe  facts of l i f e ,  t o be f a c e d w i t h p h i l o s o p h y and i n v e s t i g a t e d  by s c i e n c e " (MM, 7 0 ) , and s i m p l y assumes w i t h a b e a u t i f u l woman l i k e Rosamond t h a t h e r c h a r a c t e r w i l l be i n p e r f e c t accordance  w i t h h e r p h y s i c a l appearance, Miss Vincy...had j u s t the k i n d o f i n t e l l i g e n c e one would d e s i r e i n a w o m a n — p o l i s h e d , r e f i n e d , d o c i l e , l e n d i n g i t s e l f t o f i n i s h i n a l l the d e l i c a c i e s o f l i f e , and e n s h r i n e d i n a body which expressed t h i s w i t h a f o r c e o f demonstration t h a t excluded the need f o r o t h e r e v i d e n c e . (MM, 1 2 1 )  By r e f e r r i n g t o t h i s a t t i t u d e o f Lydgate's  as one o f h i s  "spots o f commonness," E l i o t i s i n d i r e c t l y s u g g e s t i n g t h a t the a t t i t u d e s o f men a r e p a r t i a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r making so many women l i k e Rosamond such v a i n and s e l f - c e n t r e d creatures.  As l o n g as a woman's worth i s e x c l u s i v e l y  c i a t e d w i t h h e r p h y s i c a l beauty,  asso-  she w i l l remain i n most  cases m o r a l l y undeveloped. U n l i k e Rosamond, Dorothea i s t o some e x t e n t c o n s c i o u s of  h e r beauty  as a burden.  With h e r wealth,  i t puts h e r so  c o m p l e t e l y i n the r o l e of t h e v e r y marriageable young woman t h a t o t h e r s , l i k e h e r u n c l e and s i s t e r C e l i a , w i l l n o t take h e r i n t e l l e c t u a l ambitions r a t h e r melodramatic  and,  seriously.  She i s o f course  as E l i o t i s q u i c k t o p o i n t out,  7^ silly  i n her d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o i g n o r e the  " s o l i c i t u d e s of  feminine f a s h i o n " (MM,. 6 ) , t o r e f u s e any of her mother's jewels and  t o g i v e up the sensuous p l e a s u r e of r i d i n g .  a l l these attempts does understand act  i n any  But  t o scourge h e r s e l f show t h a t Dorothea  t h a t as a b e a u t i f u l woman her freedom t o  o t h e r way  than the p r e s c r i b e d manner f o r young  ladies i s severely limited.  E l i o t i s amusedly c r i t i c a l  of  Dorothea's e x c e s s i v e s e l f - d e n i a l — " i f Miss Brooke ever a t t a i n e d p e r f e c t meekness, i t would n o t be f o r l a c k of inward fire"(MM, 10) — b u t  on another l e v e l she o b v i o u s l y p a r t i -  c i p a t e s i n her h e r o i n e ' s f r u s t r a t i o n and c a l l s a t t e n t i o n t o the a b s u r d i t y of a s o c i e t y which d e n i e s t o a b e a u t i f u l woman the use o f h e r i n t e l l e c t .  With p e r f e c t mimicry she  lets  the r e a d e r know what the average Middlemarch male t h i n k s of  Dorothea's "mindt" And how should Dorothea n o t m a r r y ? — a g i r l so handsome and w i t h such p r o s p e c t s ? Nothing c o u l d h i n d e r i t but her l o v e of extremes, and her i n s i s t e n c e on r e g u l a t i n g l i f e a c c o r d i n g to n o t i o n s which might cause a wary man t o h e s i s t a t e b e f o r e he made h e r an o f f e r . . . . S u c h a w i f e might awaken you some f i n e morning w i t h a new scheme f o r the a p p l i c a t i o n o f h e r income which would i n t e r f e r e w i t h p o l i t i c a l economy and the keeping of s a d d l e h o r s e s i a man would n a t u r a l l y t h i n k twice b e f o r e he r i s k e d h i m s e l f i n such f e l l o w s h i p . Women were expected t o have weak o p i n i o n s i but the g r e a t safeguard o f s o c i e t y and of domestic l i f e was, t h a t o p i n i o n s were n o t a c t e d on. Sane people d i d what t h e i r neighbours d i d , so t h a t i f any l u n a t i c s were a t l a r g e , one might know and a v o i d them. (MM, 7) It  i s n o t o n l y h e r p l a i n n e s s which d i s t i n g u i s h e s Mary  from Rosamond and Dorothea.  As Mrs. F a r e b r o t h e r says a t  75  one p o i n t t o Mary, young women...don't f e e l the s t r e s s o f a c t i o n as men do, though perhaps I ought t o make you an e x c e p t i o n t h e r e . (MM, 3 7 9 ) Mary has had t o work, and thus t o g r a p p l e w i t h the world on a l e v e l o f which Dorothea and Rosamond can s c a r c e l y ceive.  con-  One can h a r d l y suggest t h a t h e r work has been e i t h e r  s a t i s f y i n g o r rewarding.  I n h e r r o l e as housekeeper t o  P e t e r F e a t h e r s t o n e she was c o n s t a n t l y h u m i l i a t e d , and as f o r the l i f e  o f a t e a c h e r o r governess  t h a t (as Jane F a i r -  f a x suggests i n Emma) i s n o t much d i f f e r e n t from s l a v e r y . But Mary's v i s i o n o f r e a l i t y , l i k e Jane F a i r f a x e s , i s bound t o be much c l e a r e r than t h a t o f the o t h e r two women who, l i k e Emma Woodhouse, a r e c l o i s t e r e d i n t h e v e r y world o f feminine  limited  experience.  Dorothea seeks work, b u t she l i v e s i n "the  stifling  o p p r e s s i o n o f t h a t gentlewoman's world, where e v e r y t h i n g was  done f o r h e r and none asked f o r h e r a i d " (MM, 202), and  i s n o t f o r c e d i n t o a c t i o n as Mary i s by h e r f a m i l y ' s economic situation.  The f a c t o r t h a t c l a s s p l a y s i n d e t e r m i n i n g t o  what e x t e n t a woman w i l l be f o r c e d i n t o the t r a d i t i o n a l female r o l e s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g i n Rosamond's c a s e . A g r e a t p a r t o f the p r i d e o f t h e V i c t o r i a n b o u r g e o i s i e was i t s women's i d l e n e s s — t h e i r e x i s t e n c e as c r e a t u r e s o f complete leisure. every daughter her s t i l l  A t the same time, t h e r e was i n s t i l l e d i n t h e ambition t o capture a man who would r a i s e  f u r t h e r i n rank.  As Mary W o l l s t o n e c r a f t p u t it»  76 I n the middle rank of l i f e . . . m e n , i n t h e i r youth are prepared f o r p r o f e s s i o n s , and marriage i s n o t c o n s i d e r e d as the grand f e a t u r e i n t h e i r l i v e s j w h i l s t women, on the c o n t r a r y , have no o t h e r scheme t o sharpen t h e i r f a c u l t i e s . It i s not b u s i n e s s , e x t e n s i v e p l a n s , or any of the e x c u r s i v e f l i g h t s of ambition, t h a t engross t h e i r a t t e n t i o n ; no, t h e i r thoughts are n o t employed i n r e a r i n g such noble s t r u c t u r e s . To r i s e i n the world, and have the l i b e r t y of r u n n i n g from p l e a s u r e to p l e a s u r e , they must marry advantageously, and t o t h i s o b j e c t t h e i r time i s s a c r i f i c e d , and t h e i r persons o f t e n l e g a l l y p r o s t i t u t e d . A man, when he e n t e r s any p r o f e s s i o n , has h i s eye s t e a d i l y f i x e d on some f u t u r e advantage (and the mind g a i n s g r e a t s t r e n g t h by h a v i n g a l l i t s ~ e f f o r t s d i r e c t e d t o one p o i n t ) and, f u l l o f h i s b u s i n e s s , p l e a s u r e i s c o n s i d e r e d as mere r e l a x a t i o n ; w h i l s t women seek f o r p l e a s u r e as the main purpose of e x i s t e n c e . I n f a c t , from the e d u c a t i o n which they r e c e i v e from s o c i e t y , the l o v e of p l e a s u r e may be s a i d t o govern them a l l . 3 Thus a Rosamond's "work" was  c u t out f o r her,  F o r Rosamond...was i n d u s t r i o u s , and now more than ever she was a c t i v e i n s k e t c h i n g h e r l a n d scapes and m a r k e t - c a r t s and p o r t r a i t s o f f r i e n d s , i n p r a c t i s i n g h e r music and i n b e i n g from morning t i l l n i g h t h e r own s t a n d a r d of a p e r f e c t l a d y . (MM, 124) And  E l i o t understands  t h a t a l t h o u g h Rosamond p a r t i c i p a t e s  w i l l i n g l y i n t h i s c o r r u p t i o n o f female i n t e l l i g e n c e is  still  she  a v i c t i m of i d e a s about the p r o p e r p l a c e and  inte-r  r e s t s o f woment F o r Rosamond never showed any unbecoming knowl e d g e , and was always t h a t combination o f c o r r e c t sentiments, music, dancing, drawing, e l e g a n t n o t e - w r i t i n g , p r i v a t e album f o r e x t r a c t e d v e r s e , and p e r f e c t blond l o v e l i n e s s which made the i r r e s i s t a b l e woman f o r the doomed man of t h a t d a t e . (MM, 198) Perhaps the most i m p o r t a n t and  d i s t i n c t i o n between Mary  the o t h e r two women i s t h a t she has i n her mother a  mo-  77 d e l who i l l u s t r a t e s how a female can operate i n a w o r l d o f male v a l u e s b u t s t i l l  r e t a i n h e r i n d i v i d u a l i t y and p e r s o n a l  dignity.  Garth may mouth the c o n v e n t i o n a l o p i -  Though Mrs.  n i o n s about the p r o p e r r o l e o f woman who " i n h e r o p i n i o n was  framed t o be e n t i r e l y s u b o r d i n a t e " i t i s n o t a d o c t r i n e  which she p r a c t i c e s t o any g r e a t e x t e n t t On n i n e t y - n i n e p o i n t s Mrs. Garth d e c i d e d , b u t on the hundredth she was o f t e n aware t h a t she would have t o perform the s i n g u l a r l y d i f f i c u l t t a s k o f c a r r y i n g out h e r own p r i n c i p l e and t o make h e r s e l f s u b o r d i n a t e . (MM, 411) That i s n o t t o suggest t h a t Mrs. Garth i s any k i n d o f Amazon i n d i s g u i s e , b u t s i m p l y t h a t she has a s t r o n g and h e a l t h y sense  o f h e r own i n d i v i d u a l i t y .  Of course, t h e  a b i l i t y t o e x e r c i s e t h i s freedom i s l a r g e l y dependent on h e r husband who r e c o g n i z e s h i s w i f e as another human b e i n g and n o t as a h i r e d s e c r e t a r y (MM, 2 0 5 ) , nurse o f domestic  (MM, 2 3 1 ) , o r i t e m  decorationt  She [Mrs. Garth] went and stood behind him, p u t t i n g h e r hand on h i s s h o u l d e r , w h i l e they r e a d the l e t t e r t o g e t h e r . (MM, 2 9 4 ) Mary thus e x p e r i e n c e s i n h e r f a m i l y a l i f e  o f male-female  e q u a l i t y which f r e e s h e r from the f r u s t r a t i o n s t h a t both Dorothea  and ( i n d i r e c t l y ) Rosamond experience as among t h e  major determinants g i v e s h e r a sense  of r e a l i t y .  Mary's f a m i l y background  o f s e c u r i t y and h e a l t h y s e l f - r e s p e c t  which n e i t h e r o f the o t h e r two women p o s s e s s e s . Dorothea  and Rosamond o f course have no such  suitable  female models, l e t alone male helpmates, who might g i v e  78  them a d i f f e r e n t v i s i o n of r e a l i t y .  Rosamond's mother,  though a p l e a s a n t woman, i s much more l i k e Mrs. than Mrs. G a r t h . i s of her  The  Tulliver  s t r o n g e s t i m p r e s s i o n Mrs. V i n c y l e a v e s  "pink s t r i n g s always f l y i n g , " her devoted  love f o r  h e r son, and her d e s i r e t h a t Rosamond d e r i v e the b e s t v a l u e from her good l o o k s , I t i s a thousand p i t i e s you haven't p a t i e n c e t o go and see your u n c l e more, so proud of you as he i s , and wanted you t o l i v e w i t h him. There's no knowing what he might have done f o r you as w e l l as f o r F r e d . God knows, I'm fond of h a v i n g you a t home w i t h me, but I can p a r t w i t h my c h i l d r e n f o r t h e i r good." (MM, 7 5 ) As f a r as Mrs. V i n c y i s concerned person who was  Mrs. G a r t h i s the  might serve as a feminine model, f o r t h a t l a d y  "a woman who  had had t o work f o r h e r b r e a d "  As f o r Dorothea,  (MM,  170).  her mother i s dead, and though she  l o v e s C e l i a g r e a t l y , she cannot  expect much guidance  a younger s i s t e r whose ambitions do not go f u r t h e r marriage  last  and b l i s s f u l motherhood.  from  than  As f o r Mr.,Brooke, he  f e e l s t h a t h i s duty as a s u r r o g a t e f a t h e r l i e s i n c o n t i n u a l l y r e m i n d i n g Dorothea t h a t she must l e a r n t o t o h e r p r o p e r feminine  submit  placet  Young l a d i e s don't understand you know.(MM, 12)  p o l i t i c a l economy,  I cannot l e t young l a d i e s meddle w i t h my documents. Young l a d i e s are too f l i g h t y . (MM, 14) The  o n l y i n t e l l i g e n t woman w i t h whom Dorothea has any  t a c t i s Mrs.  Cadwallader  who  con-  has turned a l l the e n e r g i e s  of her powerful mind, "a mind, a c t i v e as phosophorus,  biting  79 everything (MM,  t h a t came n e a r i n t o the form t h a t s u i t e d i t "  4 5 ) , i n t o f r i v o l o u s match-making. A l t h o u g h Middlemarch may be s m a l l i n a r e a i t i n c l u d e s  many worlds and these three women o b v i o u s l y womanhood i n v e r y d i f f e r e n t ways.  experience  their  Mary, as a p a r t o f h e r  f a m i l y , has had t o f i g h t f o r economic s u r v i v a l , b u t she has never had t o s t r u g g l e w i t h i n a male-dominated w o r l d t o e s t a b l i s h a b a s i c sense o f i d e n t i t y f o r h e r s e l f i n the way t h a t b o t h Dorothea and Rosamond must.  Thus i n Mary's w o r l d ,  i n the w o r l d o f the Garths and the F a r e b r o t h e r s , r e a l l y has t o d e a l w i t h any s e r i o u s q u e s t i o n s o f women.  E l i o t never  about the r o l e  But the n e c e s s a r y f a c t o r i s t h a t k i n d o f w o r l d —  one more i d e a l than r e a l — w h e r e s e x u a l s t e r e o t y p i n g i s n o t so p e r v a s i v e , and women.  where there i s a n e a r e q u a l i t y between men  When E l i o t moves t o another w o r l d , the c l e a r l y  p a t r i a r c h a l (and more r e a l i s t i c ) one i n which Dorothea and Rosamond must move, then d i f f i c u l t i e s a r i s e .  Brilliantly  p o r t r a y i n g the ways t h a t these two a r e trapped by the opp r e s s i v e r u l e s o f p a t r i a r c h y , she poses a number o f quest i o n s about s o c i e t a l a t t i t u d e s and i n s t i t u t i o n s t h a t i n the end wer.  she h e r s e l f cannot answer, o r perhaps r e f u s e s t o a n s T h i s i s why the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s , a t c e r t a i n p l a c e s  i n the n o v e l ,  falter.  A t the p o i n t o f r e s o l u t i o n E l i o t  abandons h e r complex v i s i o n o f both women f o r the s t a t i c images o f f e m i n i n i t y t h a t V i c t o r i a n m o r a l i t y p r o v i d e s . questions  The  t h a t Rosamond's experience r a i s e a r e ignored? she  80 is  j u s t one o f t h o s e " e v i l women."  And as f o r Dorothea,  her p e r f e c t goodness and s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g a l t r u i s m i s s u r e l y the answer t o any problem between the sexes t h a t  might  exist. A l t h o u g h the s t o r y o f Mary Garth i s s a t i s f a c t o r y and complete,  i t i s r e a l l y n o t much more than t h a t .  As sugges-  t e d above, t h e r e i s a note o f i d e a l i s m about the whole Garth w o r l d .  They a r e j u s t a l i t t l e b i t t o o good, t o o happy,  and t o o s e n s i b l e f o r t h e i r p a r t o f the book t o be t r u l y moving, and consequently, the t e n s i o n s o f the Fred/Mary passages a r e c o n s i d e r a b l y lower than those i n the D o r o t h e a / Casaubon o r Rosamond/Lydgate passages and the G a r t h f a m i l y may be supposed Daiches suggests, the moral actions are referred"  o f the n o v e l .  Mary  t o e s t a b l i s h , as David  " c r i t e r i a t o which most o t h e r  b u t Mary has n e v e r had t o f i g h t a  thorough-going b a t t l e w i t h the p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s o f M i d d l e march.  Thus, d e s p i t e t h e o v e r l y s e n t i m e n t a l treatment  o f t e n g i v e s Dorothea,  and the b l i n d vengeance she o c c a s i o -  n a l l y d i r e c t s a t Rosamond, i t i s s t i l l than Mary who h o l d our a t t e n t i o n . "normalcy"  Eliot  these two women r a t h e r  With a l l the seeming  o f Mary Garth, i t i s i n the e x p l o r a t i o n o f Rosa-  mond and Dorothea's  c o n f l i c t over t h e i r i d e n t i t i e s as women  t h a t E l i o t comes c l o s e s t t o t h e r e a l i s m which i s h e r g r e a t e s t s t r e n g t h as an a r t i s t .  F a r c l o s e r t o the t r u t h o f a woman's  s i t u a t i o n than the s t o r y o f Mary Garth, whose c i r c u m s t a n c e s a l l o w and even encourage  h e r growth i n t o r e s p o n s i b l e a d u l t -  81 hood, i s the two b e a u t i e s ' s t r u g g l e w i t h the s o c i a l p r e s s u r e s o f p a t r i a r c h y which r e t a r d any development o f an i n d i v i d u a l identity. (iii) I n T h i n k i n g About Women Mary E l l m a n suggests t h a t t h e r e i s enough evidence i n Middlemarch t o show t h a t E l i o t  sees  many o f Rosamond's a c t i o n s as p o s i t i v e , i f b a d l y m i s d i r e c t e d attempts  t o a t t a c k the male v a l u e  system.  The n o v e l i s t d e p l o r e s Rosamond's responses and y e t takes a s m a l l b i t t e r p l e a s u r e i n h e r m u l i s h self-sufficiency.5 E l l m a n f a l l s i n t o the t r a p o f many p o p u l a r f e m i n i s t  critics  who i n s i s t on imputing t o any female n o v e l i s t a r a d i c a l f e minist consciousness. p o t e n t i a l Nora Helmer.  E l i o t i s no Ibsen n o r i s Rosamond a But what one does f i n d i n the s t o r y  o f Rosamond i s t h a t a s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t o f her c h a r a c t e r i s r e v e a l e d as we a r e l e d t o see how much she i s trapped i n a c e r t a i n d e s t r u c t i v e b e h a v i o u r p a t t e r n because o f h e r p o s i t i o n as a female. That E l i o t i n t e n d s us t o see Rosamond as a t l e a s t p a r t i a l l y a p r o d u c t o f h e r environment  i s obvious from our  f i r s t i n t r o d u c t i o n t o her a t the end o f a l o n g d i s c u s s i o n about changing s o c i a l  conditions,  I n f a c t , much the same s o r t o f movement and mixture went on i n o l d England as we f i n d i n o l d e r Herodotus, who a l s o , i n t e l l i n g what had been, thought i t w e l l t o take a woman's l o t f o r h i s starting-point...(MM, 7 1 ) Bourgeois a t t i t u d e s towards marriage,  Rosamond's u n u s u a l l y  82 p e r f e c t beauty, and h e r l a c k o f a p o s i t i v e female model have been mentioned above as f a c t o r s which t o some  extent  have i n f l u e n c e d Rosamond's development.  Eliot  most d i r e c t l y dwells The  The p o i n t  upon, however, i s Rosamond's  education.  abysmal t r a i n i n g a v a i l a b l e f o r young women i s a f a v o u r i t e  subject and  of both E l i o t ' s personal  l e t t e r s and h e r f i c t i o n ,  i n Middlemarch almost the f i r s t p i e c e  of information  that  we have about Rosamond i s t h a t she "was a s y l p h caught young and  educated a t Mrs.  operative  term.  s t i n c t s may be,  Lemon's" (MM, 118).  "Caught" i s the  R e g a r d l e s s o f what the c h i l d ' s own i n t h i s young beauty must be moulded i n t o the  image o f the p e r f e c t young l a d y — " p o l i s h e d , (MM*:  212).  And a t Mrs.  refined, docile"  Lembn's, "the c h i e f s c h o o l i n the  county, where the t e a c h i n g  i n c l u d e d a l l t h a t was demanded  i n the accomplished female" (MM, ?1) Rosamond i s r j i o doubt l i t e r a l l y as w e l l as v i r t u a l l y  "finished."  An i n s t i t u t i o n  which, as E l i o t n o t e s i n mock-solemnity, stakes t a t i o n on b e i n g a b l e t o p r o v i d e  those l i t t l e  i t s repu-  "extras,  such  as the g e t t i n g i n and out o f a c a r r i a g e " w i l l r a r e l y a t t a c h much importance t o t h e e t h i c a l o r i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a c i t i e s o f a young woman. at  Rosamond's moral c o n s c i o u s n e s s remains  the i n f a n t i n e l e v e l o f the e l a b o r a t e  p e r s o n a l i t y which she has a c q u i r e d Mary W o l l s t o n e c r a f t  can be looked  b u t empty s o c i a l  a t Mrs.  Lemon's.  Again  to f o r a description of  the c o r r u p t i o n that i s o f t e n bred i n young l a d i e s o f Rosamond's type.  83 I t would be an endless task t o t r a c e the v a r i e t y o f meannesses, c a r e s , and sorrows, i n t o which women a r e plunged by the p r e v a i l i n g o p i n i o n , t h a t they were c r e a t e d r a t h e r t o f e e l than reason, and t h a t a l l the power they o b t a i n , must be obtained by t h e i r charms and weakness; "Fine by d e f e c t , and amiably weak!" And, made by t h i s amiable weakness e n t i r e l y dependent, e x c e p t i n g what they g a i n by i l l i c i t sway, n e g l e c t i n g the d u t i e s t h a t reason alone p o i n t s out, and s h r i n k i n g from t r i a l s c a l c u l a t e d t o s t r e n g t h e n t h e i r minds, they o n l y e x e r t themselves t o g i v e t h e i r d e f e c t s a g r a c e f u l c o v e r i n g , which may serve t o h e i g h t e n t h e i r charms i n the eyes of the v o l u p t u a r y , t h o u g h . i t s i n k them below the s c a l e o f moral e x c e l l e n c e ? 0  As w e l l as b e i n g is  "caught young," p a r t of Rosamond's tragedy  t h a t she has been too good a student; w i t h the "execu-  t a n t ' s i n s t i n c t " she has l e a r n e d t o almost r i d i c u l o u s p e r f e c t i o n . little  t o a c t out the f e m i n i n e r o l e I f Rosamond had been a  l e s s c l e v e r h e r s e l f , o r p r e f e r a b l y i f young women.were  l e f t alone t o develop i n a manner s i m i l a r t o "the raw country  girls"  (MM,  118) who  "betray  themselves unawares, and  whose b e h a v i o u r i s awkwardly d r i v e n stead  of being  by t h e i r impulses i n -  s t e e r e d by wary grace and p r o p r i e t y , " E l i o t  suggests t h a t both h e r and Lydgate's h i s t o r i e s c o u l d  have  been much d i f f e r e n t . This  " p l a c i n g " o f Rosamond i n the s o c i a l m i l i e u , the  attempt t o show t h a t she i s n o t simply that her character  the born b i t c h , but  and behaviour have been p a r t i a l l y  mined by V i c t o r i a n a t t i t u d e s towards women means v e r y  deterlittle  u n l e s s E l i o t c a r r i e s i t through i n her c l o s e r a n a l y s i s o f Rosamond as an i n d i v i d u a l . t h i s happens:  F.R. L e a v i s does not b e l i e v e  84 I f one judges t h a t t h e r e i s l e s s o f sympathy i n George E l i o t ' s presentment of Rosamond t h a t i n her presentment of any other o f her major c h a r a c t e r s (except Grandcourt i n D a n i e l Deronda) one goes on immediately t o note t h a t Rosamond g i v e s sympathy l i t t l e lodgement. I t i s t r i b u t e enough to George E l i o t to say t h a t the d e s t r u c t i v e and dem o r a l i z i n g power of Rosamond's t r i v i a l i t y wouldn't have seemed so a p p a l l i n g t o us i f t h e r e had been any animus i n the presentment. We a r e , from time to time, made t o f e e l from w i t h i n the c i r c u m f e r e n c e of Rosamond's e g o i s m — t h o u g h we can't of course a t any time be c o n f i n e d t o i t , and, there b e i n g no p o t e n t i a l n o b i l i t y here, i t i s i m p l i c i t l y judged t h a t t h i s case can h a r d l y , by any triumph of comp a s s i o n , be f e l t as t r a g i c . 7 Although we  may  n o t d i s c o v e r any  "potential  i n Rosamond, L e a v i s c e r t a i n l y underestimates  nobility"  the e f f e c t  b e i n g "from time t o time, made t o f e e l from w i t h i n the cumference of Rosamond's egoism." quaintance w i t h Rosamond we  Very e a r l y i n our  e n t e r her c o n s c i o u s n e s s  c o v e r the p e c u l i a r k i n d of s c h i z o p h r e n i a t h a t she with.  I n the scene w i t h Mary a t Stone Court we  of cir-  acand  dis-  lives  are made  aware o f the two nymphs—the one i n the g l a s s , and the one out of i t , who l o o k e d a t each o t h e r w i t h eyes o f heavenly b l u e , deep enough t o h o l d the most e x q u i s i t e meanings an i n g e n i o u s b e h o l d e r c o u l d put i n t o them, and deep enough t o hide the meanings of the owner i f these should happen t o be l e s s exquisite. (MM, 8 3 ) ' The  i n t e r a c t i o n of these two  s e l v e s — t h e p u b l i c and  the  p r i v a t e e - i s q u i t e o f t e n a p a r t o f E l i o t ' s method of d e s c r i b i n g Rosamond 1 (Every nerve and muscle i n Rosamond was a d j u s t e d to the c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t she was b e i n g looked at. She was by nature an a c t r e s s of p a r t s t h a t entered i n t o her physique t she even a c t e d h e r own c h a r a c t e r and so w e l l , t h a t she d i d not know i t  85  t o be p r e c i s e l y h e r own.)  (MM, 8 7 )  C e r t a i n l y s m a l l f e e t and p e r f e c t l y turned s h o u l ders a i d the i m p r e s s i o n o f r e f i n e d manners, and the r i g h t t h i n g s a i d seems q u i t e a s t o n i s h i n g l y r i g h t when i t i s accompanied w i t h e x q u i s i t e c u r v e s of l i p and e y e l i d . And Rosamond c o u l d say the r i g h t thing1 f o r she was c l e v e r w i t h t h a t s o r t o f c l e v e r n e s s which c a t c h e s every tone except the humorous. H a p p i l y she never attempted t o joke, and t h i s perhaps was the most d e c i s i v e mark o f her cleverness. (MM, 1 1 7 ) Rosamond, w i t h the executant's i n s t i n c t , had s e i z e d h i s manner o f p l a y i n g , and gave f o r t h h i s l a r g e r e n d e r i n g o f n o b l e music w i t h the p r e c i s i o n o f an echo. I t was almost s t a r t l i n g , heard f o r the f i r s t time. (MM, 1 1 9 ) I f we do n o t g e t any o f L e a v i s ' n o b i l i t y ,  there i s a t l e a s t  a p a t h e t i c q u a l i t y t o Rosamond's d i s t o r t e d p e r s o n a l i t y t h a t one  cannot a v o i d b e i n g a f f e c t e d by. The  c r u c i a l question,  second s e l f ,  however, i s the n a t u r e o f t h a t  the s e l f t h a t watches, t h a t i s aware o f h a v i n g  t o a c t out t o p e r f e c t i o n the r o l e o f the p e r f e c t l a d y . t a i n l y much o f i t i s pure ego, and one c o u l d quote ly  to substantiate  this.  Cer-  extensive-  However, on s e v e r a l o c c a s i o n s  does go f u r t h e r than t h a t r a t h e r s i m p l i s t i c a n a l y s i s .  Eliot Be-  g i n n i n g w i t h our v e r y f i r s t meeting w i t h Rosamond where E l i o t mentions h e r boredom, the s u g g e s t i o n  i s o f t e n made t h a t the  i n t e n s i t y o f Rosamond's egoism, h e r extreme  self-centredness,  comes from t h e l a c k o f v a r i e t y i n the o u t l e t s a v a i l a b l e t o young women o f any energy o r c l e v e r n e s s .  Since  the h o r i z o n  of a Rosamond's w o r l d i s marriage, a l l h e r l e i s u r e time (of  which she has a g r e a t d e a l ) i s spent i n mental o r p h y s i c a l  a c t i v i t y d i r e c t e d towards t h a t g o a l i  86 Rosamond, whose b a s i s f o r her s t r u c t u r e had the u s u a l a i r y s l i g h t n e s s , was of remarkably d e t a i l e d and r e a l i s t i c i m a g i n a t i o n when the f o u n d a t i o n had been once presupposed! and b e f o r e they had r i d d e n a m i l e she was f a r on i n the costume and i n t r o d u c t i o n s o f her wedded l i f e . (MM, 88) I t had not occured t o Lydgate t h a t he had been a s u b j e c t of eager m e d i t a t i o n t o Rosamond, who had n e i t h e r any r e a s o n f o r throwing her marriage i n t o d i s t a n c e p e r s p e c t i v e , nor any p a t h o l o g i c a l s t u d i e s t o d i v e r t her mind from t h a t r u m i n a t i n g h a b i t , t h a t inward r e p e t i t i o n of l o o k s , words and phrases, which makes a l a r g e p a r t i n the l i v e s o f most g i r l s . (MM, 123) Furthermore, because the o n l y r o l e Rosamond has t o her i s the expression  s o c i a l one  of the p e r f e c t young l a d y ,  o f s e l f she makes must be a c t e d  d o c i l e , passive  available  character.  out through  Perhaps t h a t i s why  samond's a c t i o n s appear t o be  that  some o f  so e s p e c i a l l y u g l y .  anger o r f r u s t r a t i o n i s n e v e r (cannot e v e r be) d i r e c t l y but i s always c l o a k e d  any  Ro-  Her  expressed  i n seeming p a s s i v i t y and  imperturbationo Hoever, i t i s n o t n e c e s s a r y here t o s p e c u l a t e j there i s enough i n the t e x t i t s e l f t o show t h a t E l i o t has beyond the  s i m p l i s t i c a n a l y s i s of Rosamond and  something more.  given  gone us  Among the most s t r i k i n g images of Rosamond  are  those when E l i o t c a t c h e s her i n "moments of  The  f i r s t eomes a t the p o i n t o f her engagement t o Lydgate  when we  see  her as  naturalism."  vulnerablet  But as he r a i s e d h i s eyes now he saw a c e r t a i n h e l p l e s s q u i v e r i n g which touched him q u i t e newly, and made him l o o k a t Rosamond w i t h a q u e s t i o n i n g flash. A t t h i s moment she was as n a t u r a l as she had ever been when she was f i v e y e a r s o l d . (MM, 222)  87  And near the end o f the n o v e l , when L a d i s l a w t u r n s on h e r , we see t h a t she can be s e n s i t i v e t o the f e e l i n g s o f o t h e r s : a l l h e r s e n s i b i l i t y was turned i n t o a b e w i l d e r i n g n o v e l t y o f paint she f e l t a new t e r r i f i e d r e c o i l under a l a s h never e x p e r i e n c e d b e f o r e . What another nature f e l t i n o p p o s i t i o n t o h e r own was b e i n g b u r n t arid b i t t e n i n t o h e r c o n s c i o u s n e s s . (MM» 5 7 1 ) And f i n a l l y when she i s c o n f r o n t e d by Dorothea i t i s c l e a r t h a t Rosamond does have the p o t e n t i a l o f b r e a k i n g through the i l l u s i o n s t h a t have so b l i n d e d h e r t o the workings o f the r e a l w o r l d i I t was a newer c r i s i s i n Rosamond's e x p e r i e n c e than even Dorothea c o u l d imagine: she was under the f i r s t g r e a t shock t h a t had s h a t t e r e d h e r dream-world i n which she had been e a s i l y c o n f i d e n t of h e r s e l f and c r i t i c a l o f o t h e r s . . . i t made h e r s o u l t o t t e r . . . w i t h a sense t h a t she had been w a l k i n g i n an unknown world which had j u s t broken i n upon h e r . (MM, 5 8 3 ) I t i s t h i s added depth, t h i s attempt t o f i n d some cause f o r Rosamond's egoism o t h e r than the e v i l o f the f e m i n i n e n a t u r e i t s e l f which makes Rosamond more than the f a m i l i a r b i t c h woman s t e r e o t y p e . Even i f E l i o t had n o t a l l o w e d f o r t h i s k i n d o f sympat h e t i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f Rosamond h e r s e l f , i t would  have  been e a s i l y seen from E l i o t ' s a t t i t u d e towards Lydgate that Rosamond s h o u l d n o t be seen as the. t o t a l l y " e v i l " she i s sometimes taken f o r .  character  E l i o t ' s documentation o f L y d -  gate 's male chauvinism i s superb from the moment o f our f i r s t i n t r o d u c t i o n t o him, when we l e a r n t h a t "the d i s t i n c t i o n of mind which belonged t o h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l ardour, d i d n o t  88 p e n e t r a t e h i s f e e l i n g and judgment about f u r n i t u r e o r women" (MM. I l l ) , u n t i l one evening b e f o r e h i s marriage when he muses on h i s f u t u r e w i t h Rosamond» . . . I d e a l happiness ( o f the k i n d known i n the A r a b i a n N i g h t s , i n which you a r e i n v i t e d t o s t e p from the l a b o u r and d i s c o r d o f the s t r e e t i n t o a p a r a d i s e where e v e r y t h i n g i s g i v e n t o you and n o t h i n g c l a i m e d ) seemed t o be an a f f a i r o f a few weeks w a i t i n g . (MM, 257) I t i s i n t e g r a l t o our u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f Lydgate  t h a t we see  him as one o f t h a t company of men (and t h i s i s h i s touch o f "commonness") whose a t t i t u d e towards women support the p r o liferation  o f Rosamond-like c r e a t u r e s .  As l o n g as he, a man  of good l o o k s , good b i r t h and good p r o s p e c t s , f e e l s sure " t h a t i f he ever m a r r i e d h i s w i f e would have t h a t f e m i n i n e r a d i a n c e , t h a t d i s t i n c t i v e womanhood which must be c l a s s e d w i t h f l o w e r s and music" to  (MM, 121), Mrs. Lemon w i l l  continue  t u r n out p o l i s h e d , r e f i n e d and h i g h l y f r u s t r a t e d young  women l i k e Rosamond. Lydgate  D u r i n g the weeks o f t h e i r f l i r t a t i o n  o n l y r e i n f o r c e s Rosamond's b e l i e f i n a l l the roman-  t i c myths o f woman's a b i l i t y t o enslave men.  He t e l l s h e r  t h a t "an accomplished woman almost always knows more than we men" (MM, 118) and d e c l a r e s t h a t he i s "her c a p t i v e . " Rosamond o f course does n o t understand  t h a t these a r e merely  the c o n v e n t i o n a l endearments o f c o u r t s h i p and t h a t  Lydgate  simply assumes t h a t he, n o t she, w i l l be the p o w e r f u l p a r t n e r i n the marriage t Lydgate thought...he had found p e r f e c t womanhoodsf e l t as i f a l r e a d y breathed upon by e x q u i s i t e wedded a f f e c t i o n such as would be bestowed by an  89 accomplished c r e a t u r e who v e n e r a t e d h i s h i g h musings and momentous l a b o u r s and would never i n t e r f e r e w i t h them; who would c r e a t e o r d e r i n the home and accounts w i t h s t i l l magic, y e t keep her f i n g e r s ready t o touch the l u t e and t r a n s f o r m l i f e i n t o romance a t any moment; who was i n s t r u c t e d t o the t r u e womanly l i m i t and not a h a i r ' s b r e a d t h b e y o n d — d o c i l e , t h e r e f o r e , and ready t o c a r r y out b e h e s t s which came from beyond t h a t l i m i t . (MM, 258) A f t e r s e e i n g how  o t h e r p e o p l e — e s p e c i a l l y men—have h e l p e d  b u i l d up Rosamond's d i s t o r t e d sense o f her own p e r s o n a l power we a r e prepared a t l e a s t t o understand why so o b s t i n a t e l y d e f i e s  later  she  Lydgate. (iv)  U n t i l the time o f Lydgate's f i n a n c i a l t r o u b l e s the treatment o f Rosamond and Lydgate i s f a i r l y w e l l b a l a n c e d . L a r g e l y a "noble" f i g u r e , he i s n e v e r t h e l e s s s t i l l  criticized  by E l i o t f o r h i s a r i s t o c r a t i c snobbishness, h i s u n f o r t u n a t e pragmatism over the F a r e b r o t h e r matter, and i n p a r t i c u l a r his  a t t i t u d e towards women "whom he r e g a r d s as a means of  e l e g a n t r e c r e a t i o n and a t most a l s o o b j e c t s o f c o n t i n u i n g o  p r o t e c t i v e tenderness." in  S i m i l a r l y , Rosamond's b a s i c  role  the n o v e l i s t h a t of the b l i n d and d e s t r u c t i v e e g o i s t ,  as I have demonstrated sympathy.  but  above, she i s n o t presented w i t h o u t  From the moment o f t h e i r engagement however, when  E l i o t i n t r o d u c e s the image of the "chained" Lydgate,  that  c a r e f u l balance i s thrown o f f , h e r b l u s h had departed and she assented c o l d l y , w i t h o u t adding an unnecessary word, some t r i v i a l chain-work which she had i n her hands e n a b l i n g her t o a v o i d l o o k i n g a t Lydgate h i g h e r than h i s chin...Rosamond, made nervous by her s t r u g g l e  90 between m o r t i f i c a t i o n and the wish n o t t o b e t r a y i t , dropped her c h a i n as i f s t a r t l e d and r o s e too, m e c h a n i c a l l y . Lydgate i n s t a n t a n e o u s l y stooped t o p i c k up the c h a i n . (MM, 2 2 2 ) As Lydgate l e a v e s the house, "an engaged man whose s o u l was n o t h i s own, b u t the woman's t o whom he had bound  himself  (MM, 2 2 3 ) a l l sympathy goes out towards him and from b e i n g a complex l i v i n g c h a r a c t e r Rosamond changes i n t o a onedimensional, The  stereotyped  bitch.  e a s i e s t way t o d i s c u s s E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e t o m a i n t a i n  a complex a n a l y s i s o f Rosamond's c h a r a c t e r i s t o examine our o v e r a l l sense o f Rosamond i n the second p a r t o f the n o v e l , a f t e r she has married  Lydgate.  We a r e n o t i n v o l v e d  w i t h Rosamond any more 1 she i s no l o n g e r "one o f u s . " s i m p l y watch h e r as she goes about p e r f o r m i n g  We  her s l i g h t l y  horrendous a c t s i r e v o k i n g Lydgate's o r d e r t o r e n t the house, w r i t i n g t o S i r Godwin, sending  out the d i n n e r  invitations.  When we do g e t " i n s i d e " Rosamond i n the second h a l f o f the n o v e l i t i s r a r e l y w i t h any attempt t o understand, l e t alone sympathize.  E l i o t ' s d e s c r i p t i o n s o f Rosamond's i n n e r thoughts  are u s u a l l y g i v e n i n a v o i c e which v e r y much s e t s us a p a r t and  tends t o make us u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y a c c e p t h e r as the  unregenerate e v i l woman.  In fact,  one might even suggest  E l i o t , d u r i n g the p e r i o d o f t h e Lydgates'  that  money t r o u b l e s ,  does t r e a t Rosamond w i t h j u s t t h a t "animus" which L e a v i s says she a v o i d s .  As the passages quoted below demonstrate,  t h e r e i s no attempt s e r i o u s l y t o s c r u t i n i z e Rosamond's po-  91 sition—to  show us how  d e s p e r a t e l y f r u s t r a t e d and  frightened  she might be by the t u r n her marriage has t a k e n . She s t i l l s a i d n o t h i n g ; but under t h a t q u i e t u d e was hidden an i n t e n s e e f f e c t : she was i n such ent i r e d i s g u s t w i t h h e r husband t h a t she wished she had never seen him. S i r Godwin's rudeness towards her and u t t e r want o f f e e l i n g ranged him w i t h Dover and a l l o t h e r c r e d i t o r s — d i s a g r e e a b l e people who only thought o f themselves, and d i d n o t mind how annoying they were t o h e r . Even her f a t h e r was unkind, and might have done more f o r them. In f a c t t h e r e was but one person i n Rosamond w o r l d whom she d i d n o t r e g a r d as blameworthy, and t h a t was the g r a c e f u l c r e a t u r e w i t h b l o n d p l a i t s and w i t h l i t t l e hands c r o s s e d b e f o r e her, who had n e v e r expressed h e r s e l f unbecomingly, and had a l ways a c t e d f o r the b e s t — t h e b e s t n a t u r a l l y b e i n g what she b e s t l i k e d . (MM, 4 8 7 ) There was s i l e n c e . Lydgate thought, " I f she has any t r u s t i n m e — a n y n o t i o n o f what I am she ought t o speak now and say t h a t she does n o t b e l i e v e I have deserved d i s g r a c e . " But Rosamond on h e r s i d e went on moving her f i n g e r s l a n g u i d l y . Whatever was t o be s a i d on the s u b j e c t she expected t o come from T e r t i u s . What d i d she know? And i f he were i n n o c e n t o f any wrong, why d i d he n o t do something t o c l e a r hims e l f ? (MM, 555) However, once a g a i n i t i s E l i o t ' s a t t i t u d e t o Lydgate i n the second p a r t o f the n o v e l t h a t most r e v e a l s how would have us t h i n k o f Rosamond.  she  \  Almost always we are w i t h  Lydgate from the i n s i d e and made t o f e e l w i t h him as he suffers. L y d g a t e s d i s c o n t e n t was much h a r d e r t o bears i t was the sense t h a t t h e r e was a grand e x i s t e n c e i n thought and e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n l y i n g around him, w h i l e h i s s e l f was b e i n g narrowed i n t o the miser a b l e i s o l a t i o n o f e g o i s t i c f e a r s , and v u l g a r a n x i e t i e s f o r events t h a t might a l l a y such f e a r s . (MM, 4 7 3 ) 1  A l t h o u g h on o c c a s i o n a t t e n t i o n might be d i r e c t e d t o Rosamond'  92 f e e l i n g s , i t i s o f t e n p a t r o n i z i n g and  any  sympathy i s negated  by the immediate t r a n s f e r of i n t e r e s t t o Lydgate*s m i s e r y and n o b l e r  greater  naturet  Rosamond obeyed him, and he took her on h i s knee, but i n her s e c r e t s o u l she was u t t e r l y a l o o f from him. The poor t h i n g saw o n l y t h a t the w o r l d was not ordered t o her l i k i n g , and Lydgate was p a r t of t h a t w o r l d . But he h e l d her w a i s t w i t h one hand and l a i d the other g e n t l y on both of h e r s i f o r t h i s r a t h e r a b r u p t man had much tenderness i n h i s manners towards women, seeming t o have always p r e s e n t i n h i s i m a g i n a t i o n the weakness o f t h e i r frames and the d e l i c a t e p o i s e of t h e i r h e a l t h both i n body and mind. (MM, 4?4) The  i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s l a s t statement r e v e a l  Eliot's  i n c o n s i s t e n c y i n her treatment of Lydgate's a t t i t u d e to women.  Though i n the f i r s t p a r t s of the n o v e l  critical  she  o f h i s l a c k of r e s p e c t f o r women, she  seems t o  "the c h i v a l r o u s kindness which helped t o make him l o v a b l e " (MM,  112)  i s adequate compensation.  i s very  morally  It i s this  a t t i t u d e which seems to take precedence i n her l a t e r sis  o f Lydgate and  feel  Rosamond's m a r i t a l c o n f l i c t .  To  analyEliot,  Lydgate's e r r o r i s n o t so much t h a t he demanded submission from Rosamond but would n o t  t h a t he was  obey h i s w i s h e s .  too b l i n d t o see  The  that  she  f a c t t h a t he i s "mastered"  c a r r i e s the i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t by r i g h t s he  should  be  masters  . . . I t would a s s u r e d l y have been a v a i n b o a s t i n him t o say t h a t he was her master. (MM, 488) "I s h a l l s e t up a s u r g e r y , " he s a i d , "I r e a l l y t h i n k I made a mistaken e f f o r t i n t h a t r e s p e c t . And i f Rosamond w i l l not mind, I s h a l l take an apprentice. I don't l i k e these t h i n g s , but i f one c a r r i e s them out f a i t h f u l l y they are not r e a l l y lowering. I have had a severe g a l l i n g t o b e g i n w i t h i t h a t w i l l make the s m a l l rubs  93 seem easy. Poor Lydgate! the " i f Rosamond w i l l n o t mind," which had f a l l e n from him i n v o l u n t a r i l y as p a r t of h i s thought, was a s i g n i f i c a n t mark of the yoke he b o r e . (MM, 52k) That the man  s h o u l d be master i n marriage i s n o t a  feeling  which r e a l l y squares w i t h her p r e v i o u s c r i t i c i s m s o f Lydgat H i s a t t i t u d e s towards marriage and women have supposedly  the r o l e s o f men  and -  matured d u r i n g h i s time of c o n f l i c t %  he was b e g i n n i n g now to imagine how two c r e a t u r e s who l o v e d each other, and had a s t o c k of thoughts i n common, might l a u g h over t h e i r shabby f u r n i t u r e , and t h e i r c a l c u l a t i o n s how f a r they c o u l d a f f o r d b u t t e r and eggs. (MM, 51 *) 2  But a l l h i s a c t i o n s b e l i e any marriage.  conception  For him a w i f e i s s t i l l  k i n d of mindless  sanctuary  of e q u a l i t y i n  someone who  provides  a  f o r male i n t e l l i g e n c e i  That evening Lydgate was a l i t t l e comforted by o b s e r v i n g t h a t Rosamond was more l i v e l y than she had u s u a l l y been o f l a t e , and even seemed i n t e r e s t e d i n d o i n g what would p l e a s e him w i t h o u t b e i n g asked... He was so much cheered t h a t he began t o s e a r c h f o r an account o f experiments which he had l o n g ago meant t o l o o k up, and had n e g l e c t e d out o f t h a t c r e e p i n g s e l f - d e s p a i r which comes i n the t r a i n o f p e t t y a n x i e t i e s . He f e l t a g a i n some o f the o l d d e l i g h t f u l a b s o r p t i o n i n f a r - r e a c h i n g i n q u i r y , w h i l e Rosamond p l a y e d the q u i e t music which was as h e l p f u l t o h i s m e d i t a t i o n as the p l a s h of an oar on the evening l a k e . (MM, ^79) I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o b e l i e v e t h a t t h e r e i s any s u b s t a n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e between t h i s Lydgate and months p r e v i o u s l y had  the Lydgate who  t o l d Farebrother  several  that  marriage must be the b e s t t h i n g f o r a man who wants t o work s t e a d i l y . He has e v e r y t h i n g a t home t h e n — n o t e a s i n g w i t h p e r s o n a l s p e c u l a t i o n s he can g e t calmness and freedom. (MM, 256)  94 There i s none o f t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g which E l i o t allowed room f o r e a r l i e r — t h e r e a l i z a t i o n that this kind of a t t i t u d e towards women may account consequent egoism.  f o r much o f t h e i r f r u s t r a t i o n and  I n f a c t , by the i n c l u s i o n o f the i n c i -  dent, when, b e f o r e t h e i r money t r o u b l e s r e a l l y b e g i n Rosamond d e f i e s Lydgate  over the matter  of h o r s e r i d i n g w i t h S i r  Godwin's son and b r i n g s on a m i s c a r r i a g e , E l i o t seems t o suggest the r o o t o f the c o u p l e ' s c o n f l i c t i s i n Rosamond's d e n i a l o f her womanhood o r t r u e f e m i n i n i t y . There a r e o c c a s i o n s when E l i o t appears t o r e c o v e r the sense o f how the p o s i t i o n o f women may be a f f e c t i n g someone l i k e Rosamond, When he l e f t h e r t o go o u t a g a i n , he t o l d h i m s e l f t h a t i t was t e n times harder f o r h e r than f o r himi he had a l i f e away from home, and c o n s t a n t appeals t o h i s a c t i v i t y on b e h a l f o f o t h e r s . (MM.489) But what c o u l d have been a c r u c i a l p a r t o f our u n d e r s t a n d i n g (not f o r g i v i n g ) o f Rosamond's b e h a v i o u r i s n o t c a r r i e d any further. Lydgate  The comment comes a t the end o f a c h a p t e r when i s l e a v i n g the house a f t e r one o f t h e i r arguments  and t h e n e x t c h a p t e r opens w i t h a t t e n t i o n f i r m l y a t Lydgate  directed  once a g a i n .  In a d d i t i o n t o the passage quoted  above, t h e r e a r e a l s o  the c r u c i a l scenes hear the end o f the n o v e l between L a d i s law and Rosamond, and Dorothea and Rosamond, when something f i n a l l y breaks  through  the l a y e r s o f Rosamond's egoism, when  her s c h i z o p h r e n i c s t a t e i s s h a t t e r e d and she i s alone w i t h her "bewildered c o n s c i o u s n e s s "  (MM, 5 7 2 ) .  That t h e r e i s  95 something t o "break through t o , " t h a t Rosamond i s something besides  pure ego, i s most i m p o r t a n t .  I t r e i n f o r c e s the sense  which E l i o t showed i n h e r a t t i t u d e towards Rosamond her m a r r i a g e — t h a t she was more complicated the u s u a l b i t c h s t e r e o t y p e . The be  epilogue  before  a character  than  But Rosamond does n o t change.  makes i t c l e a r t h a t Rosamond was and always w i l l  the e v i l woman who  man's b r a i n s . "  "flourished wonderfully  on a murdered  I n t h i s way, E l i o t ' s m a t e r i a l i s m  k i n d o f f a t a l determinism.  becomes a  The r e a l b r i l l i a n c e o f h e r cha-  r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f Rosamond—what l i f t s h e r above  stereotype—  i s E l i o t ' s appreciation that i n d i v i d u a l character i s p a r t i a l l y determined by s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s .  But the c o r o l l a r y , t h a t a  change i n s o c i a l environment c o u l d b r i n g about a change i n character, The  seems t o be i g n o r e d .  above d i s c u s s i o n i s n o t i n t e n d e d  defence o f Rosamond. she  v  as an apology o r  I t would be r i d i c u l o u s t o suggest t h a t  i s n o t an e g o i s t o r t h a t h e r a c t i o n s are n o t h i g h l y  destructive.  Rosamond i s i g n o r a n t ,  vain, self-centred.  However, t h a t does n o t mean we r e g a r d By p l a c i n g h e r s q u a r e l y bourgeois notions  h e r w i t h o u t sympathy.  i n Middlemarch s o c i e t y , w i t h i t s  o f f e m i n i n i t y , and by a l l o w i n g us t o e n t e r  Rosamond's c o n s c i o u s n e s s t o see how t h i s has a f f e c t e d both her view o f h e r s e l f and the w o r l d , E l i o t g i v e s us room, n o t to f o r g i v e Rosamond, b u t a t l e a s t t o b e g i n t o understand her.  A l t h o u g h E l i o t does n o t go v e r y f a r i n h e r i n i t i a l  p o r t r a y a l o f Rosamond (not n e a r l y as f a r as she w i l l go i n  96 a l a t e r n o v e l w i t h Gwendolen H a r l e t h ) her f a i l u r e t o maint a i n even t h a t l e v e l of u n d e r s t a n d i n g i n d i c a t e s an import a n t break i n the p e r s p e c t i v e of the n o v e l . (v) There are s e v e r a l reasons, i n a d d i t i o n t o the down of E l i o t ' s m a t e r i a l i s t w o r l d view, which may for  h e r i n c o n s i s t e n c y i n d e a l i n g w i t h Rosamond.  i s purely structural.  breakaccount  The  first  I n the broad scheme o f the n o v e l  Ro-  samond i s n o t so much a c h a r a c t e r i n h e r s e l f as a f o i l f o r b o t h Dorothea  and Lydgatej she a c t s f i r s t as an e v i l oppo-  s i t e a g a i n s t which we  are t o see the m e r i t s of  Dorothea  more c l e a r l y , and second as a c a t a l y s t f o r the r e v e l a t i o n of  Lydgate's  "spots o f commonness" and h i s consequent  from n o b i l i t y . their  fall  Thus when these two are i n the midst o f  " c r i s e s " Rosamond must remain a f a i r l y s t a b l e  charac-  t e r i t h a t i s , h e r a c t i o n s must be p r e d i c t a b l e , b l a c k and white, c o n v e n t i o n a l , so t h a t our i n t e r e s t and sympathy w i l l n o t be d e f l e c t e d from Lydgate fulfilled ter  and Dorothea.  If Eliot  had  the p o t e n t i a l c o m p l e x i t y of Rosamond as a c h a r a c -  the c a r e f u l b a l a n c e of the n o v e l c o u l d have been u p s e t .  As we w i l l see l a t e r ,  t h i s i s e x a c t l y what happens w i t h  Gwendolen i n D a n i e l Deronda. E l i o t ' s p e r s o n a l i n t e l l e c t u a l ' a m b i g u i t y about the p r o per p l a c e o f women i n s o c i e t y may  be a second r e a s o n f o r  h e r f a i l u r e to c a r r y through the a n a l y s i s o f Rosamond.  On  the one hand, E l i o t had a v e r y s i n c e r e f e l l o w f e e l i n g f o r w  97 trapped w i t h i n the a r t i f i c i a l l i m i t a t i o n s imposed on t h e i r sex.  But on the o t h e r she was a t t r a c t e d t o the s e l f - s a c r i -  f i c i n g , a l t r u i s t i c g o d d e s s - l i k e aspect o f the V i c t o r i a n feminine mystique.  The a t t r a c t i o n t o the l a t t e r i s under-  s t a n d a b l e , g i v e n h e r Peuerbachian of  philosophy.  The p i c t u r e  the p a s s i v e , o t h e r - o r i e n t e d female c o i n c i d e s p e r f e c t l y  with her i d e a l s of r e s i g n a t i o n of personal w i l l .  The prob-  lem i s t h a t by b e i n g so enamoured o f the "good woman" she has v e r y l i t t l e Too  sympathy f o r the "bad woman," Rosamond.  o f t e n E l i o t can see h e r o n l y as the o p p o s i t e o f Dorothea,  and n o t as a woman i n s u b s t a n t i a l l y the same "female" d i lemma. I n Qohn S t u a r t ) M i l l one encounters the r e a l i s m of s e x u a l p o l i t i c s , i n Ruskin i t s romance and the benign a s p e c t o f i t s myth. Much o f the o t h e r ~p o r t i o n o f V i c t o r i a n s e x u a l myth i s i n c l u d e d i n Ruskin by i m p l i c a t i o n , f o r h i s v i r t u o u s matron r e l i e s f o r h e r v e r y e x i s t e n c e on t h a t s p e c t r a l f i g u r e o f the temptress, her complement i n the p e r i o d ' s dichotomous l i t e r a r y f a n t a s y — j u s t as i n l i f e , the two c l a s s e s o f women, w i f e and whore, account f o r the s o c i o - s e x u a l d i v i s i o n under the double s t a n d a r d . 9 It  i s r e v e a l i n g t h a t as a model t o Rosamond, E l i o t  conti-  n u a l l y h o l d s up Dorothea a t h e r most s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g r a t h e r than the more s e n s i b l e , down-to-earth Mary G a r t h .  At their  f i r s t meeting, E l i o t ' s d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e i r p h y s i c a l appearances e s t a b l i s h e s c l e a r l y h e r i r r e s i s t a b l e a t t r a c t i o n t o the image o f Dorothea as goddess, the grace and about the l a r g e of women,  and d i g n i t y were i n h e r limbs and neckj h e r simply p a r t e d h a i r and c a n d i d eyes round poke which was then i n the f a t e seemed no more odd as a head-dress than  98 the g o l d t r e n c h e r we Her  316)  c a l l a h a l o . (MM,  consequent antagonism to Rosamond i s e v i d e n t from  n e x t few  the  lines1 h e r s m a l l hands d u l y s e t o f f w i t h r i n g s , and t h a t c o n t r o l l e d s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s of manner which i s the expensive s u b s t i t u t e f o r s i m p l i c i t y . (MM, 316)  Here we  see how  dimensional  E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e t o make Rosamond a t h r e e -  c h a r a c t e r may  be r e l a t e d to the a e s t h e t i c  weakness o f the n o v e l r e c o g n i z e d by most  critics—the  i r r i t a t i n g aura o f s e n t i m e n t a l i t y and i d e a l i s m which i n t e r f e r e s w i t h the p o r t r a y a l of Dorothea. a little had  Had  .  Rosamond been  l e s s demonic, perhaps Dorothea would n o t have  t o be so a n g e l i c . (vi) The  c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the s t r u c t u r a l r e l a t i o n s h i p  be-  tween Rosamond and Dorothea l a n d s us back i n the middle of the d i s c u s s i o n of E l i o t ' s i n c o n s i s t e n t treatment Dorothea, o u t l i n e d i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h i s  chapter.  The n a t u r e and meaning o f t h a t i n c o n s i s t e n c y — t h e away from r e a l i s m i n t o i d e a l i s m and suggested,  falling  s e n t i m e n t — i s as I  the problem i n h e r e n t i n the S a i n t  theme, f i r s t i n t r o d u c e d i n the  of  "Prelude.*'  Theresa  Though t h e r e i s  a t i n g e of humour i n the f i r s t paragraph w i t h the image of the two  young c h i l d r e n s e e k i n g martyrdom " u n t i l domestic  r e a l i t y met  them i n the shape o f u n c l e s and  back from t h e i r g r e a t r e s o l v e " (MM,  turned  them  3 ) the r e s t of the  '  99 "Prelude"  seems t o be e n t i r e l y s e r i o u s .  We read t h a t  this  w i l l be the s t o r y n o t o f a s a i n t b u t o f one who c o u l d have been a s a i n t save f o r the l a c k o f a "coherent and  social  faith  order which c o u l d perform t h e f u n c t i o n o f knowledge f o r  the a r d e n t l y w i l l i n g s o u l " (MM, 3 ) . But the b u l k o f the novel denies  t h i s impression  completely.  The Dorothea t o  whom we a r e i n t r o d u c e d does n o t s t r i k e us as " s a i n t l y " a t all, She  d e s p i t e her own attempts t o c r e a t e t h a t  impression.  i s c e r t a i n l y a b e a u t i f u l woman, i n t e l l i g e n t and enthu-  s i a s t i c , b u t n e i t h e r h e r p h y s i c a l appearance n o r h e r mental a b i l i t y s t r i k e us as having any e t h e r e a l q u a l i t y . not a swan among t h e d u c k l i n g s , b u t simply fortunate ducklings. chapter  She i s  one o f t h e more  The s t r o n g e s t images i n the f i r s t  p o r t r a y a healthy, blooming young g i r l e n j o y i n g a  v e r y w o r l d l y horse-back r i d e and a p p l y i n g h e r mind t o p r a c t i c a l problems o f a r c h i t e c t u r e .  Of course we q u i c k l y  d i s c o v e r t h a t Dorothea's s i t u a t i o n i s complex and t h a t she i s going through a c r i t i c a l p e r i o d i n h e r own development, but I do n o t t h i n k we ever f e e l t h a t the c o n f l i c t i n which she i s i n v o l v e d a l l o w s any b u t a p u r e l y s e c u l a r i n t e r p r e t a tion.  Dorothea's i s n o t the s t o r y o f a s a i n t s e a r c h i n g f o r  h e r c a l l i n g b u t o f a woman t r y i n g t o f i n d a p l a c e f o r h e r ' s e l f i n a world which r e f u s e s t o admit t h a t females may have a s p i r a t i o n s beyond the j o y s o f home and h e a r t h . P a r t of the excitement of the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f Rosamond i s i n d i s c o v e r i n g how much she has been a f f e c t e d  100 by the p o p u l a r n o t i o n s o f f e m i n i n i t y . so the case w i t h Dorothea.  The f i r s t  T h i s i s even more c h a p t e r s of Book I  a r e l a c e d w i t h comments about, r e f e r e n c e s t o , and d e s c r i p t i o n s o f , a s o c i e t y which i s t o t a l l y dominated by male values.  I t does n o t take much o f Mr. Brooke's s i l l y  anti-  feminism, T h e r e _ i s a l i g h t n e s s about the feminine m i n d — a touch and g o — m u s i c , the f i n e a r t s , t h a t k i n d of t h i n g — t h e y s h o u l d study those up t o a c e r t a i n p o i n t , women s h o u l d : b u t i n a l i g h t way, you know. A woman s h o u l d be a b l e t o s i t down and p l a y you o r s i n g you a good o l d E n g l i s h tune, (MM, 48) or  S i r James' b l u s t e r i n g assumptions o f male s u p e r i o r i t y , A man's mind—what t h e r e i s o f i t — h a s always the advantage o f b e i n g m a s c u l i n e — a s the s m a l l e s t b i r c h - t r e e i s o f a h i g h e r k i n d than the most s o a r i n g p a l m — a n d even h i s ignorance i s o f a sounder q u a l i t y (MM, 17)  or  many d e s c r i p t i o n s o f the Middlemarchian  behaviour  i d e a l i n feminine  , Yes b u t n o t my s t y l e o f woman i I l i k e a woman who l a y s h e r s e l f out a l i t t l e more t o p l e a s e u s . There should be a l i t t l e f i l i g r e e about a woman— something o f the c o q u e t t e . A man l i k e s a s o r t of c h a l l e n g e . The more o f a dead s e t she makes a t you the b e t t e r (MM, 6 6 )  to  make i t c l e a r t h a t the b a s i s f o r u n d e r s t a n d i n g  is  t o see h e r as an i n t e l l i g e n t , v i b r a n t woman caught  w i t h i n tiie l i m i t a t i o n s o f a p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y .  Dorothea  True,  in  Dorothea's case i t i s a s i l l y p a t r i a r c h y t h a t she has  to  confront.  or  S i r James i s never i n t e n d e d t o l e s s e n our sympathy w i t h  But E l i o t ' s humorous p r e s e n t a t i o n o f Mr. Brooke  Dorothea's f r u s t r a t i o n s .  I n t h i s case she uses humour t o  101 r e v e a l how  l u d i c r o u s many o f the u s u a l assumptions o f male  superiority are. at  However, E l i o t o f t e n d i r e c t s her s a t i r e  Dorothea and I w i l l d i s c u s s the purpose and e f f e c t o f  t h i s l a t e r i n the c h a p t e r . A l t h o u g h Rosamond has c e r t a i n l y been a f f e c t e d by a pat r i a r c h a l environment, she h e r s e l f remains l a r g e l y scious of i t s powerful i n f l u e n c e .  uncon-  She has o n l y the c l e v e r -  ness t o adapt h e r s e l f c o m p l e t e l y t o the p o p u l a r v a l u e s — not to  the i n t e l l i g e n c e t o see how p e r s o n a l development  they may  s t u l t i f y i n g and be.  destructive  Dorothea, on the  o t h e r hand, f e e l s d i r e c t l y the p r e s s u r e s to conform t o a certain  "feminine" stereotype.  While Rosamond s i m p l y remains  trapped, Dorothea s t r u g g l e s t o f i n d more meaning and a w i d e r scope f o r a c t i o n than i s u s u a l l y p e r m i t t e d a woman» For a l o n g time she had been oppressed by the i n d e f i n i t e n e s s which hung i n her mind, l i k e a t h i c k summer haze, over, a l l h e r d e s i r e t o make her l i f e g r e a t l y e f f e c t i v e . What c o u l d she do, what ought she t o d o ? — s h e , h a r d l y more than a budding woman, b u t y e t w i t h an a c t i v e c o n s c i e n c e and a g r e a t mental need, n o t t o be s a t i s f i e d by a g i r l i s h i n s t r u c t i o n comparable t o the n i b b l i n g s and judgments o f a d i s c u r s i v e mouse. With some endowment o f c o n c e i t , she might have thought t h a t a C h r i s t i a n young l a d y o f f o r t u n e s h o u l d f i n d her i d e a l o f l i f e i n v i l l a g e c h a r i t i e s , patronage of tfte humbler c l e r g y , the p e r u s a l o f *Female S c r i p t u r e C h a r a c t e r s , * u n f o l d i n g the p r i v a t e exp e r i e n c e of S a r a under the Old D i s p e n s a t i o n and Dorcas under the New, and the c a r e o f her s o u l over h e r embroidery i n h e r own boudoir...From such contentment poor Dorothea was shut out. (MM, 20-1) However—and t h i s i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g D o r o t h e a — the  l i m i t e d n a t u r e o f h e r woman's e x p e r i e n c e w i l l  how  she t r i e s t o e s t a b l i s h an i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y .  determine Dorothea  102 may  desire a l i f e  o f her own,  concerned  w i t h more than  "the  s o l i c i t u d e s of feminine f a s h i o n " , but she i s both n a i v e and i g n o r a n t , " a f t e r t h a t toy-box h i s t o r y of the w o r l d adapted  t o young l a d i e s which had made the c h i e f p a r t o f h e r  e d u c a t i o n " (MM,  63).  I t i s n o t s u r p r i s i n g t h a t i n s t e a d of  d i s c o v e r i n g some r o l e t o p l a y i n the r e a l world  (she  simply  does n o t have the mental freedom t o see h e r s e l f as a d o c t o r or  b u s i n e s s person as Lydgate  f i n d s her way  of Caleb Garth can) Dorothea  out i n a k i n d of r e l i g i o u s enthusiasm.  Like  many o t h e r f r u s t r a t e d young women she s a t i s f i e s h e r in  ambitions  i m a g i n i n g h e r s e l f i n the r o l e of s a i n t or martyr, Her mind was t h e o r e t i c , and yearned by i t s nature a f t e r some l o f t y c o n c e p t i o n o f the w o r l d which might f r a n k l y i n c l u d e the p a r i s h of T i p t o n and h e r own r u l e of conduct t h e r e ; she was enamoured of i n t e n s i t y and g r e a t n e s s and r a s h i n embracing whatever seemed t o h e r t o have those a s p e c t s ; l i k e l y t o seek martyrdom a f t e r a l l i n a q u a r t e r where she had n o t sought i t . (MM, 6 ) L e a v i n g a s i d e f o r the moment t h a t l a s t phrase,  g e s t i n g E l i o t ' s own  a t t r a c t i o n t o the female martyr  (which i s , a f t e r a l l ,  o n l y the r e v e r s e s i d e of the  sugideal feminine  mystique o f which Rosamond's v i c i o u s c o q u e t t i s h n e s s i s the obverse) the problem w i t h Dorothea's a l t r u i s m i s t h a t i t is  first  a way  of s a t i s f y i n g h e r own  needs and o n l y  d a r i l y d i r e c t e d towards s e r v i n g o t h e r s .  secon-  Thus when she  finds  out S i r James' double motive i n s u p p o r t i n g her c o t t a g e b u i l d i n g she abandons n o t o n l y the u n f o r t u n a t e b u t a l s o the c o t t a g e s themselves they were i n t e n d e d .  baronet  and the peasants  Although E l i o t ' s c r i t i c i s m of  f o r whom Dorothea,  103  i n t h i s i n s t a n c e and o t h e r s , i s always g e n t l e and humorous, the development  often  of t h i s e g o i s t i c side of her  s e a r c h f o r s e l f w i l l s t i l l be one o f the main concerns of the n o v e l . A l t h o u g h Dorothea's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Casaubon  may  be concerned on one l e v e l w i t h the c o n f l i c t between a woman's d e s i r e f o r p e r s o n a l  self-fulfillment  I t was n o t e n t i r e l y out o f d e v o t i o n t o h e r f u t u r e husband t h a t she wished t o know L a t i n and Greek. Those p r o v i n c e s o f masculine knowledge seemed t o her a standing-ground from which a l l t r u t h c o u l d be seen more t r u l y . . . s h e had n o t reached t h a t p o i n t o f r e n u n c i a t i o n a t which she would have been s a t i s f i e d w i t h h a v i n g a wise husbandi she wished, poor c h i l d , t o be wise h e r s e l f . (MM,W and a man's r e f u s a l t o r e c o g n i z e t h a t r i g h t , the g r e a t charm o f y o u r sex i s i t s c a p a b i l i t y o f an a r d e n t s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g a f f e c t i o n and h e r e i n we see i t s f i t n e s s t o round and complete the e x i s t e n c e o f our own. (MM, 37) a t t h i s stage o f Dorothea's development E l i o t i s more concerned t h a t Dorothea must r e c o g n i z e and d e a l w i t h her egoism.  own  Dorothea has e n t e r e d marriage w i t h the most roman-  t i c i d e a l s o f s e r v i c e and d e v o t i o n i Dorothea s a i d t o h e r s e l f t h a t Mr. Casaubon was the most i n t e r e s t i n g man she had ever seen, n o t e x c e p t i n g Monsieur L i r e t , the Vaudois clergyman who had g i v e n c o n f e r e n c e s on the h i s t o r y o f the Waldenses. To r e c o n s t r u c t a p a s t w o r l d , d o u b t l e s s w i t h a view t o the h i g h e s t purposes of t r u t h — what a work t o be i n any way p r e s e n t a t , t o a s s i s t i n , though o n l y as a lamp-holderI (MM, 13) She now  must l e a r n the r e a l meaning o f the vow  someone i n s i c k n e s s and i n h e a l t h t  to " c h e r i s h "  104 She was as b l i n d t o h i s inward t r o u b l e s as he t o h e r s j she had not y e t l e a r n e d those hidden c o n f l i c t s i n her husband which c l a i m our p i t y . She had n o t y e t l i s t e n e d p a t i e n t l y to h i s h e a r t b e a t s but o n l y f e l t t h a t her own was beating v i o l e n t l y . (MM, 148-9) Thus when Dorothea submits to Casaubon's demands, outrageous as  they may  be,  i t i s c l e a r as i t n e v e r was  s i t u a t i o n between Maggie and t h a t Dorothea i s not  Tom  Mill  on the  Floss  c a p i t u l a t i n g to the p a t r i a r c h a l system,  but i s r a t h e r s i m p l y a c c e p t i n g human b e i n g has  i n The  i n the s i m i l a r  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s t h a t  one  towards a n o t h e r . (vii)  Dorothea's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Casaubon c o u l d been a r e p e t i t i o n of the Tom  and  Maggie s t o r y .  e a s i l y have But  important f a c t o r s change the p e r s p e c t i v e  from which  i n t e r p r e t t h i s male-female a s s o c i a t i o n .  First,  i s t r e a t e d w i t h much more depth than Tom; i n The  M i l l on the  several we  Casaubon  there  i s nothing  F l o s s t o compare w i t h E l i o t • ' s famous  p r e l u d e to her a n a l y s i s o f Casaubon's s i t u a t i o n , but why always Dorothea? Was her p o i n t o f view the o n l y p o s s i b l e one w i t h regard to t h i s m a r r i a g e ? (MM, 205) We  r a r e l y see much more i n Tom  to Maggie but we  than a g g r e s s i v e  insensitivity  e n t e r f a r enough i n t o Casaubon's mind  to  understand t h a t his. male chauvinism i s c l e a r l y the r e s u l t of massive i n s e c u r i t y about h i s own t u a l and  powers, b o t h  intellec-  sexualt S u s p i c i o n and j e a l o u s y of W i l l L a d i s l a w ' s i n t e n t i o n s , s u s p i c i o n and j e a l o u s y of Dorothea's im-  105 p r e s s i o n s , were c o n s t a n t l y a t t h e i r weaving work. I t would be q u i t e u n j u s t to him to suppose t h a t he c o u l d have entered i n t o any coarse m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Dorotheai h i s own h a b i t s of mind and conduct q u i t e as much as the open e l e v a t i o n of h e r nature, saved him from any such m i s t a k e . What he was j e a l o u s of was her o p i n i o n , the sway t h a t might be g i v e n t o her ardent mind i n i t s judgments and the f u t u r e p o s s i b i l i t i e s t o which these might l e a d her. As to W i l l , though u n t i l h i s l a s t d e f i a n t l e t t e r he had n o t h i n g d e f i n i t e which he would choose f o r m a l l y t o a l l e g e a g a i n s t him, he f e l t h i m s e l f warranted i n b e l i e v i n g t h a t he was capable of any d e s i g n which c o u l d f a s c i n a t e a r e b e l l i o u s temper and an u n d i s c i p l i n e d i m p u l s i v e n e s s . (MM, 307) Thus Dorothea can respond t o Casaubon's p e r s o n a l i t y a t a more complex l e v e l than Maggie can w i t h Tom. because of t h i s i n - d e p t h  I t i s also  p o r t r a i t of Casaubon t h a t we  can  a c c e p t more e a s i l y E l i o t ' s c r i t i c i s m o f Dorothea's egoism. In The was  M i l l i t was  anything  oppression  difficult  to f e e l t h a t Maggie's egoism  but a h e a l t h y r e a c t i o n t o her  a t the hands of  Tom.  On a more b a s i c l e v e l , tone between the two  unrelieved  there i s a g r e a t d i f f e r e n c e i n  stories.  E l i o t presents  s i t u a t i o n f a r l e s s melodramatically There i s none o f Maggie's r a t h e r  Dorothea's  than she d i d Maggie's.  nauseating  I have r e c e i v e d the Cross, I have r e c e i v e d i t from thy hand: I w i l l bear i t , and bear i t t i l l death, as Thou h a s t l a i d i t upon me. (MF, 563) Dorothea makes her c h o i c e knowledge t h a t she  t o submit to Casaubon w i t h  i s saying  "'yes* to her own  full  doomt"  She saw c l e a r l y enough the whole s i t u a t i o n y e t she was f e t t e r e d i she c o u l d not smite the s t r i c k e n soul that entreated hers. I f that were weakness, Dorothea was weak. (MM, 353)  106 It  i s c l e a r , as i t was n o t i n The M i l l on. the F l o s s ,  that  Dorothea t r u l y submits to the t i e s o f a f f e c t i o n and sympathy. She i s n o t , l i k e Maggie b e i n g f o r c e d by both the male c h a r a c t e r and E l i o t i n t o the r o l e o f female m a r t y r . N e i t h e r t h e law n o r the world's o p i n i o n compelled her t o t h i s — o n l y h e r husband's n a t u r e and h e r own compassion, o n l y the i d e a l and n o t the r e a l -yoke o f m a r r i a g e . (MM, 3 5 3 ) If for to val  Dorothea had been s a y i n g "'yes', t o h e r own doom"  the r e s t o f h e r l i f e i t would have been d i f f i c u l t n o t i n t e r p r e t h e r submission t o Casaubon  as E l i o t ' s  appro-  o f the t r a d i t i o n a l i d e a l o f f e m i n i n e martyrdom.  f o r t u n a t e l y f o r b o t h Dorothea and t h e n o v e l , Casaubon b e f o r e she can t e l l him o f h e r d e c i s i o n . the  p o i n t where Maggie's  But dies  And so, j u s t a t *  s t o r y ends, Dorothea's l i f e be-  gins again. (viii) D u r i n g the e i g h t e e n months o f h e r marriage t o Casaubon, Dorothea has t o come t o terms w i t h her egoism, b u t the p r o b lem o f t h e o t h e r s i d e o f h e r s e a r c h f o r s e l f - i d e n t i t y , the need f o r some g r e a t e r meaning i n h e r l i f e  than i s u s u a l l y  a l l o w e d t o women, s t i l l remains t o be r e s o l v e d . d i s c o v e r s the terms o f Casaubon's  When she  w i l l , Dorothea f e e l s r e -  l e a s e d from the t o t a l s e l f - s u p p r e s s i o n which he had demanded of  hen Bound by a pledge g i v e n from the depths o f her p i t y , she would have been capable of u n d e r t a k i n g a t o i l which h e r judgment whispered was v a i n f o r a l l uses except t h a t c o n s e c r a t i o n o f f a i t h f u l n e s s  107  which i s a supreme use. But now her judgment, i n s t e a d o f b e i n g c o n t r o l l e d by duteous d e v o t i o n , was made a c t i v e by the e m b i t t e r i n g d i s c o v e r y t h a t i n her p a s t union there had l u r k e d the hidden a l i e n a t i o n of s e c r e c y and s u s p i c i o n . (MM, 362) She  i s now  more mature, h a v i n g l e a r n e d something o f the  r e a l i t y of a woman's l i f e , I used to d e s p i s e women a l i t t l e f o r not shaping t h e i r l i v e s more, and d o i n g b e t t e r t h i n g s . I was v e r y fond of d o i n g as I l i k e d , but I have almost g i v e n i t up. (MM, 3 9 7 ) But she i s once more anxious  for a l i f e  of a c t i o n and  pur-  pose, Dorothea's n a t i v e s t r e n g t h of w i l l was no l o n g e r a l l c o n v e r t e d i n t o r e s o l u t e submission. (MM, 3 9 1 ) Here, however, Dorothea runs up a g a i n s t e x a c t l y the same b a r r i e r s t o her freedom she encountered I n the second phase o f h e r s t o r y we  before her  are back to the  and the themes t h a t so c o n t r o l l e d the f i r s t Book I . to  marriage. context  chapters  of  There i s s t i l l n o t h i n g f o r Dorothea t o doj she  face a l i f e  of " m o t i v e l e s s ease"  plays d r a s t i c a l l y limited r o l e s .  (MM,  One  has  3 9 * 0 where shfc  i s the a d o r i n g aunt t o  her nephew A r t h u r 1 A f t e r t h r e e months F r e s h i t t had become r a t h e r o p p r e s s i v e , t o s i t l i k e a model f o r S a i n t C a t h e r i n e l o o k i n g r a p t u r o u s l y a t C e l i a ' s baby would n o t do f o r many hours i n the day, and to remain i n t h a t momentous babe's presence w i t h p e r s i s t e n t d i s r e gard was a course t h a t c o u l d n o t have been t o l e r a t e d i n a c h i l d l e s s s i s t e r . . . t o an aunt who does not r e c o g n i z e her i n f a n t nephew as Bouddha, and has n o t h i n g to do f o r him but t o admire, h i s behaviour i s apt to appear monotonous, and the i n t e r e s t of watching him e x h a u s t i b l e . (MM, 3 9 0 ) Another i s the widow i n s e a r c h of a husband, and Mrs.  Cadwal-  108 l a d d e r i s more than w i l l i n g to g i v e h e r a s s i s t a n c e . I t w i l l be w e l l f o r her t o marry a g a i n as soon as i t i s proper, i f one c o u l d g e t her among the r i g h t p e o p l e . Of course the Chettams would n o t wish i t . But I see c l e a r l y a husband i s the b e s t t h i n g t o keep her i n o r d e r . I f we were n o t so poor I would i n v i t e Lord T r i t o n . He w i l l be marq u i s some day, and t h e r e i s no denying t h a t she would make a good marchioness: she l o o k s handsomer than e v e r i n her mourning. (MM, 392) Sir  James would n o t a l l o w her even t h i s freedom, and i n h i s  s e n t i m e n t a l way  he p r e f e r s t o imagine her as pure and  un-  touched i To h i s s e c r e t f e e l i n g , t h e r e was something r e p u l s i v e i n a woman's second marriage, and no match would p r e v e n t him from s e e i n g i t a s o r t o f desec r a t i o n f o r Dorothea. He was aware t h a t the w o r l d would r e g a r d such a sentiment as p r e p o s t e r o u s , e s p e c i a l l y i n r e l a t i o n t o a woman o f one-andtwenty: the p r a c t i c e ' of "the w o r l d " b e i n g t o t r e a t of a young widow's second marriage as c e r t a i n and p r o b a b l y near, and t o s m i l e w i t h meaning i f the widow a c t s a c c o r d i n g l y . But i f Dorothea d i d choose to espouse her s o l i t u d e , he f e l t t h a t the r e s o l u t i o n would w e l l become h e r . (MM, 401-2) E l i o t ' s s o l u t i o n f o r Dorothea i s W i l l L a d i s l a w and second m a r r i a g e .  Although t h i s c r e a t e s d e f i n i t e  a  theoretical  and a e s t h e t i c problems i n the n o v e l , I cannot agree w i t h the t h o u g h t l e s s judgment t o s s e d o f f by Kate M i l l e t t i n S e x u a l Politics! Dorothea's predicament i n Middlemarch i s an e l o quent p l e a t h a t a f i n e mind be a l l o w e d an o c c u p a t i o n ! but i t goes no f u r t h e r than p e t i t i o n . She m a r r i e s W i l l L a d i s l a w and can expect no more of l i f e than the d i s c o v e r y o f a good companion whom she can s e r v e as s e c r e t a r y . l° Such a c r i t i c i s m does not take i n t o account Dorothea's tory.  I f she does not g a i n f u l l  his-  emancipation by m a r r y i n g  109  W i l l , she g a i n s a t l e a s t . a measure o f p e r s o n a l f u l f i l m e n t she c o u l d n o t have had otherwise.  Had she remained s i n g l e h e r  l i f e would have been even more f r u s t r a t i n g .  She i s s t i l l t o o  i g n o r a n t and the world o f Middlemarch t o o narrow f o r h e r t o a c c o m p l i s h a n y t h i n g on h e r own. most romantic  She has o n l y the vaguest and  i d e a s o f what she might do«  I have d e l i g h t f u l p l a n s . I should l i k e t o take a g r e a t d e a l o f l a n d and d r a i n i t and make a l i t t l e colony, where everybody should work and a l l the work should be done w e l l . I should know every one o f the people and be t h e i r f r i e n d . (MM, 401) And  she w i l l c e r t a i n l y n o t f i n d much s u p p o r t i n a s m a l l  c o u n t r y town were, as C e l i a puts i t of course men know b e s t about e v e r y t h i n g , except what women know b e t t e r . . . a b o u t b a b i e s and t h i n g s . (MM. 5 3 9 ) C e r t a i n l y , a confirmed marriage  ideal.  f e m i n i s t wouldranot  f i n d the  I n f a c t , i t i s i n a sense the r e l a t i o n s h i p -  w i t h Casaubon i n m i n i a t u r e .  Dorothea s t i l l  i n s i s t s on s e e i n g  W i l l as mentor, as someone g r e a t e r and w i s e r than  herself.  She i s a t t r a c t e d t o him because she f a n c i e s him as somewhat of  a r e b e l , an i d e a l i s t t o whom she can devote h e r e n e r g i e s , the wrongs which she f e l t t h a t W i l l had, r e c e i v e d from h e r husband, and the e x t e r n a l c o n d i t i o n s which t o o t h e r s were grounds f o r s l i g h t i n g him, o n l y gave t h e more t e n a c i t y t o h e r a f f e c t i o n and a d m i r i n g judgment. (MM, 5 6 6 )  But t h e r e a r e i m p o r t a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between h e r marriage to  Casaubon and W i l l whichimake the l a t t e r more a c c e p t a b l e .  If  W i l l has always been somewhat o f a r e b e l , so has Doro-  thea i i t g i v e s them a k i n d o f e q u a l i t y t h a t she never had w i t h  110 Casaubon.  Furthermore t h e r e i s i n t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h  W i l l an o u t l e t f o r Dorothea's r e p r e s s e d s e x u a l i t y . in  Kate M i l l e t ' s terms s e x u a l f u l f i l l m e n t may  Though  have l e s s  v a l u e than s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n through meaningful work, i t is  f o r Dorothea a t l e a s t more than the complete  f i c e on which E l i o t i n s i s t s f o r Maggie  self-sacri-  Tulliver.  The marriage i s d i s t u r b i n g , however, m o s t l y because E l i o t i n f a c t seems t o be s a y i n g t h a t t h e r e i n l i e s the comp l e t e answer t o the d i f f i c u l t i e s situation.  o f Dorothea's and a woman's  She suggests i n the F i n a l e  that  many who knew her, thought i t a p i t y t h a t so subs t a n t i v e and r a r e a c r e a t u r e s h o u l d have been absorbed i n t o the l i f e o f another, and be o n l y known i n a c e r t a i n c i r c l e as a w i f e and mother. (MM, 611) But the comment i s a s c r i b e d t o o t h e r s and n o t h e r s e l f . in  the statement f o l l o w i n g the above q u o t a t i o n , she  And  adroitly  a v o i d s the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f answering the q u e s t i o n s she h e r s e l f posed a t the b e g i n n i n g of the novel« But no one s t a t e d e x a c t l y what e l s e t h a t was i n her power she ought r a t h e r t o have d o n e — n o t even S i r James Chettham, who went no f u r t h e r than t h e i n e g a t i v e p r e s c r i p t i o n t h a t she ought n o t t o have m a r r i e d W i l l L a d i s l a w . (MM, 611) No doubt t h e r e i s l i t t l e e l s e t h a t Dorothea c o u l d have done? but  t h a t v e r y f a c t i m p l i e s a severe c r i t i c i s m of M i d d l e -  marchian i d e a s about women which E l i o t has r e f u s e d t o carry. to  a conclusion.  In the f i r s t  e d i t i o n o f the n o v e l E l i o t d i d  draw a t t e n t i o n t o t h i s v e r y p o i n t , Among the many remarks passed on her m i s t a k e s , i t was never s a i d i n the neighbourhood of Middlemarch  Ill t h a t such mistakes c o u l d n o t have happened i f the s o c i e t y i n t o which she was horn had n o t s m i l e d on p r o p o s i t i o n s o f marriage from a s i c k l y man t o a g i r l l e s s than h a l f h i s own age-on modes o f e d u c a t i o n which make a woman's knowledge another name f o r motley i g n o r a n c e — on r u l e s o f conduct which a r e i n f l a t c o n t r a d i c t i o n w i t h i t s own l o u d l y - a s s e r t e d b e l i e f s . But i n the e d i t i o n o f 1874 t h i s passage was d e l e t e d .  Barbara  Hardy says t h a t by t h i s change "any s u g g e s t i o n o f a f e m i n i s t moral i s c o n t r o l l e d and extended by the complex p l o t ,  which  puts Dorothea i n h e r p l a c e as an example l e s s o f a f e m i n i n e 11 problem  than o f the f r u s t r a t i o n s o f the human c o n d i t i o n . "  But I t h i n k , e s p e c i a l l y i n Dorothea's  case the d i s t i n c t i o n  between the human and the feminine s i t u a t i o n i s a m i s l e a d i n g one.  Granted t h e r e a r e many a s p e c t s t o Dorothea's  story,  but a t l e a s t one o f them i s h e r s i t u a t i o n as a woman and the  terms i n which i t i s framed do demand a f e m i n i s t  tion.  But B a r b a r a Hardy's  solu-  statement i g n o r e s the impact o f  b o t h the f i r s t few c h a p t e r s o f Middlemarch  and t h e s i t u a t i o n  i n which Dorothea f i n d s h e r s e l f a f t e r Casaubon's d e a t h .  To  Dorothea's p o i g n a n t p l e a o f "What can I do?" E l i o t i s n o t g i v i n g an answer t o the human c o n d i t i o n b u t the a n t i - f e m i n i s t answer t o the "woman s i t u a t i o n " — l o v e , marriage and motherhood.  True, Dorothea goes through some agony b e f o r e  she can have W i l l L a d i s l a w b u t I would suggest t h a t the antagonism  o f h e r f a m i l y towards him and the shock o f s e e i n g  W i l l w i t h Rosamond a r e no more s i g n i f i c a n t i n t h e i r  effect  than the u s u a l o b s t a c l e s the f a m i l i a r romantic h e r o i n e has to  overcome b e f o r e she can "get h e r man" and l i v e  happily  112 ever a f t e r . Though the above may  be a r a t h e r s i m p l i s t i c i n t e r p r e -  t a t i o n o f the meaning o f Dorothea and W i l l ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p , i t i s o n l y r e i n f o r c e d by the tone w i t h which E l i o t t r e a t s t h e i r romance. the two ty.  And  romance i t i s .  The meetings between  f u t u r e l o v e r s are f i l l e d w i t h t e d i o u s  sentimentali-  Dorothea i s f o r e v e r gushing, "Oh my l i f e i s v e r y s i m p l e , " s a i d Dorothea, her l i p s c u r l i n g w i t h an e x q u i s i t e s m i l e , which i r r i d a t e d her melancholy. "I am always a t Lowick." "That i s a d r e a d f u l imprisonment," s a i d W i l l , impetuously. "No, don't t h i n k t h a t , " s a i d Dorothea. "I have no l o n g i n g s . " He d i d not speak, but she r e p l i e d t o some change i n h i s e x p r e s s i o n . "I mean, f o r m y s e l f . Except t h a t I should l i k e n o t t o have so much more than my share w i t h o u t d o i n g a n y t h i n g for others. But I have a b e l i e f o f my own and i t comforts me." "What i s t h a t ? " s a i d W i l l , r a t h e r j e a l o u s o f the b e l i e f . "That by d e s i r i n g what i s p e r f e c t l y good, even ~ when we don't q u i t e know what i t i s and cannot do what we would, we are p a r t o f the d i v i n e power a g a i n s t e v i l — w i d e n i n g the s k i r t s of l i g h t and mak i n g the s t r u g g l e w i t h darkness narrower." (MM, 28?)  For h i s p a r t , W i l l i s i n a c o n s t a n t  s t a t e of  worshipful  adorationi she was n o t c o l d l y c l e v e r and d i r e c t l y s a t i r i c a l , but a d o r a b l y simple and f u l l of f e e l i n g . She was an a n g e l b e g u i l e d . I t would be a unique d e l i g h t to w a i t and watch f o r the melodious fragments i n which h e r h e a r t and s o u l came f o r t h so d i r e c t l y and i n g e n u o u s l y . (MM, 155) And  through i t a l l the a u t h o r l o o k s i n d u l g e n t l y  on:  T h e i r young d e l i g h t i n speaking t o each other, and s a y i n g what no one e l s e would care t o hear, was f o r e v e r ended and become a t r e a s u r e of the past. For t h i s v e r y reason she dwelt on i t  113  w i t h o u t inward check. That unique happiness t o o was dead, and i n i t s shadowed s i l e n t chamber she might vent the p a s s i o n a t e g r i e f which she h e r s e l f wondered at...She d i d n o t know t h a t i t was Love who had come t o h e r b r i e f l y , as i n a dream b e f o r e awakening, w i t h the hues o f morning on h i s w i n g s — t h a t i t was Love t o whom she was sobbing h e r f a r e w e l l as h i s image was banished by the b l a m e l e s s r i g o u r o f i r r e s i s t a b l e day. (MM, 3 9 9 ) Even the i m p l i e d s e x u a l i t y o f the a f f a i r i s n o t v e r y factory.  I t i s hard t o b e l i e v e t h a t Dorothea's  satis-  needs  w i l l be f u l f i l l e d i n a marriage where the p a r t n e r s a r e more o f t e n r e f e r r e d t o as c h i l d r e n r a t h e r than as r e s p o n s i b l e a d u l t s s e e k i n g a mature r e l a t i o n s h i p i They were l o o k i n g a t each o t h e r l i k e two fond c h i l d r e n who were t a l k i n g c o n f i d e n t i a l l y o f b i r d s (MM, 287) W i l l f o l l o w e d her, s e i z i n g h e r hand w i t h a spasmodic movements and so they stood, w i t h t h e i r hands c l a s p e d , l i k e two c h i l d r e n , l o o k i n g out on the storm,..(MM, (MM, 5 9 3 ) T h i s second q u o t a t i o n , taken from the c o u p l e ' s engagement scene, may be a d i r e c t r e f e r e n c e t o t h e two c h i l d r e n imaged in  t h e "Prelude", b u t does t h i s s a t i s f a c t o r i l y answer the  doubts we may have about t h i s marriage as the answer t o Dorothea's  frustrations?  She may s t i l l be n a i v e , b u t s u r e l y  the e x p e r i e n c e o f h e r f i r s t marriage has matured h e r enough t h a t we r e g a r d h e r as a woman and n o t a mere g i r l .  I f the  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f h e r and W i l l as c h i l d r e n were s a t i r i c o r i r o n i c t h e r e would be no d i f f i c u l t y ^ b u t n e i t h e r o f the scenes quoted above has any such o v e r t o n e s .  On the c o n t r a r y ,  the a u t h o r - o n l o o k e r p r e s e n t s these i n c i d e n t s w i t h a m i s t y eyed i n d u l g e n c e t h a t c o m p l e t e l y i g n o r e s o r a v o i d s the  114 r e a l i t i e s o f marriage.  I f Dorothea c o u l d he c r i t c i z e d i n  the f i r s t c h a p t e r s o f the n o v e l f o r i d e a l i z i n g the f a u l t i s now E l i o t ' s .  marriage,  And I t h i n k t h i s i s one o f the  c l u e s t o the n o v e l ' s weakness.  The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f  Dorothea which E l i o t begins by s a t i r i z i n g — h e r n a i v e t y and d e s i r e f o r m a r t y r d o m — a r e the v e r y ones she ends by i d e a l i zing. The most d i s t r e s s i n g a s p e c t o f t h i s marriage  as a  r e s o l u t i o n t o Dorothea's s t r u g g l e f o r s e l f - i d e n t i t y i s the a t t i t u d e t o Dorothea demonstrated by both W i l l and Eliot herself.  W i l l does n o t see Dorothea as s i m p l y an  i n t e l l i g e n t womanj he i n s i s t s she i s some k i n d o f goddess. From the f i r s t , worships  L a d i s l a w p l a c e s Dorothea on a p e d e s t a l and  her t Dorothea, he s a i d t o h i m s e l f , was f o r e v e r enthroned i n h i s s o u l i no o t h e r woman c o u l d s i t h i g h e r than h e r f o o t s t o o l . (MM, 3 4 4 )  Though E l i o t o f t e n views L a d i s l a w i r o n i c a l l y ,  "a k i n d o f  S h e l l e y you know" (MM, 2 6 3 ) , she u s u a l l y concurs  completely  i n h i s image o f Dorothea as a r a r i f i e d u n e a r t h l y c r e a t u r e and l i k e him, i n s i s t s on a s c r i b i n g r e l i g i o u s to  greatness  hen I t was b e a u t i f u l t o see how Dorothea's eyes turned w i t h w i f e l y a n x i e t y and b e s e e c h i n g t o Mr. Casaubont she would have l o s t some o f h e r h a l o i f she had been w i t h o u t t h a t duteous p r e o c c u p a t i o n . (MM, 1 6 2 ) Sometimes when Dorothea was i n company, t h e r e seemed t o be as complete an a i r o f repose about her as i f she had been a p i c t u r e o f Santa Barb a r a l o o k i n g out from h e r tower i n t o the c l e a r a i r . (MM, 6 5 )  115 Such o v e r l y romantic  d e s c r i p t i o n s are e a s i l y  c i z e d on the grounds o f sentiment a l o n e .  criti-  However, the more  i m p o r t a n t problem i s t h a t they a r e s e r i o u s l y i n t e n d e d as precisely illustrative  o f one o f the supposed themes o f  the n o v e l — t h e S a i n t Theresa image i n t r o d u c e d i n "The P r e l u d e . " But r e g a r d l e s s o f what E l i o t ' s i n t e n t i o n may be, the S a i n t Theresa theme s i m p l y does n o t work and i s more than a n y t h i n g e l s e an i r r i t a t i n g note t h a t keeps c r o p p i n g up as the a c t i o n p r o g r e s s e s .  F o r those g o d d e s s - l i k e images  are i n d i r e c t c o n t r a d i c t i o n t o the b l e a k b u t h i g h l y p i c t u r e o f Dorothea the i n t e l l i g e n t , make some sense i s trapped.  realistic  c o n s t r u c t e d as the n o v e l p r o g r e s s e s —  e n t h u s i a s t i c , y e t t y p i c a l woman t r y i n g t o o u t o f t h e p a t r i a r c h a l w o r l d i n which she  E l i o t i n s i s t s on g i v i n g g r e a t n e s s t o Dorothea  when i t has been the main f o r c e o f the n o v e l t o demand h e r equality.  Take, f o r i n s t a n c e , W i l l ' s a t t i t u d e  towards  Dorotheai W i l l ' s a d m i r a t i o n was accompanied w i t h a c h i l l i n g sense o f remoteness. A man i s seldom ashamed o f f e e l i n g t h a t he cannot l o v e a woman so w e l l when he sees a c e r t a i n g r e a t n e s s i n h e r j n a t u r e h a v i n g i n t e n d e d g r e a t n e s s f o r men. (MM, 285) Or a g a i n , comments l i k e L y d g a t e ' S J T h i s young c r e a t u r e has a h e a r t l a r g e enough f o r the V i r g i n Mary. She e v i d e n t l y t h i n k s n o t h i n g of h e r own f u t u r e , and would pledge away h a l f h e r income a t once, as i f she wanted n o t h i n g f o r h e r s e l f b u t a c h a i r t o s i t i n from which she can l o o k down w i t h those c l e a r eyes a t the poor m o r t a l s who pray t o h e r . She seems t o have what I never saw i n any woman b e f o r e — a f o u n t a i n o f f r i e n d s h i p towards m e n — a man can make a f r i e n d o f h e r . (MM, 5 6 3 )  116  These words p u t Dorothea n o t  " b e s i d e " b u t "above" the males.  In passages such a s t h e above the n o v e l l o s e s touch w i t h the v e r a c i t y o f the Dorothea p o r t r a i t by changing her from Woman t o Madonna.  I t becomes d i s t r e s s i n g l y c l e a r t h a t  E l i o t meant t o c r i t i c i z e  o n l y t h e e g o i s t i c s i d e o f Dorothea's  d e s i r e f o r martyrdom; o f the martyrdom i t s e l f , of f e m i n i n e behaviour,  role  she f u l l y  as an i d e a l  approves.  E l i o t ' s l a p s e s i n t o i d e a l i s m and sentiment  i n her  por-  t r a y a l o f Dorothea are t h e more obvious because e a r l i e r i n the n o v e l these same a s p e c t s o f Dorothea have been p r e s e n t e d i n a humorous o r s a t i r i c a l manner. Daiches  Although,  as David  suggests, i t i s sometimes n o t c l e a r whether E l i o t i s  b e i n g i r o n i c or compassionate (he c i t e s as an example "the d i f f e r e n t i n f l e c t i o n s w i t h which the word 'poor' i s used i n 12 i t s f r e q u e n t a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the main c h a r a c t e r s "  ) there  i s no doubt t h a t i n the e a r l y c h a p t e r s o f Dorothea's h i s t o r y we are meant t o view h e r v a r i o u s r e l i g i o u s p o s t u r i n g s w i t h some amusement.  T h i s use o f humour does not mean t h a t we  l o s e i n t e r e s t i n Dorothea o r t h a t the motives behind h e r a c t i o n s are any l e s s v a l i d , but we are shown how f a r from h e r r e a l needs i s h e r d e s i r e f o r r e l i g i o u s martrydom.  As  I have shown above and e a r l i e r i n t h i s chapter, d e s p i t e t h e s u g g e s t i o n s o f the " P r e l u d e , " we see Dorothea n o t as an e x t r a o r d i n a r y person, b u t as an i n t e l l i g e n t woman f r u s t r a t e d by the l i m i t s  of a p a t r i a r c h a l society.  "needs" i s a l i f e  To us, what she  o f a c t i o n i n the r e a l world, n o t a p l a c e  117 in  the heavenly c h o i r .  Her n a i v e  d u t i e s of marriage, her c o n s t a n t and  i d e a s about the  d e s i r e to "give up"  f e e l s a t remembering h i s or her own  adolescent  p a r t of our l a u g h t e r .  often  fantasies.  element of egoism, Dorothea's d e s i r e f o r some  r e c o g n i t i o n through her  her  things  her r a t h e r g r a n d i o s e schemes f o r the betterment o f man-  k i n d have the k i n d o f humour i n them t h a t an a d u l t  The  glorious  personal  "good works," a l s o of course forms The  problem i s E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e t o  i r o n y as p o i n t i n g up a n y t h i n g  but  see  t h i s element o f egoism.  E l i o t does not r e a l i z e the f u l l b r e a d t h of her  own  humour.  With or w i t h o u t t h a t egoism many of Dorothea's a t t i t u d e s would s t i l l be, instance,  i f not  i n the f i r s t  mother's jewels,  we  are  silly,  at least unbelievable.  chapter,  during  the d i v i s i o n o f  her  s u r e l y meant t o smile a l i t t l e  Dorothea's entrapment i n h e r own renouncing a l l worldly  For  at  b e l i e f i n the n e c e s s i t y  of  pleasure!  "Yes! I w i l l keep t h e s e — t h i s r i n g and b r a c e l e t , " s a i d Dorothea. Then, l e t t i n g her hand f a l l on the t a b l e , she s a i d i n another t o n e — " Y e t what m i s e r a b l e men f i n d such t h i n g s , and work a t them, and s e l l them!" She paused a g a i n , and C e l i a thought t h a t her s i s t e r was g o i n g t o renounce the ornaments, as i n c o n s i s t e n c e she ought t o do. (MM, 10) Yet n e a r the  end  her famous n i g h t scourging  of the n o v e l ,  a f t e r Dorothea has  spent  on the c o l d , hard f l o o r of her bedroom  h e r s e l f over her s e l f i s h d e s i r e t o have W i l l  L a d i s l a w ' s l o v e , E l i o t does not  seem t o r e c o g n i z e  d i c r o u s Dorothea becomes i n T a n t r i p p ' s manner i n which her m i s t r e s s  has  how  expostulation  passed the  nighti  luon  the  118 "Why, madam, you've never been i n bed t h i s b l e s s e d n i g h t , " b u r s t out T a n t r i p p , l o o k i n g f i r s t a t the bed and then a t Dorothea's f a c e , which i n s p i t e o f b a t h i n g had the p a l e cheeks and pink e y e l i d s o f a mater d o l o r o s a * " Y o u ' l l k i l l y o u r s e l f , you will. Anybody might t h i n k now you had a r i g h t to g i v e y o u r s e l f a l i t t l e comfort." (MM, 578) Dorothea's b e a u t i f i c r e j o i n d e r i s g i v e n i n f u l l If  t h e r e i s any  listic  joke here a t a l l ,  concern about aches and  T a n t r i p p and her  f i n d i t the other way  materia-  pains are meant t o be  b u t t of i t — n o t the s a i n t l y Dorothea. we  seriousness.  the  But f r a n k l y , I t h i n k  around, and would c o n s i d e r i t one  of the f u n n i e s t scenes i n the n o v e l were i t not t h a t a t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r moment Dorothea i s supposed t o have reached t r u e m a t u r i t y i n her s u f f e r i n g over W i l l . These p a r a l l e l scenes o f humour and occur over and  over i n the n o v e l .  gushing i d e a l i s m  I have mentioned  pre-  v i o u s l y the r e f e r e n c e s to Dorothea and W i l l as c h i l d r e n . A t the b e g i n n i n g  of the n o v e l they are both c h i l d r e n and  r e f e r e n c e s to her n a i v e t y and h i s romanticism r e v e a l i n g the m a t u r i t y each must develop. comments, presented only d i s t r e s s i n g . any  s e r i o u s l y a t the end These two  the same  of the n o v e l ,  people should not be  l o n g e r , but they a r e — t h e y  impetuosity  But  are amusing,  are  amusing  are l a u g h a b l e . W i l l ' s charming  i s wearing a b i t t h i n by t h i s p o i n t and  Doro-  thea's wide-eyed innocence makes her a mere c a r i c a t u r e o f the V i c t o r i a n image o f pure and g u i l e l e s s womanhood.  Many  of E l i o t ' s d e s c r i p t i o n s of Dorothea's p h y s i c a l appearance fall  i n t o the same p a t t e r n .  Having been t o l d of Naumann's  119 b o y i s h romanticism  we  tend to t h i n k t h a t i t i s some of t h a t  i d e a l i s m which makes him  d e s c r i b e Dorothea i n r e l i g i o u s  termsi Here stands beauty i n i t s b r e a t h i n g l i f e , w i t h the consciousness of C h r i s t i a n c e n t u r i e s i n i t s bosom. But she s h o u l d be dressed as a nun; I t h i n k she l o o k s almost what you c a l l a Quaker; I would d r e s s her as a nun i n my p i c t u r e . (MM, 140) But t h e r e i s no s a t i r e i n t e n d e d when E l i o t h e r s e l f d e s c r i b e s Dorothea i n almost the same words, she was c l a d i n Quakerish grey drapery; her l o n g c l o a k , f a s t e n e d a t the neck, was thrown backward from her arms, and one b e a u t i f u l ungloved hand p i l l o w e d her cheek, pushing somewhat backward the white beaver bonnet which made a s o r t of h a l o t o her f a c e around the simply b r a i d e d dark-brown h a i r . (MM, 140) I t i s these r e l i g i o u s r e f e r e n c e s t o Dorothea, the sense e s t a b l i s h e d p a r t i c u l a r l y a f t e r Casaubon's death t h a t Dorothea i s n o t an o r d i n a r y woman but (MM,  586),  " b e t t e r than anyone"  which weaken the f o r c e o f the n o v e l .  f o r martrydom, which we  were l e d to i n t e r p r e t as a r e a c t i o n  t o her f r u s t r a t i o n a t her i n a b i l i t y t o f i n d any f o r h e r s e l f i n a male-dominated world, as the answer to a l l her problems. i s r i g h t when he says t h a t one  And  i s now  tion  identity  being  presented  i f Arnold K e t t l e  of the c r u c i a l  the e i g h t e e n t h and n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s was consciousness  Her d e s i r e  "ideas" of  the  "growing  of women o f the n e c e s s i t y of t h e i r emancipa-  (by which i s n o t meant mere f o r m a l emancipation,  par-  l i a m e n t a r y v o t e s , e t c . ) and  the i n a b i l i t y of c l a s s s o c i e t y  t o admit such freedom," and  t h a t " i t i s from the examina-  t i o n o f such s i t u a t i o n s t h a t the a r t i s t makes c o n t a c t  120 w i t h the s t u f f and  movement of l i f e , " ^ 1  then the  conception  of Dorothea as even a p o t e n t i a l s a i n t , which puts her bove" or "outside  "a-  o f " a s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n  of her s i t u a t i o n marks a s e r i o u s f a i l u r e i n both the power and  meaning o f the  novel. (ix)  In her n o v e l s George E l i o t always seems t o s t a r t w i t h the problem o f egoism.  When she  l o o k s i n her female c h a r a c -  t e r s f o r the cause of egoism she most o f t e n f i n d s t h a t i t i s i n t i m a t e l y r e l a t e d to t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n a r e p r e s s i v e maledominated s o c i e t y — w h e t h e r the c h a r a c t e r i s a Rosamond is  t r a i n e d i n t o s e l f i s h c o q u e t r y or a Dorothea, who  tempting t o make a m e a n i n g f u l l i f e b l i n d e d t o the needs o f o t h e r s .  who  in at-  f o r herself, i s often  But whatever the case,  on©  cannot h e l p f e e l i n g t h a t i n working out s o l u t i o n s f o r her female c h a r a c t e r s reconsider  the  E l i o t has  a l s o made some committment t o  t r a d t i o n a l concepts of the r i g h t s and  of women as p e o p l e .  T h i s , however, does not happen.  problems of her women c h a r a c t e r s  demand a complete  needs The  reordering  o f s o c i e t y w i t h which E l i o t cannot r e a l l y come t o terms. In h e r a n x i e t y she  sees so c l e a r l y , E l i o t  what can for  t o r e s t o r e s t a b i l i t y to the d i s r u p t e d  o n l y now  be  world  (and many other V i c t o r i a n s ) takes  c a l l e d the easy way  out.  She  calls  r e s i g n a t i o n , s e l f - s a c r i f i c e and p a s s i v i t y — q u a l i t i e s  which may  be an adequate s o l u t i o n t o the d e s t r u c t i v e  of t h e i r egoism but which s c a r c e l y p r o v i d e  side  a satisfactory  121 answer to Dorothea's attempt,  and Rosamond's v e r y  observable  need, t o break out o f the h i g h l y r e s t r i c t e d p a t t e r n s of accepted feminine  behaviour.  122 NOTES  1 I  A r n o l d K e t t l e , An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o the English. N o v e l , volume (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960), p. 188.  2  George E l i o t , Middlemarch, ed. Gordon S. Haight (Boston: The R i v e r s i d e Press, 1968), p. 610. Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s are t o t h i s e d i t i o n and are contained i n the t e x t . 3 Mary W o l l s t o n e c r a f t , "Observations on the S t a t e o f Degradat i o n t o Which Woman I s Reduced by V a r i o u s Causes," i n Women's L i b e r a t i o n and L i t e r a t u r e , ed. E l a i n e Showalter (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971), p. 10. David Daiches, George E l i o t : Middlemarch (London: Edward A r n o l d , 1963), p. 57. 5 Mary Ellmann. T h i n k i n g About Women (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968), p. 194. 6 Mary W o l l s t o n e c r a f t , "Observations", p. 16. 7 F. R. L e a v i s , The Great T r a d i t i o n (Penguin Books, 1948), p. 81. 8 Daiches, p. 27. Kate M i l l e t t , 1970), p. 89.  Sexual P o l i t i c s  (New York: Doubleday & Co.,  10 I b i d . , p. 139. 11 Barbara Hardy, The Novels o f George E l i o t : A Study i n Form (London: The Athlone Press, 1959), p. 52. 12 Daiches, p. 8. 13  K e t t l e , p. 71.  IV D a n i e l Deronda (i) I t would make a n e a t l i t t l e t h a t i n her  l a s t novel  c r i t i c a l package t o say-  George E l i o t f i n a l l y a c h i e v e s  com-  p l e t e s u c c e s s i n d e a l i n g w i t h a woman c h a r a c t e r — t h a t t h e o r e t i c a l and the F l o s s and  a r t i s t i c problems of Maggie i n The  those of Dorothea and  o f D a n i e l Deronda we  conclusion.  Mill  on  Rosamond i n Middlemarch  are r e s o l v e d i n the s t o r y of Gwendolen H a r l e t h . reading  the  On a  are tempted t o r e a c h  first  this  Through s u f f e r i n g Gwendolen t r a n s c e n d s the s e l -  f i s h n e s s which had  been so d e s t r u c t i v e to h e r s e l f and  otherst  she was e x p e r i e n c i n g some o f t h a t p e a c f u l melanc h o l y which comes from the r e n u n c i a t i o n of demands f o r s e l f , and from t a k i n g the o r d i n a r y good of e x i s t e n c e and e s p e c i a l l y k i n d n e s s , even from a dog, as a g i f t above e x p e c t a t i o n . * But  she  does-not i n the p r o c e s s appear t o become e i t h e r  s a i n t or m a r t y r . h e r own  This,time,  perhaps, E l i o t has  kept one  of  b a s i c assumptions about a l l female egoism i n c l e a r  view throughout the n o v e l i  t h a t i t s cause i s , a t l e a s t  t a i l l y , woman's r e p r e s s i o n i n p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y . open-ended c o n c l u s i o n  to Gwendolen's s t o r y E l i o t  In  parthe  seems t o  suggest t h a t the o l d answers f o r women—marriage, motherhood and  c h a r i t y w o r k — a r e simply  Hardy puts  it»  123  inadequate.  As  Barbara  124 Gwendolen i s n o t l i k e Maggie T u l l i v e r , whose problems are s o l v e d by death, o r l i k e the p r e c e d i n g h e r o i n e s , E s t h e r Lyon i n F e l i x H o l t o r Dorothea i n Middlemarch whose problems are s o l v e d by marriage. She stands a l o n e a t the end o f the n o v e l , f a c i n g the question-mark o f the future....Gwend o l e n i s n o t o n l y a l o n e , propped up n e i t h e r by death n o r marriage, but has t o s t a r t on a new s e t of e x p e c t a t i o n s . She has found t h a t what seemed l i k e a p o s s i b l e h a p p y - e v e r - a f t e r was i n f a c t a new and p a i n f u l b e g i n n i n g i n which many o f the t h i n g s she had l e a r n t would be l o s t , r e t e s t e d and r e d i s c o v e r e d . We are l e f t w i t h a new r e f u s a l to s i m p l i f y the n a t u r e of moral development, as w e l l as w i t h a new k i n d o f ending t o a n o v e l . I t i s an ending which l e a v e s us w i t h a t r u e sense of l i f e ' s d i f f i c u l t i e s and t h e i r f u l l c o m p l e x i t y and t o u g h n e s s . 2  "A new  r e f u s a l t o s i m p l i f y the n a t u r e of moral  does t h i s mean that i n D a n i e l Deronda we w i t h a female c h a r a c t e r who  development"—  are f i n a l l y  dealing  must f a c e the world, as an a d u l t  w i t h o u t any easy answers, who  i s n o t a r b i t r a r i l y manipulated  i n t o one o f the t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e s o f h e r sex?  Has  Eliot  f i n a l l y r e s o l v e d the c o n t r a d i c t i o n which has flawed the p r e - ^ s e n t a t i o n o f her o t h e r women c h a r a c t e r s — w h e r e so o f t e n  bril-  l i a n t a n a l y s i s o f the e f f e c t s o f male supremacy has t u r n e d i n t o worship o f the V i c t o r i a n v i s i o n o f the i d e a l woman. Almost as soon as one answer "yes" t o these q u e s t i o n s , the  s u s p i c i o n s " b e g i n t o c r o p up.  a new,  Along with Gwendolen—  complex and e x c i t i n g p o r t r a i t o f a w o m a n — E l i o t  c r e a t e d the p a i n f u l l y s t e r o t y p i c a l and h i g h l y f i g u r e of Mirah.  has  sentimentalized  E q u a l l y d i s t r e s s i n g a r e the v i r t u o u s  and  smug M e y r i c k women, c o n s t a n t l y and u n c o m p l a i n i n g l y s a c r i f i - ^ . c i n g f o r the r a t h e r s i l l y and d i l e t t a n t i s h Hans and e v e r y t h i n g D a n i e l Deronda says or does.  revering  And what about  125 Deronda h i m s e l f ?  Can  t h i s i d e a l i z e d and  highly unrepresen-  t a t i v e male r e a l l y a c t as the agent through whom Gwendolen w i l l work out her s u s p i c i o n and meetings between the two  hatred  of men?  Do not  the  have a c o n t i n u a l l y i r r i t a t i n g  and  u n f i n i s h e d q u a l i t y compared t o the immediacy o f Gwendolen's needs—is  not Deronda's c o u n s e l l i n g vague?  And  lastly,  E l i o t ' s treatment of the A l c h a r i s i , Deronda's mother, i s both c o n f u s i n g  and  ambiguous.  The A l c h a r i s i ' s s t o r y i s  almost i d e n t i c a l t o t h a t of Armgart i n the l o n g poem of same name. and  the  In b o t h cases E l i o t seems a t once sympathetic  condemnatory towards these women c h a r a c t e r s .  veals with great  She  re-  sympathy the f r u s t r a t i o n s which have f o r c e d  b o t h t o r e v o l t a g a i n s t the r e p r e s s i v e demands o f a p a t r i a r c a h l f a t h e r or l o v e r and f o r themselves.  t o attempt an independent  career  Yet she i n s i s t s t h a t t h i s k i n d or " e g o i s t i c "  r e b e l l i o n must be p u n i s h e d .  Armgart r a t h e r  melodramatically  l o s e s h e r v o i c e and  the A l c h a r i s i b e g i n s t o s u f f e r from  equally unbelievable  " a p p a r i t i o n s i n the d a r k n e s s " (DD,  The r i s i . and  treatment o f Mirah, the Meyrick f a m i l y , the  Alcha-  Deronda's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Gwendolen a l l p o i n t  t o a v e r y t r a d i t i o n a l a t t i t u d e toward women and t i o n s h i p between men  and women.  n e c e s s a r i l y weaken a n o v e l of a r t .  693),  The  the^rela-  T h i s i n i t s e l f does n o t  ( o r poem, or p l a y ) as a  piece  problem occurs when t h a t t r a d i t i o n a l view  women d i r e c t l y c o n t r a d i c t s a s t r o n g e r satsifying radical analysis.  And,  and  of  more a e s t h e t i c a l l y  as i n a l l her other  no-  126 v e l s , t h i s i s the case w i t h D a n i e l Deronda. Gwendolen, the other women c h a r a c t e r s and  Compared t o  are f l a t ,  uninteresting  r a t h e r d i s t a s t e f u l i n t h e i r p e r f e c t goodness and p u r i t y .  Even t h i s would n o t matter i f , as F.R. L e a v i s we c o u l d separate one p a r t o f the n o v e l concentrate  from the o t h e r and  on the immediate: s t o r y o f Gwendolen H a r l e t h .  T h i s i s c e r t a i n l y an a p p e a l i n g impossible.  suggests,  s o l u t i o n , but a l a s , i t i s  R e g a r d l e s s o f how i n f e r i o r the p o r t r a i t s o f  Fdrah and h e r i l k may be, t h e a t t i t u d e i n f o r m i n g  that kind  of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f woman s u b t l y c o n t r o l s t h e r e s t o f the n o v e l and u l t i m a t e l y determines the d i r e c t i o n o f Gwend o l e n ' s p r o c e s s o f growth.  As I hope t o show, B a r b a r a  Hardy i s n o t a l t o g e t h e r c o r r e c t i n h e r a n a l y s i s ; D a n i e l Deronda does n o t c o n t a i n  "a new r e f u s a l t o s i m p l i f y the  n a t u r e o f moral development."  I n the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , t h e  problems t h a t Gwendolen p r e s e n t s  are ignored  and l i k e h e r  f i c t i o n a l s i s t e r s she i s e f f e c t i v e l y abandoned by her c r e a tor. (ii) The  contention  that E l i o t turns t o t r a d i t i o n a l  ideas  about women i n working out a s o l u t i o n f o r Gwendolen has meaning o n l y i f E l i o t has e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t Gwendolen's pos i t i o n as a female i s a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g both h e r c h a r a c t e r  and a c t i o n s .  Up t o t h i s p o i n t I have  merely s t a t e d , n o t proven, t h a t t h i s i s the c a s e .  A close  127  examination "The  i s r e q u i r e d o f the f i r s t two b i l l i a n t books,  S p o i l e d C h i l d " and  "Meeting Streams" t o determine  frame o f r e f e r e n c e w i t h i n which we  the  come t o know Gwendolen  and i t s e f f e c t on our e x p e c t a t i o n s of where the n o v e l s h o u l d go. In  Chapter  Three we  saw  how  w i t h Rosamond, E l i o t  to go beneath the s u r f a c e of a type o f female p e r s o n a l i t y i s u s u a l l y accounted to  c h a r a c t e r whose  f o r by some f a c i l e  the " e v i l " s i d e o f the f e m i n i n e n a t u r e .  By  begins  reference  characterizing  Rosamond i n a c l e a r l y d e f i n e d s o c i a l system which p l a c e s l i t t l e v a l u e on women except as d e c o r a t i v e o b j e c t s , and e n t e r i n g i n t o Rosamond's c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f h e r s e l f , shows how  Rosamond's egoism has the same k i n d of  though t o a much l e s s e r degree,  as Maggie's or  In D a n i e l Deronda E l i o t goes much f u r t h e r .  by  Eliot  complexity,  Dorothea's.  As Jerome Thale  comments t For George E l i o t — a n d v e r y n e a r l y f o r E n g l i s h f i c t i o n — G w e n d o l e n H a r l e t h i s a new type, the b i t c h taken s e r i o u s l y . And i n the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y even more than i n our own time i t was extremely d i f f i c u l t f o r the a r t i s t t o f o r m u l a t e and r e n d e r a s a t i s f a c t o r y s e t of a t t i t u d e s t o wards such a c h a r a c t e r . I n Middlemarch George E l i o t was l e a r n i n g how t o triumph over h e r a f f e c t i o n f o r her c h a r a c t e r ; she succeeded most f u l l y i n Lydgate, f o r w i t h Dorothea t h e r e i s a c e r t a i n amount o f sympathy t h a t the a r t has n o t d i g e s t e d . She was l e a r n i n g a l s o i n Middlemarch how t o triumph over a v e r s i o n , and she d i d so i n the p o r t r a i t s o f Rosamond and B u l s t r o d e . Cert a i n l y the p r e s e n t a t i o n of Gwendolen has n o t h i n g of the h a r s h and a c t i n i c q u a l i t y o f H e t t y ' s i n Adam Bede. 3 The  " s e r i o u s n e s s " t o which Thale p o i n t s marks the  difference  128 between E l i o t ' s h a n d l i n g o f Rosamond and Gwendolen.  In  Rosamond t h e r e i s a t e n t a t i v e and u n f i n i s h e d i n v e s t i g a t i o n of  the b i t c h c h a r a c t e r .  With Gwendolen, E l i o t undertakes  a  f u l l e x p l o r a t i o n o f the circumstances which combine t o c r e a t e t h i s p a r t i c u l a r k i n d o f woman. Between the two c r u c i a l scenes  o f the f i r s t p a r t o f  the n o v e l — a f t e r Gwendolen f i r s t encounters  Grandcourt a t  the a r c h e r y c o n t e s t and b e f o r e she i s s i n g l e d o u t by him at  the b a l l — E l i o t pauses f o r a moment t o l e t us l i s t e n t o  the c o n v e r s a t i o n o f some o f the male members o f Gwendolen's social  circlet I t was the r u l e of these o c c a s i o n s f o r the l a d i e s and gentlemen t o dine a p a r t , so t h a t the d i n n e r might make a time o f comparative ease and r e s t f o r both. Indeed t h e gentlemen had a s e t o f a r c h e r y s t o r e i s about the e p i c u r i s m o f the l a d i e s , who had somehow been r e p o r t e d t o show a r e v o l t i n g l y masculine judgment i n v e n i s o n , even a s k i n g f o r the f a t — a p r o o f o f the f r i g h t f u l r a t e a t which c o r r u p t i o n might go on i n women, b u t f o r severe s o c i a l r e s t r a i n t . And every y e a r the amiable L o r d B r a c k enshaw, who was something o f a gourmet, mentioned Byron's o p i n i o n t h a t a woman s h o u l d never be seen e a t i n g , — i n t r o d u c i n g i t with a c o n f i d e n t i a l — •The f a c t i s ' as i f he were f o r the f i r s t time a d m i t t i n g h i s concurrence i n t h a t sentiment o f the r e f i n e d poet. (DD, 150)  Although the  t h i s i n c i d e n t i s t r e a t e d humourously i t r e i n f o r c e s  s t r o n g i m p r e s s i o n g i v e n throughout  the n o v e l o f the  degree t o which a woman's a c c e p t a b i l i t y i s determined by male i d e a s o f f e m i n i n i t y (and e q u a l l y the degree t o which male v a n i t y i s f e d by the assumption t h a t women w i l l a c t e x a c t l y as men want them t o ) . Gwendolen p a r t i c u l a r l y .  T h i s i s a f a c t o r which a f f e c t s  Her p r e c a r i o u s economic  position—  129  n o t secure enough t o assure independence nor poor enough t o n e c e s s i t a t e o b s e q u i o u s n e s s — f o r c e s her t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n the v i c i o u s V i c t o r i a n mating  game where s u r v i v a l means d o i n g  e v e r y t h i n g one can t o g a i n male a p p r o v a l , 1st  genti  What s h o u l d woman be? S i r c o n s u l t the t a s t e Of m a r r i a g e a b l e men. T h i s p l a n e t ' s s t o r e In i r o n , c o t t o n , wood o r c h e m i c a l s — A l l matter rendered t o our p l a s t i c s k i l l , Is wrought i n shapes r e s p o n s i v e t o demand The market's p u l s e makes i n d e x h i g h o r low By r u l e s u b l i m e . Our daughters must be wives And t o be wives must be what men w i l l choose Men's t a s t e i s woman's t e x t . . . . (DJD, 132)  Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n i s f u r t h e r c o m p l i c a t e d i n t h a t she is  c l e a r l y the f o c u s f o r h e r whole f a m i l y ' s hopes and  of  g r e a t e r f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y and h i g h e r s o c i a l p r e s t i g e .  is  the a t t i t u d e o f her u n c l e Gascoigne,  who  dreams This  i n d o i n g what he  f e e l s i s b e s t f o r h i s w i f e ' s r e l a t i o n s , r e g a r d s Gwendolen as more a marketable  commodity than a human b e i n g J  T h i s g i r l i s r e a l l y worth some expense* you don't o f t e n see her e q u a l . She ought t o make a f i r s t r a t e marriage, and I s h o u l d n o t be d o i n g my duty i f I spared my t r o u b l e i n h e l p i n g her f o r w a r d . (DD, 66) By her d e s c r i p t i o n o f men more menacing l e v e l ,  l i k e the R e c t o r — a n d  Grandcourt  on a much  and L u s h — E l i o t  shows  how  d e e p l y i n g r a i n e d i s the i d e a o f woman as o b j e c t . Of course Gwendolen does not c o n s c i o u s l y t h i n k o f h e r s e l f in  t h i s way.  She may  r i a g e — " t h a t she was have f e l t  a c c e p t the u l t i m a t e n e c e s s i t y o f mar* t o m a r r i e d some time or o t h e r she would  o b l i g e d t o admit"  sciously at least,  (DD,  68)—but  she does not,  t h i n k o f h e r s e l f as a v i c t i m o f a  c u l a r s o c i a l system.  con-  parti-  On the c o n t r a r y , Gwendolen n a i v e l y  be-  130 l i e v e s she h o l d s a l l the power i n male/female  relationships!  "Is i t d i f f i c u l t t o make Miss H a r l e t h understand her power?" Here Grandcourt had turned t o Mrs. Davilow who s m i l i n g g e n t l y a t h e r daughter, said— "I t h i n k she does not g e n e r a l l y s t r i k e people as slow t o u n d e r s t a n d . " "Mamma," s a i d Gwendolen, i n a d e p r e c a t i n g tone, "I am a d o r a b l y s t u p i d , and want e v e r y t h i n g e x p l a i n e d t o me—when the meaning i s p l e a s a n t . " " I f you a r e s t u p i d , I admit t h a t s t u p i d i t y i s a d o r a b l e , " r e t u r n e d Grandcourt, a f t e r the u s u a l pause, and w i t h o u t change o f tone. But c l e a r l y he knew what t o say. (DD, 155) What i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n t h i s exchange i s the d i f f e r e n c e i n our u n d e r s t a n d i n g and Gwendolen's o f Grandeourt's comment about h e r "power" o v e r him.  What he t o s s e s o f f as merely one o f  the n e c e s s a r y p r e l u d e s t o c o u r t s h i p , she r e v e l s i n as  literal  trutht Gwendolen had no sense that these men were dark enigmas t o her, o r t h a t she needed any h e l p i n drawing c o n c l u s i o n s about them—Mr. Grandcourt a t l e a s t . (DD, 1 5 9 ) A t t h i s p o i n t i n h e r l i f e Gwendolen o p e r a t e s o n l y on the l e v e l o f appearances.  She does n o t y e t understand t h a t the  f l a t t e r y and apparent power g i v e n t o women i s o f t e n mere c h i v a l r o u s compensation must e v e n t u a l l y submit.  f o r the domination to which they I n t h i s l i g h t then, h e r  l i k e Rosamond's, i s n o t r e a l l y  surprising.  But Gwendolen i s n o t stnipid and she l i k e Catherine Arrowpoint—be  egoism,  should--perhaps  a b l e to see beneath the s u r -  f a c e o f such s o c i a l games to the r e a l i t y o f her own ation.  However, she has been g i v e n almost no  situ-  assistance,  and i t would be a g r e a t d e a l t o expect o f one i n d i v d u a l that  131 alone she would be a b l e t o overcome the e f f e c t s of an ment where " i t must be remembered t h a t no one had h e r power or her g e n e r a l s u p e r i o r i t y . " (DD,  70).  environ-  disputed It is a l -  most u s e l e s s t o argue what Gwendolen s h o u l d be or should have done when a g a i n and a g a i n one gence and  enthusiasm  sees t h a t her n a t u r a l i n t e l l i -  have been g i v e n no h e a l t h y d i r e c t i o n .  As f o r f o r m a l e d u c a t i o n , Gwendolen l i k e Rosamond gone t o one  o f the  has  "showy" g i r l s ' s c h o o l s where any n a t u r a l  v a n i t y i s o n l y encouragedt That on a l l o c c a s i o n s f o r d i s p l a y she had been put foremost had o n l y deepened her sense t h a t so except i o n a l a person as h e r s e l f c o u l d h a r d l y remain i n o r d i n a r y c i r c u m s t a n c e s or i n a s o c i a l p o s i t i o n l e s s than advantageous. (DD, 5 2 ) Academic study f o r g i r l s i s thought s o c i a l p o l i s h , and what l i t t l e  o f as a k i n d o f n e c e s s a r y  o f i t Gwendolen r e c e i v e s  h a r d l y p r e p a r e s h e r f o r an a d u l t l i f e i As t o her ' e d u c a t i o n ; ' she would have admitted t h a t i t had l e f t h e r under no d i s a d v a n t a g e s . In the schoolroom h e r q u i c k mind had taken r e a d i l y t h a t s t r o n g s t a r c h o f u n e x p l a i n e d r u l e s and d i s c o n n e c t e d f a c t s which saves ignorance from any p a i n f u l sense of l i m p n e s s j and what remained o f a l l t h i n g s knowa b l e , she was c o n s c i o u s o f b e i n g s u f f i c i e n t l y a c q u a i n t e d w i t h through n o v e l s , p l a y s and poems... who can wonder i f Gwendolen f e l t ready t o manage her own d e s t i n y ? (DD, 70) F a r from b e i n g an advantage Gwendolen's c l e v e r n e s s i s o n l y a detriment i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n . completely  She has absorbed  a l l too  the s h a l l o w t e a c h i n g s of a Miss Lemon's and  understanding  of the  centric, infantine  her  " r e a l " world remains a t a h i g h l y ego-  level.  A t the b e g i n n i n g o f the n o v e l , Gwendolen i s know-  132 l e d g e a b l e enoughi she does n o t have or manages n o t to d i s p l a y , the i n e x p e r i e n c e o f the g i r l o f twenty. I f she exaggerates her own knowledge and competence, she i s q u i c k enought to keep from b e i n g caught. But h e r n o t i o n s o f e v i l ' i n the world and o t h e r s are i m p e r f e c t — a t once s o p h i s t i c a t e d and g i r l i s h . L e a s t o f a l l can she see e v i l i n h e r s e l f , o r even see h e r s e l f i n the wrong. As she goes through much of the w o r l d she f i n d s t h a t i t s c a r c e l y squares w i t h a c l e v e r and h i g h - s p i r i t e d young g i r l ' s i d e a of i t . k Gwendolen could perhaps have been saved from the d i s a s t r o u s e f f e c t s o f such a f o r m a l e d u c a t i o n had she found a c o n s c i e n tous moral guide elsewhere.  I n Middlemarch Rosamond's  p a r e n t s are o n l y vague f i g u r e s i n the background,  but i n  D a n i e l Deronda we are from the f i r s t aware t h a t Gwendolen's u n c l e and h e r mother, who  might have e x e r t e d a p o s i t i v e  i n f l u e n c e on her, f a i l m i s e r a b l y i n meeting t h e i r p a r e n t a l o b l i g a t i o n s and i n s t e a d o n l y encourage Gwendolen's v a n i t y and selfishness.  The R e c t o r has a l r e a d y been mentioned.  s u r r o g a t e f a t h e r t o Gwendolen he merely makes i t more  As a dif-  f i c u l t f o r h e r t o overcome the b a r r i e r s l e a d i n g t o r e s p o n s i b l e adulthood.  The R e c t o r i s n o t an e v i l man  s o c i a l standards? i n f a c t t o contemporary v e r s he would appear t o be q u i t e  by any  recognizable  V i c t o r i a n obser-  ordinary«  I t would be a l i t t l e hard t o blame the R e c t o r o f P e n n i c o t e t h a t i n the course of l o o k i n g a t t h i n g s from every p o i n t o f view he l o o k e d a t Gwendolen as a g i r l l i k e l y t o make a b r i l l i a n t m a r r i a g e . Why s h o u l d he be expected t o d i f f e r from h i s contemporaries i n t h i s matter, and wish h i s n i e c e a worse end o f her charming maidenhood than, thev would approve as the b e s t p o s s i b l e ? I t i s r a t h e r to be s e t down t o h i s c r e d i t t h a t h i s f e e l i n g s on the s u b j e c t were e n t i r e l y good-natured. And i n c o n s i d e r i n g the r e l a t i o n o f means t o ends, i t  133  would have been mere f o l l y t o have been guided by the e x c e p t i o n a l and i d y l l i c . . . M r . Gascoigne's c a l c u l a t i o n s were of the k i n d c a l l e d r a t i o n a l . (DD, 6?-8) Yet as E l i o t r e v e a l s i n t h i s passage of damning p r a i s e i t i s h i s v e r y normalcy which i s so a p p a l l i n g . t h a t Gwendolen l a c k s any moral substance, but c a t i n g her, her egoism.  He  sees c l e a r l y  f a r from edu-  h i s a c t i o n s on her b e h a l f u s u a l l y o n l y r e i n f o r c e For example, he i n t e n d s  t o c h a s t i s e Gwendolen  f o r her b e h a v i o u r a t the fox-hunt, but when he l e a r n s Lord Brackenshaw admired her d a r i n g , he cannot r i s k c r i t i c i s m t h a t might lower h e r  that  any  marketability,  the p r u d e n t i a l Rector d i d f e e l h i m s e l f i n a s l i g h t d i f f i c u l t y , f o r a t t h a t moment he was p a r t i c u l a r l y s e n s i b l e t h a t i t was h i s n i e c e ' s s e r i o u s i n t e r e s t to be w e l l - r e g a r d e d by the Brackenshaw's and t h e i r o p i n i o n as t o her f o l l o w i n g the hounds r e a l l y touched the essence of h i s o b j e c t i o n . (DD, 107) On a n o t h e r o c c a s i o n , he a g a i n  a t the b a l l a f t e r the a r c h e r y  contest,  approves o f Gwendolen's c a l c u l a t e d cunning i n r e -  f u s i n g to dance, the l a d i e s who w a l t z e d , n a t u r a l l y thought t h a t Miss H a r l e t h o n l y wanted t o make h e r s e l f p a r t i c u l a r ! but her u n c l e when he overheard her r e f u s a l supported her by s a y i n g — "Gwendolen has u s u a l l y good r e a s o n s . " He thought she was c e r t a i n l y more d i s t i n g u i s h e d i n not w a l t z i n g and he wished her t o be d i s t i n g u i s h e d . (DD, 152) Gascoigne's m a t e r i a l i s t i c a t t i t u d e towards Gwendolen i s most obvious i n the stance he takes towards h i s n i e c e ' s l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Grandcourt. f a r e but he has and  no c o n c e p t i o n  d e s i r e s might be.  He  He  genuinely  cares  re-  f o r her w e l -  o f what her i n d i v i d u a l needs  lumps her t o g e t h e r w i t h a l l m a r r i a g e -  13^ a b l e women and assumes t h a t a s u c c e s s f u l match i s the onlyrequirement.  And " s u c c e s s " i s so much the key t h a t he w i l l  t u r n a b l i n d eye t o Grandcourt's rumoured i n d i s c r e t i o n s instead  o f r i s k i n g the l o s s o f the s t a t u s and s e c u r i t y  this  s u i t o r can o f f e r both Gwendolen and h e r f a m i l y : T h i s match w i t h Grandcourt p r e s e n t e d i t s e l f t o him as a s o r t o f p u b l i c a f f a i r ; perhaps t h e r e were ways i n which i t might even s t r e n g t h e n the e s t a b l i s h ment. ..Grandcourt, t h e almost c e r t a i n baronet, the p r o b a b l e peer, was t o be ranged w i t h p u b l i c p e r sonages, and was t o be accepted on broad g e n e r a l grounds n a t i o n a l and e c c l e s i a s t i c a l . . . o f the f u t u r e husband p e r s o n a l l y Mr. Gascoigne was d i s p o s e d to t h i n k the b e s t . Gossip i s a s o r t o f smoke t h a t comes from the d i r t y t o b a c c o - p i p e o f those who d i f f u s e i t : i t proves n o t h i n g b u t the bad t a s t e o f the smoker...there was every r e a s o n t o b e l i e v e t h a t a woman o f w e l l - r e g u l a t e d mind would be happy w i t h Grandcourt. (DD, l ? 6 - 7 ) But d e s p i t e h i s own " p o l i t i c a l "^machinations Gascoigne i s s i n c e r e l y shocked when Gwendolen expresses the same k i n d d f pragmatic view  towards h e r m a r r i a g e i  "I am n o t f o o l i s h . I know t h a t I must be m a r r i e d some t i m e — b e f o r e i t i s t o o l a t e . And I don't see how I c o u l d do b e t t e r than marry Mr. Grandcourt. I mean t o a c c e p t him i f p o s s i b l e . " . . . But the R e c t o r was a l i t t l e s t a r t l e d by so bare a v e r s i o n o f h i s own meaning from those young lips. He wished t h a t i n h e r mind h i s a d v i c e s h o u l d be taken i n an i n f u s i o n o f sentiments p r o per t o a g i r l , and such as a r e presupposed i n the a d v i c e o f a clergyman, a l t h o u g h he may n o t c o n s i d e r them always a p p r o p r i a t e t o be p u t f o r w a r d . He wished h i s n i e c e p a r k s , c a r r i a g e , a t i t l e — b u t he wished h e r n o t t o be c y n i c a l — t o be, on the cont r a r y r e l i g o u s l y d u t i f u l , and have warm domestic a f f e c t i o n s . (DD, 180) He s i m p l y does n o t understand t h a t a young woman who i s e n couraged t o see m a r r i a g e as a way o f r a i s i n g h e r s o c i a l or  status  e n s u r i n g h e r economic s e c u r i t y w i l l h a r d l y a t the same time  135 have v e r y mature i d e a s about l o v e o r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Her mother has been l i t t l e does  more h e l p t o Gwendolen.  She  sense the d e s t r u c t i v e power o f Gwendolen's egoismJ Mrs. Davilow, who, even i f she had n o t wished h e r d a r l i n g t o have t h e horse, would n o t have dared t o by lukewarm i n t r y i n g t o g e t i t f o r h e r . (DD, 65)  But h e r attempts t o t e a c h h e r daughter any sense o f duty a r e weak and e a s i l y abandonnedj One n i g h t under an a t t a c k o f p a i n she found t h a t the s p e c i f i c r e g u l a r l y p l a c e d : b y h e r b e d s i d e had been f o r g o t t e n , and begged Gwendolen t o g e t out o f bed and r e a c h i t f o r h e r . That h e a l t h y young l a d y snug and warm as a r o s y i n f a n t i n h e r l i t t l e couch, o b j e c t e d t o s t e p o u t i n the c o l d , and l y i n g p e r f e c t l y s t i l l , grumbled a r e f u s a l . Mrs. Davilow went w i t h out the medicine and never reproached h e r daughter. (DD, 53) Mrs. Davilow's a c t i o n s towards Gwendolen u s u a l l y o n l y r e a f f i r m h e r daughter's sense o f h e r own supremacy.  The o n l y  s o l u t i o n Mrs. Davilow can p r o v i d e i s t h e o l d c u r e - a l l f o r women—marriage. And r e g a r d l e s s o f h e r own m i s g i v i n g s about Gwendolen's chances o f f u l f i l l m e n t , a l o n g w i t h h e r b r o t h e r i n - l a w , she a l s o a s s u r e s Gwendolen o f the f i t n e s s o f a marr i a g e w i t h Grandcourt, Is he a man she would be happy w i t h ? " — w a s a q u e s t i o n which i n e v i t a b l y arose i n t h e mother's mind. "Well perhaps as happy as she would be w i t h anyone e l s e — o r as most o t h e r women a r e " — w a s t h e answer w i t h which she t r i e d t o q u i e t h e r s e l f . (DD, 167) In  a l l o f these s i t u a t i o n s — a t s c h o o l , a t home w i t h h e r  u n c l e and m o t h e r — t h e  f a c t o f Gwendolen's p e r f e c t  beauty  o n l y draws h e r more i n e x o r a b l y i n t o the t r a p o f female egotism.  I f a woman i s b e a u t i f u l , u s u a l y l i t t l e  else i s  r e q u i r e d from h e r than t h a t she e f f e c t i v e l y d i s p l a y  herself  136 at  a l l times.  I f , l i k e Gwendolen she i s c l e v e r enough,  can g i v e h e r beauty a c e r t a i n p e r s o n a l i t y as when she h e r s e l f up as a s o r t of s e r p e n t " (DD, ment o f " c h a r a c t e r " i s regarded  40).  But the  guarantees  "gets  develop-  as, and i n f a c t i s , unneces-  s a r y ; her p h y s i c a l appearance alone guarantees p l y i n g the woman's t r a d e .  she  success i n  However,this r e a s o n i n g  h e r moral c o r r u p t i o n .  almost  Unless c o u n t e r a c t e d  by  p o s i t i v e f a m i l y i n f l u e n c e s or an e n l i g h t e n e d e d u c a t i o n  (both  6f which are c o n s p i c u o u s l y absent i n Gwendolen's l i f e )  or  some e x c e p t i o n a l g i f t  o f s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m , she i s q u i c k l y  and  thorougly i n i t i a t e d  i n t o a s o c i a l world which accedes  (or  seems t o accede) t o h e r every whim s i m p l y because she i s  a b e a u t i f u l and s t y l i s h woman. e n t i r e l y blameless,  Though she cannot be h e l d  i t i s not d i f f i c u l t  t o understand  why  Gwendolen would be so v a i n and put such g r e a t s t o c k i n h e r own  beauty.  A f t e r a l l , she i s o n l y f o l l o w i n g the example of  the r e s t of the w o r l d when she meditates in  the m i r r o r and  on h e r own  image  sees her beauty as g i v i n g h e r power over  othersi Her b e a u t i f u l l i p s c u r l e d i n t o a more and more . d e c i d e d s m i l e , t i l l a t l a s t she took o f f h e r hat, l e a n e d forwards and k i s s e d the c o l d g l a s s which had looked so warm. How c o u l d she b e l i e v e i n sorrow? I f i t a t t a c k e d her, she f e l t the f o r c e to c r u s h ' i t , t o d e f y i t , or r u n away from i t , as she had done a l r e a d y . A n y t h i n g seemed more p o s s i b l e than t h a t she c o u l d go on b e a r i n g m i s e r i e s , g r e a t or s m a l l . (DD, 47) U n t i l she encounters  Klesmer and Deronda, no one  ever taken Gwendolen a t a n y t h i n g but, l i t e r a l l y ,  has "face v a l u e . "  137  The  two men  demand a g r e a t d e a l from h e r — t h a t she p e e l o f f  the l a y e r s of egoism t o take an a c c u r a t e r e a d i n g of her self.  I n o r d e r t o do t h i s , and  self-realization,  own  so t o begin the s t r u g g l e f o r  Gwendolen w i l l somehow have t o d e a l w i t h  those huge o b s t r u c t i n g s o c i a l f o r c e s which can do so much toward d e t e r m i n i n g c e r t a i n types of female c h a r a c t e r . b i t c h - c h a r a c t e r egoism, which must go, s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s and r e l a t i o n s .  Her  i s l a r g e l y rooted i n  E i t h e r she w i l l have t o  meet head-on the f a c t s of her p o s i t i o n as a woman—her economic impotence, the b a r r i e r s to e d u c a t i o n , the c u l t u r a l l y termined  r o l e s — a n d s t r u g g l e f o r her own  understanding;  de-  freedom w i t h i n t h a t  or the whole problem can be a v o i d e d .  Gwen-  d o l e n can s i m p l y be moved out o f one female r o l e , the b i t c h , i n t o another,  the good woman.  I f Gwendolen's e d u c a t i o n  takes  the l a t t e r course t h e r e i s a consequent f a i l u r e of b o t h i d e o l o g y and a r t i s t r y .  I t i s the l a r g e i m p r e s s i o n o f the  f i r s t two books o f D a n i e l Deronda t o prepare us f o r something very  different. (iii) Although  she p a i n t s a v e r y c l e a r backdrop of V i c t o r i a n  s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s , a g a i n s t which one  can understand  Gwendolen's  development ( o r non-development), E l i o t makes the reader,more than an o b s e r v e r .  As she d i d w i t h Rosamond, E l i o t goes  " i n s i d e " her c h a r a c t e r and ness o f her s e l f .  We  e x p l o r e s Gwendolen's own  conscious-  share f o r example Gwendolen's f e e l i n g s  of f r u s t r a t i o n w i t h the l i m i t a t i o n s of the female r o l e t h a t  138  she p l a y s . understand  In a c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Grandcourt her own  she t r i e s  to  behaviourt  We women c a n ' t go i n s e a r c h of a d v e n t u r e s - - t o f i n d out the North West Passage or the source of the N i l e , or to hunt t i g e r s i n the E a s t . We must s t a y where we grow or where gardeners l i k e to t r a n s p l a n t us. We are brought up l i k e the f l o w e r s , t o l o o k as p r e t t y as we can, and be d u l l w i t h o u t c o m p l a i n i n g . That i s my n o t i o n about the p l a n t s i they are o f t e n bored and that i s the reason why some of them have got poisonous. (DD, 171) U n f o r t u n a t e l y , Gwendolen has no s o l u t i o n t o o f f e r o t h e r than the p o s s i b i l i t y of women g o i n g on "adventures" l i k e men,  or  as i n her own  Gwen-  case becoming a r a t h e r r i s q u e e debutante.  d o l e n does n o t have a p a r t i c u l a r l y f i n e mind, or any g r e a t c r e a t i v e t a l e n t , but whatever she may  have i n the way  s i b i l i t i e s i s c l e a r l y l i m i t e d by "the s t r i c t l y n i t u r e " (DD,  of pos-  feminine  fur-.a  6 9 ) w i t h which her mind has always been c l u t t e r e d .  L i k e Rosamond, Gwendolen's n a t u r a l c l e v e r n e s s , eagerness  and  e n t h u s i a s m . i s c o n c e n t r a t e d e n t i r e l y on the shallow games o f " feminine  coquetry1 She r e j o i c e d t o f e e l h e r s e l f e x c e p t i o n a l b u t h e r h o r i z o n was t h a t o f the g e n t e e l romance where the h e r o i n e ' s s o u l poured out i n her j o u r n a l i s f u l l of vague power, o r i g i n a l i t y and g e n e r a l r e b e l l i o n w h i l e h e r l i f e moves s t r i c t l y i n the sphere o f f a s h i o n . (DD, 8 3 )  Gwendolen may  t h i n k she i s something o t h e r than the  flower t h a t simply l i v e s  "to l o o k as p r e t t y as  she  dull can,"  but she i s i n e x a c t l y the same p o s i t i o n , her i n t e l l e c t have never had  the o p p o r t u n i t y t o develop beyond an i n t e n s e con-  c e n t r a t i o n on her own  beauty  and i t s e f f e c t on o t h e r p e o p l e .  139  Becuase Gwendolen i s so s e l f - i n v o l v e d , she has knowledge of, l e t alone concern f o r , o t h e r s .  little  She r e g a r d s her  f a m i l y as c o n v e n i e n t agents f o r the f u l f i l l m e n t o f her desires.  P a r t of t h i s s e l f i s h n e s s stems from t h e i r h a v i n g  r a r e l y made any demands on Gwendolen. let  Not o n l y have they  her r u l e , they have p o s i t i v e l y encouraged  her own  own  the sense  of  supremacy, Having always been the p e t and p r i d e of the househ o l d w a i t e d on by mother, s i s t e r s , governess, and maids as i f she had been a p r i n c e s s i n e x i l e , she n a t u r a l l y found i t d i f f i c u l t t o t h i n k her own p l e a s u r e l e s s important than o t h e r s made i t . (DD, 5 3 )  As the members of h e r own  f a m i l y are o b j e c t s r a t h e r thanjy  persons t o Gwendolen, so i s anyone e l s e who her w o r l d — p a r t i c u l a r l y men. though s c a r c e l y u n u s u a l . men  i s a p a r t of  The i r o n y here i s supreme, a l -  Women who  are t r a i n e d t o a t t r a c t  as a k i n d o f b u s i n e s s venture u s u a l l y end up s e e i n g them  as o b j e c t s f o r c a p t u r e r a t h e r than as human b e i n g s . mond's view o f men  " i t was  I n Rosa-  n o t n e c e s s a r y t o imagine much about  the inward l i f e  o f the hero, o r o f h i s s e r i o u s b u s i n e s s i n  the w o r l d " (MM,  123).  So i t i s w i t h Gwendolen.  Both women  are i n c a p a b l e of d e v e l o p i n g any r e a l a f f e c t i o n f o r men cause  be-  they are never allowed t o see them a p a r t from t h e i r  own  personal ambitions. But Gwendolen i s s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t from Rosamond. o n l y does she have v e r y l i t t l e p o s i t i v e l y a f r a i d of them.  And  Not  r e a l r e g a r d f o r menj she i s i t i s at this l e v e l ,  Gwendolen's i n a b i l i t y t o r e l a t e t o men  seeing  as f e a r r a t h e r than  140 hatred,  t h a t E l i o t triumphs as a r e a l i s t .  bitch seriously."  With g r e a t d e l i c a c y she  She  "takes  shows how  the Gwendolen  s u s p e c t s the s o c i a l dance t h a t she h e r s e l f performs so w e l l . Though she  seeks and  a c c e p t s the homage of men,  she  i s at  the  same time v a g u e l y aware of another d a r k e r s i d e of male/female r e l a t i o n s h i p s wich i s the r o o t of her s e x u a l she has vinced  seen and  frigidity.  understood o f marriage so f a r has  only  What con-  her t h a t i t i s an i n s t i t u t i o n where a woman t r a d e s  in  freedom f o r s l a v e r y . ...the mother even s a i d t o h e r s e l f , " I t would not s i g n i f y about her b e i n g i n l o v e , i f she would o n l y a c c e p t the r i g h t p e r s o n . For whatever marriage had been f o r h e r s e l f , how c o u l d she the l e s s d e s i r e i t f o r her daughter? The d i f f e r e n c e her own m i s f o r tune made was, that she never dared to d w e l l much t o Gwendolen on the d e s i r a b l e n e s s of marriage, d r e a d i n g an answer something l i k e t h a t of the f u t u r e Madame Roland, when her g e n t l e mother, u f g i n g the acceptance o f a s u i t o r , s a i d , "Tu s e r a s heur e s e s , ma chere.* *0ui, rnaman, comme t o i . ' (DD, 126) 1  So Gwendolen i s determined n e i t h e r t o g i v e nor  to receive  af-  fection i she o b j e c t e d , w i t h a s o r t of p h y s i c a l r e p u l s i o n t o b e i n g d i r e c t l y made l o v e t o . With a l l her imag i n a t i v e d e l i g h t i n b e i n g adored, there was a c e r t a i n f i e r c e n e s s of maidenhood i n her. (DD, 157) In the l a s t phrase o f the above q u o t a t i o n coming v e r y  E l i o t seems to  c l o s e t o the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of f r i g i d i t y  gested by Kate M i l l e t t i n Sexual P o l i t i c s , where she  be  sugdiscusses  the V i c t o r i a n womant Under the demands of a s o c i a l l y c o e r c i v e or e x p l o i t a t i v e s e x u a l i t y such as p a t r i a r c h y had i n s t i t u t e d where s e x u a l a c t i v i t y i m p l i e d submission to male w i l l , " c h a s t i t y , " f r i g i d i t y or some form of r e s i s tance to s e x u a l i t y took on something of the c h a r a c t e r  141 of a " p o l i t i c a l " response t o the c o n d i t i o n s of sexual p o l i t i c s . While c h a s t i t y or even the n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e s toward c o i t u s which accompany f r i g i d i t y , operated as p a t r i a r c h a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l "stratagems" t o l i m i t or p r o h i b i t woman's p l e a s u r e i n s e x u a l i t y , they c o u l d a l s o be transformed i n t o p r o t e c t i v e feminine "stratagems" i n a r e f u s a l ' t o c a p i t u l a t e to p a t r i a r c h a l f o r c e t p h y s i c a l , economic or s o c i a l . 5 For  Gwendolen any  serious  male advances appear as a  t o what l i t t l e independence she  has.  t i n g u i s h between honest a f f e c t i o n and ter  her  the  u n f o r t u n a t e r e s u l t i s that  S i n c e she  threat  cannot d i s -  a man's d e s i r e  to mas-  coldness i n a  suitor  appeals t o her» Gwendolen thought t h a t a man of extremely calm, c o l d manners might be l e s s d i s a g r e e a b l e as a husband than o t h e r men, and not l i k e l y t o i n t e r f e r e w i t h h i s w i f e ' s p r e f e r e n c e s . (DD, 147) It  i s t h i s kind  o f b r i l l i a n t i n s i g h t , e s p e c i a l l y i n the  murky  a r e a of V i c t o r i a n i d e a s about female s e x u a l i t y ,  t h a t makes  p o r t r a i t of Gwendolen so new  b i t c h here  is  c l e a r l y not  breaker, but t i o n s and  and  exciting.  The  the  j u s t a c o l d - b l o o d e d v i c i o u s man-hating home-  a woman moulded by  driven  by  f e a r s and  social attitudes  and  institu-  f r u s t r a t i o n s t o become what  she i s . There i s more t o Gwendolen's i n n e r c o n s c i o u s n e s s than f e a r of men. of D a n i e l l i t y . The her  The  greatest revelation  Deronda i s the kind  first  two  books  c o m p l e x i t y of Gwendolen's p e r s o n a -  of s c h i z o p h r e n i a that E l i o t began to develop i n  characterization  lized.  i n the  her  of Rosamond i s w i t h Gwendolen f u l l y  Though Gwendolen may  appear on the  surface  b l i n d l y e g o t i s t i c a l and^even c r u e l , E l i o t s t a t e s  rea-  vain,  explicitly-  142 t h a t Gwendolen has another  s e l f — o r more p r o p e r l y s e l v e s —  which must be c o n s i d e r e d i n forming a judgment of her ter.  charc-  For example, d u r i n g the weeks of her c o u r t s h i p w i t h  Grandcourt  she f i n d s a p a r t of her does n o t a c c e p t  a c c e p t a b l e K e n l e i g h Grandcourt r e s i s t i n g , almost  the most  but i n s i s t s on q u e s t i o n i n g and  as i f she s u b c o n s c i o u s l y senses  t h a t the  c o l d n e s s which a t t r a c t s her t o him i s r e a l l y a d i s g u i s e f o r a k i n d of e v i l poweri the s u b j e c t i o n t o a p o s s i b l e s e l f , a s e l f not to be a b s o l u t e l y p r e d i c t e d about, caused her some a s tonishment and t e r r o n her f a v o u r i t e key of l i f e — d o i n g as she l i k e d — s e e m e d to f a i l her, and she c o u l d n o t f o r e s e e what a t a g i v e n moment she might l i k e to do. (DD, 173) T h i s same " o t h e r " s e l f has a l s o been r e v e a l e d over the dent w i t h Rex.  inci-  Gwendolen l i k e s to t h i n k o f h e r s e l f as i n -  dependent and f e a r l e s s .  But n o t v e r y f a r beneath t h i s c a r e -  f r e e s u r f a c e her s e x u a l f r i g i d i t y and her i n a b i l i t y t o form i n t i m a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o t h e r people  terrifies  hen  she [Mrs. Davilow] p r e s s e d her cheek a g a i n s t Gwendolen's head, and then t r i e d t o draw i t upward. Gwendolen gave way, and l e t t i n g h e r head r e s t a g a i n s t her mother, c r i e d out s o b b i n g l y , "Oh, Mamma, what can become of ;my l i f e ? t h e r e i s n o t h i n g worth l i v i n g f o r ! ' . . . ' I s h a l l never l o v e anybody. I c a n ' t love people. I hate them.' (DD, 115) A t the Arrowpont's d i n n e r p a r t y another  s e l f appears i n r e s -  ponse to Klesmer's playing» Gwendolen, i n s p i t e of her wounded egoism, had f u l n e s s o f n a t u r e enough to f e e l the power o f t h i s p l a y i n g , and i t g r a d u a l l y turned her inward sob of m o r t i f i c a t i o n i n t o an excitement which l i f t e d h e r f o r the moment i n t o a desperate i n d i f f e r e n c e about her own d o i n g . (DD, 80)  143 Given t h i s glimpse o f Gwendolen i t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o d i s m i s s her as e i t h e r i n s e n s i t i v e or h o p e l e s s l y e g o i s t i c . encounter w i t h Klesmer  In a l a t e r  the sense o f Gwendolen's egoism as o n l y  the o u t e r and n o t the i n n e r d e f i n i t i o n of her p e r s o n a l i t y i s reinforcedi When he had taken up h i s h a t and was g o i n g t o make h i s bow, Gwendolen's b e t t e r s e l f , c o n s c i o u s o f an i n g r a t i t u d e which the c l e a r s e e i n g Klesmer must have p e n e t r a t e d , made a desperate e f f o r t t o f i n d I t s way above the s t i f l i n g l a y e r s o f e g o i s t i c disappointment and i r r i t a t i o n . (DD, 306) However the s c h i z o p h r e n i c nature o f Gwendolen's c h a r a c t e r i s perhaps most p o w e r f u l l y r e v e a l e d i n the two i n c i d e n t s w i t h the death's head, where we see how suddenly and t o t a l l y Gwendolen's p u b l i c s e l f can g i v e way t o a s e l f which,  though  f r i g h t e n i n g t o her, i s an acknowledgement by the a u t h o r o f h e r b a s i c humanity. Everyone was s t a r t l e d , b u t a l l eyes i n the a c t o f t u r n i n g towards the opened p a n e l were r e c a l l e d by a p i e c i n g c r y from Gwendolen, who stood w i t h o u t change o f a t t i t u d e b u t w i t h a change o f e x p r e s s i o n t h a t was t e r r i f y i n g i n i t s t e r r o r . She looked l i k e a s t a t u e i n t o which a s o u l o f Fear had entered» teer p a l l i d l i p s were p a r t e d ; her eyes, u s u a l l y narrowed under t h e i r l o n g l a s h e s , were d i l a t e d and f i x e d . (DD, 9 1 ) R e l a t e d t o t h i s f e a r o f death i s Gwendolen's t e r r o r o f s o l i tude, o f suddenly b e i n g c o n f r o n t e d w i t h a sense o f the w o r l d f o r which n e i t h e r h e r background  n o r h e r e d u c a t i o n has p r e -  pared h e n She was ashamed and frightened...when, f o r example she was w a l k i n g w i t h o u t companionship and t h e r e came some r a p i d change i n the l i g h t . Solitude i n any wide scene impressed her w i t h an u n d e f i n e d f e e l i n g of immeasurable e x i s t e n c e a l o o f from h e r ,  144 i n the midst of which she was h e l p l e s s l y i n c a p a b l e o f a s s e r t i n g h e r s e l f . . . b u t always when someone j o i n e d her she r e c o v e r e d her i n d i f f e r e n c e t o the v a s t n e s s i n which she seemed an e x i l e . (DD, 9 5 ) T h i s c a r e f u l i n t e r i o r examination how  of Gwendolen, which r e v e a l s  much more t h e r e i s t o her than j u s t pure ego,  r a t e s that measure of environmental  determinism  corrobo-  indicated  by  E l i o t ' s d e s c r i p t i o n o f Gwendolen's s o c i a l p o s i t i o n as a woman. (iv) What E l i o t does i n the f i r s t two books of D a n i e l Deronda by h e r e x t e r i o r and i n t e r i o r a n a l y s i s o f Gwendolen i s t o change r a d i c a l l y our p a t t e r n o f response And  t h i s i s important,  dual, she i s s t i l l understanding  t o a p a r t i c u l a r female  f o r as much*.as Gwendolen i s an  a recognizable type.  type.  indivi-  By g i v i n g us a  new  o f t h a t type E l i o t has opened up a whole d i f f e r e n t  d i m e n s t i o n o f human e x p e r i e n c e t o which o n l y the man  or woman  c o m p l e t e l y i g n o r a n t o f the workings of s e x u a l p o l i t i c s  can  reamin b l i n d . While  the r e a d e r may  be i n complete sympathy w i t h Gwen-  d o l e n as a v i c t i m of the i n s t i t u t i o n s and a t t i t u d e s of pat r i a r c h y , i t i s q u e s t i o n a b l e whether E l i o t h e r s e l f i s .  Even  though she c r e a t e s the c o n d i t i o n s f o r t h a t sympathy, she does n o t seem t o understand the n o v e l .  how  much i t c o n t r o l s our r e a c t i o n s t o  I n a l e t t e r t o Barbara Bodichon  the " l a u d a t i o n of r e a d e r s who and  she complains  of  c u t the book up i n t o s c r a p s  t a l k of n o t h i n g i n i t but Gwendolen."^ Moreover E l i o t ' s  correspondence  w i t h Blackwood makes i t apparent  t h a t her  145 r e a l a f f e c t i o n and But  that  concern was  f o r the Jewish p a r t of the  of course i s the b a s i c problem w i t h D a n i e l  E l i o t i s so concerned w i t h p r e s e n t i n g l i g h t t h a t she  Deronda.  Judaism i n a p o s i t i v e  i s unable to achieve any  from the c h a r a c t e r s  aesthetic  i n v o l v e d i n t h a t theme.  distance  With Mirah  (Deronda's case i s the same, but he w i l l be d i s c u s s e d f u l l y l a t e r ) she r a t i o n and  d i s c a r d s complexity and  idolatry.  Mirah i s a wearisome and  usually increvoice,  accent, her l o o k s — a l l the sweet p u r i t y . . . c l o t h e d her with a consecrating  garment"DDD, 247).  Pristine,  complaint, p a s s i v e ,  l o v i n g and  she  she has  triarchy count) we  innocent  more  r e a l i s m f o r exagge-  d i b l e c a t a l o g u e of V i c t o r i a n womanly v i r t u e s ("her  If  novel.  her  as  worshipful,  l a c k s a l l depth.  ever come i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h the demands o f a  pa-  (as w i t h her f a t h e r ' s i n s i s t e n c e t h a t she marry  the  are a s s u r e d t h a t she possessed enough i n n a t e  ness t o r e s i s t such a s s a u l t s on her  good-  character,  ' I t w i l l h a r d l y be denied t h a t even i n t h i s f r a i l and c o r r u p t e d w o r l d , we sometimes meet persons who, i n t h e i r v e r y mien and aspect, as w e l l as i n t h e i r whole h a b i t of l i f e , m a n i f e s t such a s i g n a t u r e and stamp of v i r t u e , as t o make our judgment of them a matter of i n t u i t i o n r a t h e r than the r e s u l t o f continued examination.' (DD, 248) But however d u l l and  u n i n s p i r i n g we  i m p o r t a n t t h i n g i s t h a t she  f i n d M i r a h t o be,  i s there and  that. E l i o t  approves of the model of womanhood t h a t she "impossible ment and  the  completely  represents—  t o see a c r e a t u r e 'freer a t once from embarrass-  b o l d n e s s " (DD,  266).  The  question  then i s , g i v e n  her a t t r a c t i o n t o t h i s s i m p l i s t i c c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of woman, how  can  she a t the same time m a i n t a i n her complex and  radical  146 a n a l y s i s of Gwendolen? The answer i s t h a t she cannot or t h a t she does n o t . much as the f i r s t  two books of D a n i e l Deronda may  As  reveal •  the b i t c h c h a r a c t e r as a product of a complex s e t of s o c i a l a t t i t u d e s and i n s t i t u t i o n s , S p o i l e d C h i l d " and  t h e r e i s another v o i c e i n  "Meeting Streams" which corresponds t o h e r  one-dimensional view of M i r a h . then Gwendolen i s p e r f e c t l y bad.  I f Mirah i s p e r f e c t l y good, We  a r e not t o see Gwendolen  as a v i c t i m of p a t r i a r c h y but r a t h e r as one who her t r u e womanhood.  "The  has denied  Gwendolen's s a l v a t i o n w i l l come n o t i n  a r e o r d e r i n g of s o c i a l v a l u e s but i n l e a r n i n g the l e s s o n s of f e m i n i n i t y that Mirah  exemplifies.  T h i s s i d e of E l i o t ' s response t o Gwendolen i s i n f a c t apparent i n the very f i r s t paragraph o f the n o v e l . Was she b e a u t i f u l or n o t b e a u t i f u l ? and what was the s e c r e t of form or e x p r e s s i o n which gave the dynamic q u a l i t y t o her g l a n c e ? Was the good o r e v i l g e n i u s dominant i n those beams? Probably the e v i l f e l s e why was the e f f e c t t h a t of u n r e s t r a t h e r than t h a t o f u n d i s t u r b e d charm? Why was the w i s h to l o o k a g a i n f e l t as c o e r c i o n and n o t as a l o n g i n g i n which the whole b e i n g c o n s e n t s ? (DD, 3 5 ) "Undisturbed charm" i s the key h e r e .  The phrase i s s e x u a l l y  loaded and r e p r e s e n t s p e r f e c t l y what V i c t o r i a n ' s o c i e t y , and E l i o t would r e q u i r e from women—meekness, obedience conformity.  and  That these q u a l i t i e s are t o be developed i n r e s -  ponse t o masculine needs i s c l e a r l y u n d e r l i n e d by the t h a t the q u e s t i o n e r here i s Deronda, a man  who  fact  t o t a l l y exem-  p l i f i e s the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y ' s c h i v a l r o u s and s e n t i m e n t a l a t t i t u d e towards women.  Gwendolen, he d e c i d e s , i s " e v i l "  147 because she i s n o t p r o p e r l y f e m i n i n e .  There i s a "dynamic  q u a l i t y " t o her g l a n c e which does n o t a c c o r d w i t h p e r f e c t womanly r e p o s e .  I r o n i c a l l y Gwendolen's dynamism i s what  E l i o t goes on t o e x p l o r e and r e v e a l , n o t as " e v i l , " b u t as a r e f l e c t i o n o f Gwendolen's s t r u g g l e , whether c o n s c i o u s w i t h the f o r c e s t h a t go t o determine a woman's l i f e . note  o f feminine  or not, But the  e v i l has been s t r u c k and w i l l be p l a y e d  a g a i n i n the f i r s t books o f the n o v e l . For example, E l i o t shows c l e a r l y how women come t o r e a l i z e t h a t t h e i r s o l e b u s i n e s s as women i s t o a t t r a c t men, and t h a t the economic impulse  towards p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s  o f t e n r e s u l t s i n t h e i r emotional and s e x u a l f r i g i d i t y , b u t she s t i l l  cannot r e s i s t the o l d myth o f the s e x u a l  temptress.  "A s t r i k i n g g i r l — t h a t Miss H a r l e t h — u n l i k e others." "Yes, she has g o t h e r s e l f up as a s o r t o f s e r pent now, a l l green and s i l v e r , and winds h e r neck about a l i t t l e more than u s u a l . " "Oh, she must always be d o i n g something e x t r a o r d i n a r y . She i s t h a t k i n d o f g i r l , I f a n c y . Do you t h i n k her p r e t t y , Mr. Vandernoot?' "Very. A man might r i s k hanging f o r h e r — I mean, a f o o l might." "You l i k e a nez r e t r o u s s e then, and l o n g narrow eyes?" "When they go w i t h such an ensemble." "The ensemble du s e r p e n t ? " " I f you w i l l . Woman was tempted by a serpents why n o t man?" (DD, 40-1) x  There is no attempt here in  ( e i t h e r i n the d i a l o g u e i t s e l f o r  the tone w i t h which i t i s presented)  f a c e o f Gwendolen's b e h a v i o u r . to  t o see below t h e s u r -  She i s only what she appears  o t h e r s t o b e — t h e i n s a t i a b l e s e d u c t r e s s who w i l l l e a d the  i n n o c e n t male t o d e s t r u c t i o n .  E l i o t i n d i c a t e s no awareness  148 o f what, her own  a r t w i l l l a t e r demonstrate—that  Gwendolen's  dangerous and d e s t r u c t i v e coquetti.shne.ss i s not i n n a t e but r a t h e r a technique that she has been encouraged  (by men  like  her  Uncle Gascoigne) t o adopt i n order t o c a p t u r e and h o l d male attention. The same n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e t o Gwendolen i s apparent d u r i n g the a f f a i r w i t h Rex Gascoigne.  He has a l l the a u t h o r ' s  sympathyi . . . f o r i n h i s handsome f a c e t h e r e was n o t h i n g c o r r e s ponding t o the u n d e f i n a b l e s t i n g i n g q u a l i t y — a s i t were a t r a c e of demon a n c e s t r y — w h i c h made some b e h o l d e r s h e s i t a t e i n t h e i r a d m i r a t i o n o f Gwendolen. (DD, 99) Gwendolen i s reduced t o the b l a n k s t e r e o t y p e o f the e v i l woman. She i s s e l f i s h ,  capable o f " s t i n g i n g ^ " and t h e r e f o r e r e f u s e s  to accept her proper feminine r o l e i  she r u t h l e s s l y p l a y s havoc  w i t h the d e l i c a t e male a f f e c t i o n s of "sweet-natured (DD,  Rex"  100). "Can you manage t o f e e l o n l y what p l e a s e s you?" s a i d he. "Of course not? t h a t comes from what o t h e r people do. But i f the w o r l d were p l e a s a n t e r , one would o n l y f e e l what was p l e a s a n t . G i r l s ' l i v e s are so s t u p i d : they n e v e r do what they l i k e . " "I thought t h a t was more the case o f men. They are f o r c e d t o do hard t h i n g s , and are o f t e n d r e a d f u l l y bored, and knocked t o p i e c e s t o o . And then, i f we l o v e a g i r l v e r y d e a r l y , we want t o do as she l i k e s , so a f t e r a l l you have your own way." "I don't b e l i e v e i t . I never saw a m a r r i e d woman who had her own way." "What s h o u l d you l i k e t o do?" s a i d Rex, q u i t e g u i l e l e s s l y and i n r e a l a n x i e t y . "Oh, I don't know—go t o the North P o l e , or r i d e s t e e p l e c h a s e s , or go t o be a queen i n the E a s t l i k e Lady H e s t e r Stanhope," s a i d Gwendolen f l i g h t i l y . Her words were born on her l i p s , but she would have been a t a l o s s t o g i v e an answer of deeper o r i g i n .  149 "You don't mean you would never be m a r r i e d . " "No? I d i d n ' t say t h a t . Only when I m a r r i e d , I should n o t do as other women do." "You might do j u s t as you l i k e d i f you m a r r i e d a man who l o v e d you more d e a r l y than a n y t h i n g e l s e i n the w o r l d , " s a i d Rex. (DD, 101) But i t does n o t work, a t l e a s t n o t i n the way i t i s supposed to.  Undoubtedly we are supposed t o f a v o u r Rex i n t h i s ex-  change (he i s t h e i n n o c e n t , the " g u i l e l e s s " one, the "poor youth") b u t we hear Gwendolen's impatience clearly.  and f r u s t r a t i o n most  As E l i o t ' s v e r s i o n o f the i d e a l man, Rex i s a f a i -  l u r e ? he i s vague, o v e r l y s e n t i m e n t a l , l i f e l e s s when compared to Gwendolen. structive  Gwendolen cannot  g o a l than  come up w i t h any more con-  " t o go t o the North P o l e , " b u t we know  enough o f a woman's f r u s t r a t i o n s  t o know t h a t Rex does n o t  g i v e an a c c e p t a b l e answer e i t h e r .  H i s statement  t h a t men  "are f o r c e d t o do hard t h i n g s and.are o f t e n d r e a d f u l l y w h i l e l i t e r a l l y t r u e , appears  i n \ t h i s i n s t a n c e t o be merely  a g l i b way o f a v o i d i n g the q u e s t i o n o f the r i g h t s , the needs, o f women t o a c h o i c e o f l i f e hard o r b o r i n g o r n o t . attitude  t o marriage  Furthermore  l e t alone  s t y l e s whether they be  h i s "love conquers a l l "  i s r i d i c u l o u s l y n a i v e and i g n o r e s en-  t i r e l y the l e g a l and economic p o s i t i o n in Victorian  bored"  o f the married woman  England.  Even though Rex's words a r e n o t p a r t i c u l a r l y  effective  i t i s c l e a r E l i o t i n t e n d s us t o f e e l t h a t i f o n l y Gwendolen would a c c e p t Rex's p h i l o s o p h y about the proper r o l e  o f women  a l l h e r problems would.be s o l v e d . T h i n k i n g o f them i n these moments one i s tempted  150 to the f u t i l e s o r t of w i s h i n g — i f o n l y t h i n g s c o u l d have been a l i t t l e otherwise then, so as t o have been g r e a t l y otherwise a f t e r ! — i f o n l y these two b e a u t i f u l young c r e a t u r e s c o u l d have pledged thems e l v e s t o each o t h e r then and t h e r e , and n e v e r through l i f e have swerved from t h a t p l e d g e ! f o r some of the goodness which Rex b e l i e v e d i n was t h e r e . (DD.. 9 9 ) However, even w i t h o u t Rex,  E l i o t ' s obvious p r e f e r e n c e f o r  the sweet compliant homebody Anna Gascoigne "my  Anna, i s worth  (DD,  two  over G w e n d o l e n —  o f her, w i t h a l l her beauty and  1 1 1 ) — w o u l d be enough t o i n d i c a t e wherein  Gwendolen's s a l v a t i o n .  Anna's l i f e may  be  she  talent"  sees  limited,  he \Rex\ r e t u r n e d Anna's a f f e c t i o n as f u l l y as c o u l d be expected of a b r o t h e r whose p l e a s u r e s a p a r t from her were more than the sum t o t a l o f h e r s . (DD, 8 7 ) But E l i o t s t i l l approves u n c r i t i c a l l y o f ^ k e e p i n g women i n the r o l e o f w i f e , mother or daughter. T h i s i m p r e s s i o n i s r e i n f o r c e d by a passage of  the c h a p t e r where Gwendolen f i r s t  encounters  a t ' t h e end Grandcourt1  What i n the m i d s t o f t h a t mighty drama are g i r l s and t h e i r b l i n d v i s i o n s ? They are the Yea or Nay of t h a t good f o r which men are e n d u r i n g and fighting. I n these d e l i c a t e v e s s e l s i s borne onward through the ages the t r e a s u r e o f human a f f e c t i o n s . (DD, 160) T h i s statement r e p e a t s one o f the o l d e s t i d e a s i n the w o r l d about women—that i t i s t h e i r c h i e f r o l e t o s u c c o u r and t u r e , t o stand by w o r s h i p f u l l y w h i l e men g r e a t moral b a t t l e s .  f i g h t out  nur-  life's  I t i s , t o say the l e a s t , a s u r p r i s i n g  statement, i n l i g h t o f the apparent d i r e c t i o n of Gwendolen's s t o r y i n the f i r s t  p a r t of D a n i e l Deronda where she  headed f o r something  sppears  o t h e r than the u s u a l h i s t o r y o f female  151 characters.  C e r t a i n l y she must l e a r n warmth towards o t h e r s ,  c e r t a i n l y her  " a f f e c t i o n s " must he developed, and  she might f i n d great relationship.  ideally  s a t i s f a c t i o n i n some h e a l t h y male-female  But what about the l a r g e r q u e s t i o n s  Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n i n the n o v e l have posed?  that  Does such a  statement c o n s i d e r the economics of marriage, which makes a woman s e r v a n t more o f t e n than helpmate?  Does i t c o n s i d e r  an e d u c a t i o n a l system which breeds v a n i t y and f u l women?  egoism i n b e a u t i -  Does i t c o n s i d e r the p a t r i a r c h a l c o n t r o l over  women which makes t r u e a f f e c t i o n almost i m p o s s i b l e ? . And finally,  are the men  who  c o u l d make the r o l e E l i o t  f o r Gwendolen a f u l f i l l i n g one?  I f Rex  Deronda i s n o t much more so. The men convincingly portrayed—Grandcourt,  suggests  i s unbelievable,  i n the n o v e l who  are  Lush, Gascoigne, S i r  H u g o — c o u l d a t t h e i r v e r y b e s t h a r d l y h e l p Gwendolen t o v e l o p a h i g h degree o f s e l f - r e s p e c t or s o c i a l Yet a g a i n , as i n the scene w i t h Rex, serious.  de-  responsibility.  E l i o t i s undoubtedly  P l a c e d where the passage i s a t a c r u c i a l p o i n t i n  the a c t i o n of the n o v e l , we own  where,  can only b e l i v e t h a t the  author's  answer f o r Gwendolen would be s i m i l a r t o John Ruskin's  r e p l y to the t h r e a t o f contemporary feminisms Now t h e i r s e p a r a t e c h a r a c t e r s are b r i e f l y t h e s e . The man's power i s a c t i v e , p r o g r e s s i v e , d e f e n s i v e . He i s eminently the doer, the c r e a t o r , the d i s c o v e r e r , the defender. H i s i n t e l l e c t i s f o r s p e c u l a t i o n and i n v e n t i o n ; h i s energy f o r adventure, f o r war, and f o r conquest wherever war i s j u s t , whenever conquest necessary; But the woman's power i s f o r r u l e , not f o r b a t t l e , — a n d her i n t e l l e c t i s not f o r i n v e n t i o n or c r e a t i o n , but f o r sweet o r d e r i n g , a r r a n g e ment, and d e c i s i o n . She sees the q u a l i t i e s of t h i n g s ,  152 t h e i r c l a i m s , and t h e i r p l a c e s . Her g r e a t f u n c t i o n i s P r a i s e i she e n t e r s i n t o no c o n t e s t but i n f a l l i b l y adjudges the crown o f c o n t e s t . By her o f f i c e , and p l a c e , she i s p r o t e c t e d from a l l danger and temptation. The man...guards the woman from a l l t h i s i w i t h i n h i s house, as r u l e d by her, u n l e s s she h e r s e l f has sought i t , need e n t e r no danger, no temptation, no cause o f e r r o r or o f f e n c e . . . . . . . . . . . T h i s , then, I b e l i e v e to b e , — w i l l you not admit i t t o b e , — the woman's t r u e p l a c e and power? But do not you see t h a t , t o f u l f i l t h i s , she m u s t — a s f a r as one can use such terms of a human c r e a t u r e — b e incapable of e r r o r ? So f a r as she r u l e s , a l l must be r i g h t , or n o t h i n g i s . She must be e n d u r i n g l y , i n c o r r u p t i b l y good; i n s t i n c t i v e l y , i n f a l l i b l y w i s e — w i s e , not f o r self-development, but f o r s e l f - r e n u n c i a t i o n t wise, not t h a t she may s e t h e r s e l f above her husband, but t h a t she may n e v e r f a l l from h i s s i d e i wise, n o t w i t h the narrowness of i n s o l e n t and l o v e l e s s p r i d e , but w i t h the p a s s i o n a t e g e n t l e n e s s of an i n f i n t e l y v a r i a b l e , because i n f i n i t e l y a p p l i c a b l e , modesty of s e r v i c e — t h e t r u e c h a n g e f u l n e s s of woman. 7 E l i o t has gone too f a r and  succeeded too w e l l i n her  attempt t o "take the b i t c h s e r i o u s l y " t o s t e p back and d e s c r i b e or judge Gwendolen a c c o r d i n g usually what she  a p p l i e d : to female b e h a v i o u r . does.  her e n l i g h t e n e d  Instead  t o the narrow s t a n d a r d s But  this i s exactly  of f o l l o w i n g t o i t s l o g i c a l  conclusion  a n a l y s i s of Gwendolen, she p u l l s from those  f i r s t books the t h i n v o i c e of t r a d i t i o n a l o p i n i o n and it  either  to c o n t r o l the r e s t o f the n o v e l .  Despite  her  allows  brilliant  exposure of the l i m i t i n g e f f e c t s of p a t r i a r c h y on woman's s e l f development, she  ignores  t h a t f a c t o r i n her programme f o r  Gwendolen's growth from egoism to knowledge and of o t h e r s .  appreciation  What the n o v e l demands i a Gwendolen's s e r i o u s  c o n f r o n t a t i o n of the system of s o c i a l a t t i t u d e s towards women whcih have made her what she i s .  What the n o v e l g i v e s i s  153 corollary,  t o the other s i d e o f the feminine mystique. Gwen-  dolen's e d u c a t i o n , as I hope t o demonstrate, depends e n t i r e l y on r e c o g n i t i o n  o f h e r s e l f as the prime agent of a l l h e r a c -  t i o n s and consequent acceptance o f a g u i l t which t o some ext e n t ought t o be p l a c e d character.  on the s o c i e t y which has moulded h e r  What she l e a r n s then i s n o t h e a l t h y  but n e u r o t i c masochism. only w i t h h e r .  There i s n o t h i n g  wrong w i t h the world,  She has been "bad" (the b i t c h ) and she must  become " b e t t e r " (the good woman). personal  self-criticism  I t i s the k i n d  o f easy  o r i n d i v i d u a l s o l u t i o n which a v o i d s e n t i r e l y the  l a r g e r question  o f how much a f p e r s o n , and e s p e c i a l l y a woman,  i s the p r o d u c t o f h e r or h i s  environment.  Because E l i o t f a i l s t o c a r r y through h e r i n i t i a l r a d i c a l a n a l y s i s o f Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n , the p o l i t i c a l and a r t i s t i c power o f h e r a t o r y i s reduced. The a e s t h e t i c - f a i l u r e i s d i s * cussed l a t e r i n t h i s c h a p t e r b u t on a p o l i t i c a l l e v e l one can t u r n t o Marx's argument, mentioned i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h i s t h e s i s , w i t h Feuerbach's d i s c u s s i o n o f the causes o f s e l f alienation i n religion, Feuerbach s t a r t s out from the f a c t o f r e l i g i o u s s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n , the d u p l i c a t i o n o f t h e w o r l d i n t o a r e l i g i o u s , imaginary world and a r e a l one. H i s work c o n s i s t s i n the d i s s o l u t i o n o f the r e l i g i o u s w o r l d i n t o i t s s e c u l a r b a s i s . He o v e r l o o k s the f a c t t h a t a f t e r completing t h i s work, the c h i e f t h i n g s t i l l remains t o be done. F o r the f a c t t h a t the s e c u l a r f o u n d a t i o n detaches i t s e l f from i t s e l f and e s t a b l i s h e s i t s e l f i n the c l o u d s as an i n d e pendent realm i s r e a l l y only t o be e x p l a i n e d by the s e l f cleavage and s e l f r c o n t r a d i c t o r i n e s s o f this secular basis. The l a t t e r must i t s e l f , t h e r e f o r e , f i r s t be understood i n i t s c o n t r a d i c t i o n and then, by removal o f c o n t r a d i c t i o n be r e v o l u -  154 tionized i n practice. E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e i s even more s e r i o u s than Feuerbach's because she goes a step f a r t h e r than him by d e s c r i b i n g c l e a r l y the " c o n t r a d i c t o r i n e s s o f t h i s s e c u l a r b a s i s , " b u t then stops  s h o r t where r e a l a c t i o n i s r e q u i r e d and w i l l n o t  attempt any " r e v o l u t i o n o f p r a c t i c e . "  Gwendolen's s o l u t i o n ,  f o r E l i o t , l i e s n o t i n l e a r n i n g t o understand and grapple w i t h r e a l i t y b u t i n r i s i n g above the problems o f V i c t o r i a n s o c i a l l i f e by i n d i v i d a u l moral energy.  The i m p l i e d  sugges-  t i o n i n the e a r l i e r books, t h a t the Gwendolens can o n l y r e a l l y change when s o c i e t y changes, i s abandonned. Now s o c i e t y i s undynamic and s a l v a t i o n becomes a p e r s o n a l Because i t n e g l e c t s  affair.  the d i a l e c t i c s o f s o c i a l s t r u g g l e , the  " i n d i v i d u a l " s o l u t i o n which E l i o t o f f e r s f o r Gwendolen i s at l e a s t p a r t l y  spurious.  That i s n o t t o say D a n i e l Deronda would be a s u c c e s s f u l n o v e l i f a l l the male c h a r a c t e r s and  t o t h e i r chauvinism  the women r a n o f f and became m o l e c u l a r b i o l o g i s t s .  t a i n l y the n o v e l But  confessed  Cer-  does n o t possess t h a t k i n d o f p o s s i b i l i t y .  i t does have the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t Gwendolen w i l l come t o  understand the w o r l d as h e r c r e a t o r does, t h a t i n s t e a d o f b l i n d l y a c t i n g and r e a c t i n g , Gwendolen w i l l come t o understand some o f the s o c i a l dynamics t h a t E l i o t has made so o b v i o u s . The  gap between a u t h o r and s u b j e c t i n the f i r s t books i s never  bridged  and the whole q u e s t i o n  o f how much s o c i e t y has d e t e r -  mined Gwendolen's egoism i s l e f t hanging w h i l e the terms o f reference  s h i f t completely.  I n the second h a l f of the n o v e l  155  E l i o t has stopped d e s c r i b i n g the world d y n a m i c a l l y and i s a c c e p t i n g i t as g i v e n .  Thus there i s no r e a l v i c t o r y f o r  G w e n d o l e n — o r f o r t h e type o f woman she r e p r e s e n t s — o n l y f o r the p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s o f a s e x i s t  society.  S e v e r a l c r i t i c s have p o i n t e d out .how s i m i l a r the method of  Gwendolen's r e g e n e r a t i o n i s t o the t e c h n i q u e s used i n o  modern p s y c h i a t r i c a n a l y s i s . ly  This i s very true.  But e x a c t -  the c r i t i c i s m s t h a t a r e now b e i n g l e v e l l e d a g a i n s t the  treatment o f women i n a n a l y s i s can a l s o be a p p l i e d t o Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n . psychiatrist  What a woman i s t o o o f t e n taught by h e r  ( U s u a l l y male and n o t n e c e s s a r i l y F r e u d i a n ) i s  not objective s e l f - c r i t i c i s m ?  she l e a r n s i n s t e a d t o a p p l y t o  her own s e l f the standards o f female b e h a v i o u r s e t by s o c i e t y . Woman i s nurturance...anatomy decrees the l i f e o f a woman...when women grow up w i t h o u t dread o f b i o l o g i c a l f u n c t i o n s and w i t h o u t s u b v e r s i o n by f e m i n i s t d o c t r i n e and t h e r e f o r e e n t e r upon motherhood w i t h a sense o f f u l f i l l m e n t and a l t r u i s t i c sentiment, we s h a l l a t t a i n the g o a l o f a good l i f e and a secure w o r l d i n which t o live.l° Consequently a woman l i k e Gwendolen comes t o understand t h a t . her own misery and the misery she has caused o t h e r s stems from h e r f a i l u r e t o a c c e p t h e r feminine i d e n t i t y , e x a c t l y the f a u l t that E l i o t , has suggested.  i n those i r r i t a t i n g p a r t s o f Book I and I I ,  The s o l u t i o n o f course l i e s i n Gwendolen's  becoming more "womanly." from one female r o l e  But t h i s merely removes Gwendolen  (the b i t c h ) d i r e c t l y i n t o a n o t h e r .  This  other, the good woman syndrome, i s c e r t a i n l y more f r e e i n g and more s o c i a l l y p r o d u c t i v e than the f r u s t r a t i n g r o l e o f the  156 b i t c h b u t i t i s s t i l l based i n the same p e r v a s i v e of the  oppression  a woman's n a t u r a l growth and does n o t a d e q u a t e l y f u l f i l l promise of a new  seemed i n i t i a l l y  a t t i t u d e t o women toward which  Eliot  to be p r g r e s s i n g .  As W a l t e r Houghton p o i n t s out i n The V i c t o r i a n Frame of  Mind** the i d e a l of the good woman was  ment o f V i c t o r i a n s o c i a l p h i l o s o p h y . n u r t u r i n g mother,  she was  an e s s e n t i a l  ele-  As untouched v i r g i n or  the source o f moral goodness t o  p r o t e c t s o c i e t y from the new  threats to s t a b i l i t y presented  by the commercial and i m p e r i a l i s t i c  spirit,  the growing  doubts about orthodox C h r i s t i a n i t y and the u n d e n i a b l e i n c r e a s e in  prostitution.  E l i o t and many of the o t h e r V i c t o r i a n i n -  t e l l e c t u a l s were a f r a i d t o l o o k f o r the r o o t s o f t h i s  growing  s o c i a l c h a o s — b e c a u s e i t would mean an e n t i r e r e v o l u t i o n o f s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s and i n s t i t u t i o n s ! i n s t e a d , they t r i e d t o shore up the system a g a i n s t c o l l a p s e by promoting the image of  the good woman, "the a n g e l i n the house," as s o c i e t y ' s  saving gracei "Mr. Deronda, you must e n l i g h t e n my i g n o r a n c e . I want t o know why you thought i t wrong f o r me t o gamble. I s i t because I am a woman?" "Not a l t o g e t h e r ; but I r e g r e t t e d i t the more because you were a woman," s a i d Deronda,. "But why should you r e g r e t i t more because I am a woman?" "Perhaps because we need t h a t you should be b e t t e r than we a r e . " (DD, 3 8 3 - 4 ) Although E l i o t c l e a r l y saw how was  h u r t f u l the o p p r e s s i o n of women  t o p e r s o n a l s e l f - d e v e l o p m e n t , she c o u l d n o t abandon the  t r a d i t i o n a l views of a woman's role«  thus the double tone \  157 of the f i r s t two books o f D a n i e l Deronda and the f i n a l t o r y o f the o l d v a l u e s . entitled  vic-  Houghton's c o n c l u s i o n t o h i s c h a p t e r  "Love" suras up the reason why many otherwise  s i v e V i c t o r i a n s found themselves  progres-  t a k i n g a c o n s e r v a t i v e view  on the p o s i t i o n o f woment To r e f l e c t f o r a moment on the p r e c e d i n g d i s c u s s i o n i s t o r e a l i z e w i t h s p e c i a l f o r c e how much and how c u r i o u s l y the dynamics of an age a f f e c t the human mind. That V i c t o r i a n i d e a s about r e l i g i o n or p o l i t i c s o r e d u c a t i o n should have been c l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o the environment i s o n l y what we should expect. But offhand, we might n o t have supposed t h a t such p e r s o n a l and elemental f e e l i n g s as those about l o v e and women would have been so s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d by the hard c o m p e t i t i v e world o f b u s i ness o r by the p r e s s u r e o f i n t e l l e c t i o n and doubt. The I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n c r e a t e s t h e l a r g e , impers o n a l c i t y and makes c o n s i d e r a b l e w e a l t h a r e q u i r e ment as w e l l as a s a n c t i o n f o r marriage. These f a c t o r s c o n t r i b u t e to;an a l a r m i n g i n c r e a s e o f p r o s t i t u t i o n ! a f a c t which, i n t u r n , c o n t r i b u t e s t o a s t r o n g p r o t e c t i v e movement i n morals ( a code o f p u r i t y , c e n s o r s h i p , and prudery) and an e f f o r t t o i d e a l i z e l o v e and women, i n c l u d i n g the mother, i n the cause o f p u r e r conduct. And t h a t i s o n l y one p a t t e r n , and an o v e r s i m p l i f i e d one. I t i s e q u a l l y t r u e t h a t the I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n c r e a t e d a p s y c h o l o g i c a l and amoral atmosphere f o r which an i d e a l i z e d home w i t h i t s h i g h p r i e s t e s s o f f e r e d a compensating sense o f humanity and moral d i r e c t i o n . And s t i l l , t o a l l t h a t must be added the p a r a l l e l impulse t o e x a l t the feminine n a t u r e and f i n d a " d i v i n i t y " i n l o v e which sprang from the needs o f the b a f f l e d i n t e l l e c t . Our most p e r s o n a l a t t i t u d e s are d e e p l y a f f e c t e d by elements i n the environment which seem t o have no c o n n e c t i o n w i t h them a t a l l . i  2  (v) The r e a l meaning o f Gwendolen's f i n a l s a l v a t i o n i s foreshadowed i n the a t t i t u d e E l i o t takes towards h e r i n Book I I I , which c o v e r s the events o f the few days between Gwendolen's r e t u r n from Lebronn and h e r acceptance  o f Grandcourt*s  158 proposal.  Although E l i o t again makes h i d e o u s l y  real  the  c o n d i t i o n s which f o r c e Gwendolen to make the d e c i s i o n s she the tone i s r a r e l y sympathetic; we d e a l i n g w i t h two  Eliot s—the t  seem almost now  a r t i s t who  still  to  does,  be  draws us sym-  p a t h e t i c a l l y i n t o the c i r c u m f e r e n c e of Gwendolen's e x p e r i e n c e , and  the commentator who  continually implies that a  "good"  woman would be a b l e to r e s i s t the temptation to marry Grandc o u r t , much as the i r r e p r o a c h a b l e  Mirah d i d when faced  with  the same s i t u a t i o n (the s t o r y of which, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , comes immediately b e f o r e  t h i s p a r t of Gwendolen's s t o r y ) .  i s t h a t the woman who  point  d i d r e s i s t i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n would have  t o be a s a i n t , someone u n a f f e c t e d s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n i n g and one who  The  by,  or who  had  " r i s e n above",  economic n e c e s s i t y , as w e l l as some-  w i l l i n g l y took i t upon h e r s e l f to bear the burden of  a l l the s i n s of the r e s t of s o c i e t y . dispassionate  But  t h a t i s what the  commentator seems to expect of Gwendolen.  r e a l i s m which made the f i r s t two  books so c o m p e l l i n g  The  i s under-  mined i n "Maiden's Choosing" by a b a s i c r e f u s a l to a c c e p t power s o c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s have over the i n d i v i d u a l .  the  Eliot  !  i d e a l i z e s p o v e r t y , r e f u s i n g to admit t h a t i t more o f t e n d e s t r o y s than b u i l d s c h a r a c t e r : nessing  i n a way  she  sentimentalizes  over g o v e r -  t h a t would only b r i n g sneers from a Jane  Eyre, a Jane F a i r f a x or even a Mary Garthj  and  finally,  the case of Gwendolen's "promise" to L y d i a Glasher,  she  f o r Gwendolen a moral problem which though a p p a r e n t l y f i c a n t i s a c t u a l l y meaningless g i v e n t h a t Gwendolen has  in creates  signii n fact  159 no c h o i c e but t o marry H e n l e i g h  Grandcourt.  When Gwendolen r e t u r n s from Lebronn s i n g l y untenable s i t u a t i o n . have been sympathetic f l i p p a n t and  she f a c e s an  increa-  But where E l i o t would p r e v i o u s l y  or a t l e a s t a n a l y t i c a l ,  she i s now  critical.  To be dropped s o l i t a r y a t an u g l y , i r r e l e v a n t l o o k i n g spot w i t h a sense of no income on the mind, might w e l l prompt a man t o d i s c o u r a g i n g s p e c u l a t i o n on the o r i g i n of t h i n g s and the reason of a world where a s u b t l e t h i n k e r found h i m s e l f so b a d l y o f f . How much more might such t r i a l s t e l l on a young l a d y equipped f o r s o c i e t y w i t h a f a s t i d i o u s t a s t e , an I n d i a n shawl over her arm, some twenty c u b i c f e e t of t r u n k s by h e r s i d e , and a m o r t a l d i s l i k e t o the new c o n s c i o u s n e s s of p o v e r t y which was s t i m u l a t i n g her i m a g i n a t i o n of d i s a g r e e a b l e s ? (DD, 2 6 9 - 7 0 ) The d i s t i n c t i o n made between men perhaps worth c o n s i d e r i n g .  and woman i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s  Gwendolen has been t r a i n e d t o have  h i g h e r e x p e c t a t i o n s from the world than a man.  But f o r the  same reason, because of her sex, when any c a t a s t r o p h e s t r i k e s she can do n o t h i n g about the f a i l u r e o f those e x p e c t a t i o n s t o be f u l f i l l e d  ( f o r g e t t i n g f o r the moment t h a t perhaps no  s h o u l d have such e x p e c t a t i o n s ) .  T h i s r a i s e s an  one  interesting  problem w i t h r e g a r d t o E l i o t ' s i d e a of the p r o p e r course of a c t i o n f o r Gwendolen. and  A c o n s t a n t p l a y on the words  "submit"  " r e s i s t " occurs i n the n e x t few c h a p t e r s and o b v i o u s l y  i n E l i o t ' s eyes Gwendolen i s a t f a u l t f o r her f a i l u r e t o subm i t t o her new-found p o v e r t y and to l e a v e the management o f a f f a i r s t o her uncle« A t f i r s t , Gwendolen remained s i l e n t , p a l i n g w i t h a n g e r — j u s t i f i a b l e anger, i n her opinon. Then she said with h a u g h t i n e s s — "That i s i m p o s s i b l e . Something e l s e than t h a t  i6o ought t o have been thought o f . My uncle ought n o t to a l l o w t h a t . I w i l l n o t submit t o i t . " (DD, 273) Tom T u l l i v e r went out t o recoup the f a m i l y f o r t u n e s , and t h a t was c o n s i d e r e d  manly.  The s u s p i c i o n begins t o grow t h a t  the r e a l reason f o r the p r e s c r i p t i o n o f submission i s t h a t i t i s the "womanly" t h i n g t o do. dictim  (and here Mrs. Davilow I t h i n k speaks f o r E l i o t )  "We must r e s i g n o u r s e l v e s (DP,  274) Gwendolen i s determined t o r e s i s t ,  spirit,  that  t o the w i l l o f Providence, my c h i l d , "  can about t h e i r s i t u a t i o n .  (DP,  However, d e s p i t e h e r mother's  t o do what she  One cannot help a d m i r i n g h e r  d e s p i t e h e r " p r a c t i c a l ignorance, c o n t i n u a l l y e x h i b i t e d "  276).  T h i s ignorance i s one o f the consequences o f a  young g i r l ' s t o t a l l y inadequate p r e p a r a t i o n  for l i f e ,  by v i r -  tue o f which Gwendolen's attempts t o a c t f o r h e r s e l f a r e doomed, and  h e r r e f u s a l o f Grandcourt*s p r o p o s a l  i s made  impossible.  Gwendolen's " f a u l t " o f course i s t h a t she " r e s i s t s " f o r the wrong r e a s o n s — f o r  s e l f i s h r e a s o n s — t o a v o i d h e r own po-  v e r t y and sense o f s o c i a l h u m i l i a t i o n . but  T h i s i s t r u e enough,  Gwendolen's whole h i s t o r y has l e d h e r t o have other ex-  pectations  from the world; t h i s E l i o t seems t o remove from  consdieration.  The words o f her mother's l e t t e r announcing the  f a m i l y ' s f i n a n c i a l r u i n a r e p a r t i c u l a r l y r e v e a l i n g o f the a t t i t u d e towards h e r s e l f which Gwendolen has absorbed, I always f e e l i t i m p o s s i b l e t h a t you can have been meant f o r p o v e r t y . (DD, 44) F u r t h e r we must remember t h a t Gwendolen's d e c i s i o n t o marry Grandcourt i s the l a s t c h o i c e  she would wish t o make b u t  c i r c u m s t a n c e s c l o s e i n on h e r so t i g h t l y t h a t i t becomes  161 p r a c t i c a l l y unavoidable, While Gwendolen c e r t a i n l y remains r e s p o n s i b l e f o r her c h o i c e s , i t i s V i c t o r i a n England t h a t n o u r i s h e s her i n the e x p e c t a t i o n s which o n l y a Grandcourt can f u l f i l and c r e a t e s the s i t u a t i o n i n which her r e f u s a l o f him i s almost i m p o s s i b l e . 1 3 B e s i d e s Gwendolen's own  ambitions which have been i n c u l -  c a t e d by the s o c i e t y i n which she l i v e s ,  t h e r e a r e a l s o the  demands which her f a m i l y p l a c e on her..-.As w e l l as b e i n g the household p e t , Gwendolen, i r o n i c a l l y enough, has a l s o been l o o k e d t o as the s t r e n g t h o f the f a m i l y .  Consequently  her mother and her s i s t e r s expect Gwendolen t o do to r e l i e v e t h e i r s i t u a t i o n .  always  something  Her welcome home i s r e v e a l i n g i  Behind, of course, were the sad f a c e s of the f o u r s u p e r f l u o u s g i r l s , each, poor t h i n g — l i k e those o t h e r many thousand s i s t e r s of us a l l — h a v i n g her p e c u l i a r world which was o f no importance t o any one e l s e , but a l l o f them f e e l i n g Gwendolen's presence t o be somehow a r e l e n t i n g of misfortune» where Gwendolen was, something i n t e r e s t i n g would happen; even her h u r r i e d submission t o t h e i r k i s s e s , and 'Now go away, g i r l s , • c a r r i e d the s o r t of comf o r t which a l l weakness f i n d s i n d e c i s i o n and a u t h o r i t a t i v e n e s s . (DD, 2 7 1 ) Gwendolen r e a c t s as s t r o n g l y t o her mother's t e a r f u l n e s s as she does t o her own misery; r e g a r d l e s s of h e r own bilities  obvious i n a -  she i s s i n c e r e enough i n her d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o save  n o t only h e r s e l f but her f a m i l y as w e l l t "Never mind, mama d e a r , " s a i d Gwendolen, t e n d e r l y p r e s s i n g her h a n d k e r c h i e f a g a i n s t the t e a r s t h a t were r o l l i n g down Mrs. Davilow's cheeks. "Never mind, I don't mind. I w i l l do something. I will be something. Things w i l l come r i g h t . I t seemed worse because I was away.. Come now] You must be g l a d because I am h e r e . " (DD, 2 7 1 ) However, Gwendolen's attempts t o r e s c u e her f a m i l y from p o v e r t y are as determined by her background  as any o f her  162 other a c t i o n s .  Her n o t i o n s of going on the stage,  p a t h e t i c i n t h e i r ignorance  and  while  egoism, are i m p o s s i b l e to  r e a l i z e because of the manner i n which a young E n g l i s h l a d y ' s t a l e n t s are developed.  As Klesmer s u c c i n c t l y puts i t s  "You are a b e a u t i f u l young l a d y — y o u have been brought up i n e a s e — y o u have done what you w o u l d — y o u have not s a i d to y o u r s e l f , "I must know t h i s e x a c t l y , " "I must understand t h i s e x a c t l y , " "I must do t h i s e x a c t l y " ' — i n u t t e r i n g these three t e r r i b l e musts, Klesmer l i f t e d up t h r e e l o n g f i n g e r s i n s u c c e s s i o n . "In sum, you have n o t been c a l l e d upon to be anyt h i n g but a charming young l a d y , whom i t i s an imp o l i t e n e s s to f i n d f a u l t w i t h . " And  i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note where Klesmer f e e l s her  future  real  liess The gods have a c u r s e f o r him who w i l l i n g l y t e l l s another the wrong r o a d . And i f I m i s l e d one who i s so young, so b e a u t i f u l — w h o , I t r u s t , w i l l f i n d her happiness a l o n g the r i g h t road, I s h o u l d r e g a r d mys e l f as a — B o s e w i c h t . (DD, 297)  Klesmer i s o b v i o u s l y not r e f e r r i n g to Grandcourt;  neverthe-  l e s s Gwendolen i s pushed i n c r e a s i n g l y toward the  unavoidable  r e a l i z a t i o n that her.only s o l u t i o n l i e s i n m a r r i a g e — t h e c a r e e r f o r which she has any  training at  single  all.  Gwendolen's o t h e r c h o i c e i s of course t o take up p o s i t i o n of governess t o Mrs. Mompert's c h i l d r e n .  the  That  Eliot  f e e l s t h i s i s the course Gwendolen should take i s c l e a r from her h e r r e f e r e n c e to the "supreme worth of the t e a c h e r ' s v o c a t i o n " (DD,  317).  Yet, a t the same time the e f f e c t of a l l the  v i o u s c h a p t e r s has been to show why, ground, t h i s i s an i m p o s s i b l e  pre-  because of her back-  alternatives  George E l i o t has l e d us t o see t h a t becoming a governess i s . a h o r r i b l e f a t e f o r Gwendolen, even  163 though i t need n o t be so f o r a d i f f e r e n t p e r s o n — which i s a consequence o f the homage t h a t the n o v e l exacts f o r Gwendolen from us. So we a r e w i t h Gwend o l e n i n f e e l i n g h e r c h o i c e t o be a v e r y d i f f i c u l t one, i n which moral and m a t e r i a l q u e s t i o n s a r e f i n e l y balanced and i n e x t r i c a b l y l i n k e d . 1 4 Yet even g i v e n Gwendolen's egoism i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o b e l i e v e that her r e p u l s i o n to governessing i s purely s e l f i s h .  Any  s t u d e n t o f the p e r i o d knows t h a t g o v e r n e s s i n g was v e r y r a r e l y rewarding work: . . . p a i d companion, i n f a n t nurse, governess, s c h o o l t e a c h e r . As they a r e arranged, each i s b u t another name f o r s e r v a n t . Each i n v o l v e s s t a r v a t i o n wages which o n l y a l i f e t i m e o f s a v i n g c o u l d ever c o n v e r t t o ransom...Furthermore, these o c c u p t i o n s i n v o l v e " l i v i n g - i n " and a twenty-four hour s u r v e i l l a n c e tantamount t o imprisonment.12 We can o n l y agree w i t h Gwendolen when she "saw the l i f e her (DD, seem  [ a t t h e Bishop 'Is]  before  as an entrance i n t o a p e n i t e n t i a r y ' *  3 1 5 ) • I t i s E l i o t , r a t h e r than Gwendolen, who does n o t t o be f a c i n g up t o r e a l i t y . Although her tone i s n o t n e a r l y so understanding i n t h i s  s e c t i o n o f the n o v e l E l i o t s t i l l g i v e s the r e a d e r the opport u n i t y t o sympathize  w i t h Gwendolen's d i f f i c u l t s i t u a t i o n :  ...and poor Gwendolen had never d i s s o c i a t e d happ i n e s s from p e r s o n a l pre-eminence and e c l a t . That where these t h r e a t e n e d t o f o r s a k e her, she should take l i f e t o be h a r d l y worth the having, cannot make her so u n l i k e the r e s t o f us, men o r women, t h a t we should c a s t h e r out o f compassion? our moments of temptations t o a mean o p i n i o n o f t h i n g s i n g e n e r a l b e i n g u s u a l l y dependent on some s u s c e p t i b i l i t y about o u r s e l v e s and some dulness t o s u b j e c t s which everyone e l s e would c o n s i d e r i m p o r t a n t . Surely a young c r e a t u r e i s p i t i a b l e who has the l a b y r i n t h of l i f e b e f o r e h e r and no c l u e — t o whom d i s t r u s t i n h e r s e l f and h e r good f o r t u n e has come as a sudden shock, l i k e a r e n t a c r o s s the path she was t r e a d i n g so c a r e l e s s l y . (DD, 3 1 7 )  164 The  v o i c e o f the o b j e c t i v e and t r a d i t i o n a l m o r a l i s t however  r i n g s even l o u d e r and more c l e a r l y . preceding  The sentences immediately  the above q u o t a t i o n are c l e a r l y spoken i n judgment  of Gwendolen's a c t i o n s and E l i o t ' s antagonism t o the " s e l f i s h woman" i s obvioust No r e l i g i o u s view o f t r o u b l e helped h e r : h e r t r o u b l e s had i n h e r o p i n i o n a l l been caused by other people's d i s a g r e e a b l e o r wicked conduct; and t h e r e was r e a l l y n o t h i n g p l e a s a n t t o be counted on i n the w o r l d ; t h a t was h e r f e e l i n g ; e v e r y t h i n g e l s e she had heard s a i d about t r o u b l e was mere phrase-making n o t a t t r a c t i v e enough f o r h e r t o have caught i t up and repeated i t . As t o the sweetness o f l a b o u r and f u l f i l l e d c l a i m s ; the i n t e r e s t o f inward and outward a c t i v i t y ; the impersonal d e l i g h t s o f l i f e as a p e r p e t u a l d i s c o v e r y ; the dues o f courage, f o r t i t u d e , i n d u s t r y , which i t i s mere baseness n o t t o pay towards the common b u r then; the supreme worth o f the t e a c h e r ' s v o c a t i o n ; — these, even i f they had:been e l o q u e n t l y preached to her, c o u l d have been no more than f a i n t l y apprehended d o c t r i n e s ; the f a c t which wrought upon h e r was h e r i n v a r i a b l e o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t f o r a l a d y t o become a g o v e r n e s s — t o 'take a s i t u a t i o n ' — w a s t o descend i n l i f e and t o be t r e a t e d a t b e s t w i t h a comp a s s i o n a t e patronage. (DD., 3 1 7 ) C e r t a i n l y these a r e noble,  i f somewhat r h e t o r i c a l ,  sentiments  as t o the d u t i e s and rewards o f r e s p o n s i b i l e a d u l t h o o d .  3ut  g i v e n the sexism t o which any woman i n Gwendolen's p o s i t i o n i s exposed, the words r i n g hollow is  d i f f i c u l t t o b e l i e v e i n the  a t t h i s p o i n t i n the n o v e l . I t "supreme worth o f the t e a c h e r "  when one i s t a l k i n g about governessing;  courage,  fortitude  and i n d u s t r y a r e q u a l i t i e s which a woman i s allowed  t o exer-  c i s e o n l y i n the p r e s c r i b e d c o n f i n e s o f the home, and the "perpetual discovery" of l i f e  i s u s u a l l y l i m i t e d t o the rewards o f  b e a r i n g endless  children.  and  c l a i m s " means c o n f i n i n g o n e s e l f t o the r o l e o f  "fulfilling  A woman's l a b o u r i s r a r e l y  "sweet",  165 d u t i f u l w i f e or daughter. for  Gwendolen's l i f e  E l i o t ' s image of the  o n l y have meaning i n an i d e a l  where women are allowed f u l l If,  "educated"  to p a r t i c i p a t e i n  then the p o l i t i c s of sex, which have so  the n o v e l u n t i l now, In  society  access t o a l l human a c t i v i t i e s .  however, Gwendolen i s to be  the r e a l world,  possibilities  cannot go  unchallenged.  the midst of Gwendolen's e x p e r i e n c e s i n Book I I I ,  E l i o t i n t e r j e c t s the s t o r y of C a t h e r i n e Arrowpoint's s i o n t o d e f y her f a m i l y and marry Klesmer. son between Gwendolen and Mirah was  deci-  Although a  " l i v e " as a c h a r a c t e r .  compari-  i n t e n d e d e a r l i e r i n the  book i t does not succeed v e r y w e l l because the l a t t e r does n o t  pervaded  simply  But w i t h Gwendolen and  C a t h e r i n e the i n t e n d e d comparison does seem t o work a t Gwendolen supposedly  first.  r e b e l s a g a i n s t her s i t u a t i o n because of  a s e l f i s h r e f u s a l t o a c c e p t p o v e r t y and a lowered  social  sta-  tus? on the o t h e r hand C a t h e r i n e ' s r e b e l l i o n i s a l l e g e d l y a p o s i t i v e one l e a d i n g t o g r e a t e r p e r s o n a l f u l f i l l m e n t and acceptance p o v e r t y and  an  of e x a c t l y t h a t which Gwendolen cannot f a c e - s o c i a l ostracism.  S u p e r f i c i a l l y the i m p l i e d  c r i t i c i s m of Gwendolen i s e f f e c t i v e u n t i l one r e a l l y compares the freedom of a c t i o n of the two  characters.  Catherine  has s i m p l y not s u f f e r e d under the same p r e s s u r e s as Gwendolen and consequently  i s not burdened w i t h her egoism and v a n i t y .  C a t h e r i n e i s v e r y p l a i n and r e n t a l snobbishness  through  e i t h e r good l u c k or pa-  has a s u p e r i o r e d u c a t i o n t o Gwendolen's.  Though her g r e a t f o r t u n e , l i k e Gwendolen's l a c k of wealth,  166 should make her an economic Because her  pawn, t h a t has n o t been the c a s e .  o f her p l a i n n e s s she knows t h a t men  money, n o t h e r l o o k s .  are a t t r a c t e d  As Klesmer reminds  by  hen  But you once s a i d i t was your doom t o s u s p e c t every man who c o u r t e d you of b e i n g an a d v e n t u r e r , and what made you a n g r i e s t was men's i m p u t i n g t o you the f o l l y of b e l i e v i n g t h a t they c o u r t e d you f o r your own sake. (DD, 28?) Thus she has a l e s s s e l f - c e n t r e d and c o n s e q u e n t l y more r e a l i s t i c w o r l d view than Gwendolen. As each of Gwendolen's " p l a n s " f a i l , and the i n e v i t a bility  o f her own  life  as a governess and her mother's as  an i n h a b i t a n t o f Sawyer's Cottage c l o s e s i n , Grandcourt's p r o p o s a l o f marriage becomes i r r e s i s t i b l e . cause o f the man  h i m s e l f , b u t because  he w i l l b r i n g to her and her f a m i l y . for  he frames h i s p r o p o s a l i n economic  T h i s i s n o t be-  of the m a t e r i a l  relief  Grandcourt knows t h i s r a t h e r than romantic  terms, "You w i l l t e l l me now, I hope, t h a t Mrs. D a v i low's l o s s o f f o r t u n e w i l l n o t t r o u b l e you f u r t h e r . You w i l l t r u s t me t o p r e v e n t i t from w e i g h i n g upon her. You w i l l g i v e me the c l a i m t o p r o v i d e a g a i n s t that.". "You a c c e p t what w i l l make such t h i n g s a matter of c o u r s e ? " s a i d Grandcourt, w i t h o u t any new eagerness. "You consent t o become my w i f e ? " (DD', 347) The g r e a t c o m p l i c a t i o n i s o f course L y d i a Glashers i n E l i o t ' s mind t h i s i s Gwendolen's u n f o r g i v a b l e s i n . ing  By  marry-  Grandcourt, Gwendolen w i l l be d i s i n h e r i t i n g Grandcourt's  n a t u r a l c h i l d and s e a l i n g Mrs. Glasher's- own outcast.  f a t e as a s o c i a l  C e r t a i n l y Gwendolen can be h e l d t o blame f o r making  167 the  c h o i c e she does, but i t i s n o t an uncommon one f o r women  and i s dependent  on many q u e s t i o n s o t h e r than the p u r e l y  moral one. I n a world where women a r e t o t a l l y dependent  upon  men f o r economic s e c u r i t y and s o c i a l s t a t u s or f o r t h a t matter  f u l f i l l m e n t ' o f any o f t h e i r d e s i r e s , they a r e n a t u -  r a l l y t e r r i b l y competitive.  L y d i a G l a s h e r i s i n such a p r e -  c a r i o u s p o s i t i o n t h a t t o s u r v i v e she must a c t v e n g e f u l l y and u t t e r l y w i t h o u t sympathy towards Gwendolen. is  Though he  the cause o f h e r misery, Grandcourt remains untouchable and  Gwendolen has t o bear h i s  punishment,  ...and i t was n a t u r a l enough f o r Mrs. G l a s h e r t o e n t e r w i t h eagerness i n t o Lush's p l a n o f h i n d e r i n g t h a t new danger by s e t t i n g .up a b a r r i e r i n the mind of the g i r l who was b e i n g sought as a b f i d e . She e n t e r e d i n t o i t w i t h an eagerness which had p a s s i o n i n i t as w e l l as purpose, some o f the stored-up venom d e l i v e r i n g i t s e l f i n t h a t way. (DD, 388) But Gwendolen e q u a l l y must ensure h e r own s u r v i v a l and t h i s forces her to sin against Lydia Glasher.  I t i s Gwendolen's  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t h a t she a c c e p t s Grandcourt w i t h f u l l knowledge o f Mrs. G l a s h e r b u t i t i s due t o s o c i a l  institutions  t h a t the grotesque s p e c t a c l e o f Grandcourt p l a y i n g the two women o f f a g a i n s t each o t h e r should even occur i n t h e f i r s t place.  Gwendolen, as much as Mrs. G l a s h e r , i s f i g h t i n g f o r  a woman's s u r v i v a l i n a man's world; h e r d e c i s i o n t o marry Grandcourt, w h i l e r e g r e t t a b l e , i s more than u n d e r s t a n d a b l e . Though E l i o t p r o v i d e s the m a t e r i a l f o r such an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f Gwendolen's p o s i t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y through h e r b r i l l i a n t exposure  o f Grandcourt's a t t i t u d e towards  the two  168 women, she f a i l s  t o sympathize  i n s i s t s t h a t she accept f u l l  w i t h Gwendolen and i n s t e a d  personal g u i l t ,  . . . t h a t she was d o i n g something w r o n g — t h a t a punishment might be hanging over h e r — t h a t the woman to whom she had g i v e n her promise and broken i t was t h i n k i n g o f h e r i n b i t t e r n e s s and misery w i t h a j u s t reproach...(DD, 401) The s p e c i f i c problem her  "promise"  she c r e a t e s f o r Gwendolen i s o f course  t o L y d i a n o t t o marry Grandcourt.  was t h i s promise  Not o n l y  made i n o t h e r c i r c u m s t a n c e s when Gwendolen  had a measure o f economic s e c u r i t y which a l l o w e d h e r some c h o i c e i n whom she m a r r i e d b u t as a moral dilemma i t i s a kind of red h e r r i n g .  Gwendolen's r e a l problem  the m o r a l i s t s r a r e l y c o n s i d e r — w h a t v i v e i n a man's w o r l d .  i s one which  a woman must do t o s u r -  I t i s n o t Gwendolen's b r e a k i n g o f  a promise which i s immoral b u t the s i t u a t i o n which makes that necessary. (vi) L i v i n g under Grandcourt's  awful power, combined w i t h  her g u i l t a t h a v i n g b e t r a y e d L y d i a G l a s h e r , l e a d s Gwendolen  to suffer horribly.  And s u f f e r i n g i s of course the f i r s t  step to understanding. to  understand?  But what e x a c t l y does Gwendolen come  Because E l i o t has p r e v i o u s l y d e s c r i b e d h e r  c i r c u m s t a n c e s so a c c u r a t e l y — s o c o m p l e t e l y d e f i n e d the c o n d i t i o n s under which a woman d e v e l o p s — t h e r e a d e r i s bound t o expect Gwendolen's e d u c a t i o n through s u f f e r i n g t o i n c l u d e t o  i some degree,  as w e l l as the knowledge o f her own f a u l t s , a  r e c o g n i t i o n of the circumstances which have l e d t o them.  169.  But  t h i s i s n o t the c a s e .  F o r example, E l i o t h e r s e l f i s  aware o f Grandcourt's amoral e x e r c i s e  o f h i s masculine  poweri h i s s o u l was g a r r i s o n e d a g a i n s t p r e s e n t i m e n t s and fears« he had the courage and c o n f i d e n c e t h a t bel o n g t o domination, and he was a t t h a t moment f e e l i n g p e r f e c t l y s a t i s f i e d t h a t he h e l d h i s w i f e w i t h b i t and b r i d l e . By the time they had been m a r r i e d a y e a r she would cease t o be r e s t i v e . (DD, 7 4 4 ) But  she does n o t f o r one moment a l l o w Gwendolen the r e l i e f  of knowing t h a t h e r m a r i t a l misery i s n o t c o m p l e t e l y induced.  On the c o n t r a r y ,  e n t i r e l y i n accepting actions.  Gwendolen's " e d u c a t i o n "  selfconsists  complete r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r a l l h e r  V/hile s e l f - c r i t i c i s m and h u m i l i t y can have  regenerative  great  power, p e r s o n a l abasement can become n e u r o t i c  e s p e c i a l l y when the i n d i v i d u a l i s made t o see h e r s e l f as s e p a r a t e from t h e s o c i a l m i l i e u i n which she has a c t e d . The  i r o n y here i s most i n t e r e s t i n g .  Eliot,  of a l l  n o v e l i s t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n s i s t s that her characters nize r e a l i t y t tically,  a t the same time, they r e c o g n i z e  and i n s t e a d o f l e t t i n g them explore  recog-  i t uncri-  the c o n t r a d i c -  t i o n s o f s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s , she encourages the i d e a t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s can develop the moral f o r c e t o r i s e above evils. cal  Such a s i t u a t i o n o f course i s p a r t i c u l a r l y  social criti-  f o r women, because i t i s j u s t such a c a l l f o r d e v e l o p -  ment of t h e i r supposedly i n n a t e moral goodness which most s e c u r e l y b i n d s them t o t h e i r o p p r e s s i v e  s i t u a t i o n . The  c o r o l l a r y to the r u l e t h a t women must always be good and u n s e l f i s h i s t h a t they must submit w i t h o u t complaint t o  i?o the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e which has determined secondary  status.  Gwendolen's guide  through  her p e r i o d o f s u f f e r i n g i s  D a n i e l Deronda, and any c l o s e examination  of h i s c o u n s e l t o  her r e v e a l s t h a t E l i o t has s u b s t i t u t e d f o r a r a d i c a l s i s o f s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s — s p e c i f i c a l l y the nature politics  their  (the p o s s i b i l i t y f o r which was suggested  analy-  of s e x u a l by the  e a r l y books o f the n o v e l ) — t h e t r a d i t i o n a l • theory o f i n d i v i -  d u a l s a l v a t i o n and the o l d s t e r e o t y p e o f woman as agent o f moral goodness.  I n a l l t h e i r meetings t o g e t h e r Deronda ne-  v e r e x p l o r e s w i t h Gwendolen the p a r t i c u l a r s o f h e r s i t u a t i o n . From the v e r y b e g i n n i n g he encourages h e r t o s h o u l d e r a l l blame.  His attitude i s clear i n their f i r s t  a f t e r h e r marriage  conversation  where, even i n a l i g h t - h e a r t e d exchange,  he d i r e c t s h e r t o l o o k e n t i r e l y inward  f o r the cause o f h e r  unhappinesst "I t h i n k what we c a l l the d u l n e s s o f t h i n g s i s a d i s e a s e i n o u r s e l v e s . E l s e how c o u l d anyone f i n d an i n t e n s e i n t e r e s t i n l i f e ? And many do." "Ah, I s e e l The f a u l t I f i n d i n the w o r l d ^ i s my own f a u l t , " s a i d Gwendolen, s m i l i n g a t him. Then a f t e r a moment, l o o k i n g up a t the i v o r y a g a i n , she s a i d , "Do you never f i n d f a u l t w i t h the world o r w i t h o t h e r s ? " "Oh y e s . When I am i n a grumbling mood." (DD, k6k) C e r t a i n l y Gwendolen must examine h e r own s e l f i s h n e s s but Deronda never takes h e r beyond t h a t p o i n t ; i n f a c t d u r i n g the r e s t of t h e i r scenes  t o g e t h e r both he and she almost  i n her personal g u i l t .  Gwendolen i s c o n t i n u a l l y  e v e r y t h i n g t o n e r s e l f and a s k i n g what she can do.  revel  referring  171  I wanted to ask you something. You s a i d I was i g n o r a n t . That i s t r u e . And what can I do but ask you? (DD, 6 7 2 ) "You have saved me from worse," s a i d Gwendolen, i n a sobbing v o i c e . "I should have been worse, i f i t had n o t been f o r you. I f you had n o t been good, I should have been more wicked than I am." (DD, 7 6 7 ) "I asked you what I ought be a f r a i d of seems h a r d . (DD, 7 5 3 )  t o come because I want you t o t e l l me t o do," she began, a t once. "Don't t e l l i n g me what i s r i g h t , because i t I have made up my mind to do i t . "  Deronda p a r t i c i p a t e s f u l l y i n her s e l f - c o n d e m n a t i o n and always encourages h e r t o a c c e p t her s u f f e r i n g as a k i n d o f due punishment f o r her own  uncritically  selfishness:  Deronda c o u l d n o t u t t e r one word t o d i m i n i s h t h a t s a c r e d a v e r s i o n t o h e r worst s e l f — t h a t t h o r n p r e s s u r e which must come w i t h the crowning o f the s o r r o w f u l B e t t e r , s u f f e r i n g because o f the Worse... There were no words o f comfort t h a t d i d n o t c a r r y some s a c r i l e g e . I f -he had opened h i s l i p s t o speak,' he c o u l d o n l y have echoed, " I t can n e v e r be a l t e r e d — i t remains u n a l t e r e d , t o a l t e r o t h e r t h i n g s . " (DD, 7 6 2 ) That i s the b i t t e r e s t of a l l — t o wear the yoke o f our own wrong-doing. But i f you submitted t o t h a t , as men submit t o maiming o r a l i f e l o n g i n c u r a b l e d i s e a s e ? — a n d made the u n a l t e r a b l e wrong a r e a s o n f o r more e f f o r t towards a good t h a t may do somet h i n g t o c o u n t e r b a l a n c e the e v i l ? One who has committed i r r e m e d i a b l e e r r o r s may be scourged by t h a t c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n t o a h i g h e r course than i s common." (DD, 5 0 6 ) Gwendolen,  through Deronda's i n f l u e n c e , is, c o m p l e t e l y  by the c o n s c i o u s n e s s of her own e v i l , i n d i v i d u a l self-development?  "scourged"  but a t what c o s t to her  The "higher c o u r s e " t h a t  De-  ronda has i n mind i s o b v i o u s l y n o t h i n g more than the adopt i o n o f the r o l e of the i d e a l V i c t o r i a n woman.  Thus her  o r i g i n a l s i n becomes the a n c i e n t one o f " u n f e m i n i n i t y . "  172 Deronda's musings on the changes i n Gwendolen s i n c e marriage g i v e i s supposed to  the c l u e to the d i r e c t i o n i n which her  her  education  leadi  But i n s e e i n g Gwendolen a t Diplow, Deronda had d i s c e r n e d i n her more than he had expected of t h a t t e n d e r a p p e a l i n g charm which we c a l l womanly. Was there any new change s i n c e then? (DD, 626) We  are back t o t h a t  "undisturbed  graph of the n o v e l . •dolen  f u r t h e r and  portrayed  The  charm" of the f i r s t  changes to come a l l f o r c e Gwen-  f u r t h e r i n t o the r o l e of i d e a l woman as  by M i r a h .  The  v i s i o n ; o f Mirah pervades t h i s  cond h a l f o f the n o v e l and  most t e l l i n g i n s t a n c e  se-  i t i s o f t e n to her image t h a t  Deronda r e f e r s when he encounters Gwendolen.  a t Mirah*s  para-  Perhaps  the  i s h i s r e a c t i o n towards Gwendolen  recital! Pray excuse Deronda t h a t i n t h i s moment he f e l t a t r a n s i e n t renewal of h i s f i r s t r e p u l s i o n from Gwendolen, as i f she and her beauty and her f a i l i n g s were to blame f o r the u n d e r v a l u i n g o f Mirah as a woman. (DD, 619)  I t i s obvious here t h a t E l i o t has a n a l y s i s of Gwendolen and  abandoned any  critical  opted f o r Gwendolen as the  s e n t a t i v e of f e m i n i n e e v i l who  can  t u r n a good man  repre-  like -  Deronda a g a i n s t the  t r u e i d e a l of womanly p e r f e c t i o n .  i t i s clearer s t i l l  t h a t i n E l i o t ' s mind Gwendolen's "edu-  c a t i o n " w i l l o n l y be complete when she has  And  become l i k e  Mirah. However i t i s Gwendolen's, not E l i o t ' s a t t i t u d e to Mirah, t h a t we i n her  are most i n sympathy w i t h .  Gwendolen i s r i g h t  f e e l i n g t h a t Mirah i s somehow too good to be  true!  173 I have no sympathy w i t h women who a r e always doing r i g h t . I don't b e l i e v e i n t h e i r g r e a t s u f f e r i n g s . (DD, 494) But E l i o t i s b l i n d t o Mirah's weakness both as a c h a r a c t e r and as a model f o r female b e h a v i o u r .  Y e t i n the d i a l o g u e  t h a t f o l l o w s Deronda makes i t c l e a r how a p p e a l i n g Mirah i s as a woman t "You admire Miss L a p i d o t h because you t h i n k h e r b l a m e l e s s , p e r f e c t . And you know you would desp i s e a woman who had done something you thought v e r y wrong." "That would depend e n t i r e l y on h e r own view o f what she had done," s a i d Deronda. "Youwould be s a t i s f i e d i f she were v e r y wretched, I suppose?" s a i d Gwendolen, impetuously. "No, n o t s a t i s f i e d — f u l l o f sorrow f o r h e r . . . I d i d n o t mean t o say t h a t the f i n e r n a t u r e i s n o t more a d o r a b l e ; I meant t h a t those who would be c o m p a r a t i v e l y u n i n t e r e s t i n g beforehand may become w o r t h i e r o f sympathy when they do something t h a t awakens i n them a keen remorse." (DD, 494) T h i s speech o f Deronda*s r a i s e s s e v e r a l p o i n t s .  Deronda i s  a g a i n p u s h i n g Gwendolen t o a c c e p t , i n f a c t embrace,  guilt.  But now t h e r e i s a new t w i s t — h e i s s u g g e s t i n g t h a t  suffering  w i l l make her more a t t r a c t i v e and f u r t h e r i m p l y i n g the poss i b l e development o f a romantic r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two  o f them.  I n p a r t t h i s c e r t a i n l y seems t o suggest the  s t e r e o t y p e o f the m a r t y r - l i k e good woman. this  Even i g n o r i n g  (perhaps the p o i n t i s not s t r o n g l y made here) Deronda's  a t t i t u d e v e r y much changes the nature of t h e i r  relationship.  The p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the d i a l o g u e have changed from two people to a man and a woman and the dynamics o f s e x u a l p o l i t i c s immediately become o p e r a t i v e . sense most e x p l i c i t l y ,  R.T. Jones expresses  this  174 I t i s not easy to e x p l a i n , i f i t needs e x p l a i n i n g , why one f e e l s t h a t a man c o u l d not speak to Gwendolen q u i t e l i k e t h a t . A woman much o l d e r than Gwendolen, perhaps c o u l d : perhaps t h i s i s a way of e x p r e s s i n g a s u s p i c i o n t h a t George E l i o t h e r s e l f i s speaking h e r e — u s i n g Deronda's v o i c e to say what she would have l i k e d to say to Gwendolen. Coming from a man, the c u r i o u s l y g e n e r a l i z i n g speech c o n t r i v e s to be, a t the same time, o f f e n s i v e l y d i s t a n t and e m b a r r a s s i n g l y i n t i m a t e . (No doubt the n o v e l i s t intended i t to be f i n e l y b a l a n c e d between the two.) Another way of p u t t i n g i t might be to say t h a t a man c o u l d n o t d e c e n t l y adopt t h a t tone i n speaking to a woman unless he meant to marry h e r . I t can h a r d l y be denied, i n f a c t , e s p e c i a l l y i n t h e i r l a t e r c o n v e r s a t i o n s , t h a t Deronda's adv i s i n g makes Gwendolen dependent on him to an ext e n t t h a t George E l i o t shows no s i g n of r e a l i z i n g ; i f he had meant t o g a i n power over her, he c o u l d h a r d l y have s e t about i t more e f f e c t i v e l y . 1 5 I f t h i s i s t r u e , we  may  such a r e l a t i o n s h i p .  ask what Gwendolen might l e a r n i n  For Gwendolen t o grow out  goism she must understand the w o r l d i n a new from a c o n f i n e d  "female" view.  Deronda i s r o o t e d  But  who  i n s e x u a l p o l i t i c s and  not  just  way,  so Gwendolen's  She  i s now  might make l o v e t o her a t some f u t u r e  W i l l she be a b l e t o a p p r a i s e she be anxious t o p l e a s e r e a l i n t e r e s t s might But  e-  the s i t u a t i o n w i t h  whole p a t t e r n of response i s l i m i t e d . to a man  of her  even i f one  him,  h i s advice regardless  talking time.  o b j e c t i v e l y or w i l l of what her  be? can f a u l t the  " s e x u a l " n a t u r e of ^feheir  r e l a t i o n s h i p f o r f a i l i n g t o a l l o w Gwendolen a p u r e l y j e c t i v e education, she  own  ob-  i t might be h e l d t h a t through Deronda  does l e a r n t o r e l a t e i n a p o s i t i v e way  t h a t t h i s i s compensation enough.  towards men  To a c e r t a i n e x t e n t  and this  175  i s t r u e ; by the end of the n o v e l Gwendolen c e r t a i n l y seems to have overcome the p h y s i c a l r e v u l s i o n towards men which marked h e r e a r l i e r experience w i t h Rex Gascoigne.  It is  a l s o obvious, however, from the nature of Gwendolen's r e l a t i o n s h i p t o Deronda, t h a t she l e a r n s t o " l o v e " by l e a r n i n g to submit  t o the s u p e r i o r male.  Eliot i s certainly  critical  of Gwendolen's u t t e r dependence on Deronda: she d i d n o t imagine him otherwise than always w i t h i n her r e a c h , h e r supreme need o f him . b l i n d i n g h e r t o the separateness of h i s l i f e , the whole scene o f which she f i l l e d w i t h h i s r e l a t i o n t o h e r . (DD, 8 6 7 ) But she s t i l l  approves  of the g e n e r a l tone o f t h e i r  rela-  t i o n s h i p marked by p a s s i v e submission on the woman's p a r t and c h i v a l r i c g e n e r o s i t y on the man's.  He i s the open-  h e a r t e d noble male; she the p e n i t e n t s u f f e r i n g  female.  Grandcourt had d e l i b e r a t e l y gone out and turned back t o s a t i s f y a s u s p i c i o n . What he saw was Gwendolen's f a c e o f anguish framed b l a c k l i k e a nun's, and Deronda s t a n d i n g three y a r d s from her w i t h a l o o k o f sorrow such as he might have bent on the l a s t s t r u g g l e of a b e l o v e d o b j e c t . (DD, 6 7 3 ) Again, by l o o k i n g a t the Jewish p a r t o f the n o v e l  (speci-  f i c a l l y Mirah and Deronda's l o v e r e l a t i o n s h i p ) one can c o n f i r m t h i s sense Gwendolen.  o f the d i r e c t i o n i n which E l i o t i s p u s h i n g  Mirah u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y a c c e p t s the t r a d i t i o n a l  woman's r o l e : "Excuse me, Mirah, but does i t seem q u i t e r i g h t t o you t h a t the women should s i t behind r a i l s i n a gallery apart?" "Yes, I never though o f a n y t h i n g e l s e , " s a i d Mirah, w i t h m i l d s u r p r i s e . (DD, 410) ;  She  abhors h e r m u s i c a l c a r e e r and sees r e a l freedom i n g i v i n g  176 h e r s e l f over c o m p l e t e l y t o the r o l e s of d u t i f u l s i s t e r loving wife.  and  Deronda i s of course the p e r f e c t R u s k i n i a n  model of the c h i v a l r o u s gentleman. Mirah, he worships  He does not merely l o v e  her:  And whatever r e v e r e n c e c o u l d be shown t o woman, he was bent on showing t o t h i s g i r l . (DD, 2 6 7 ) A man of r e f i n e d p r i d e s h r i n k s from making a l o v e r ' s approaches t o a woman whose v/ealth or rank might make them appear presumptuous or lowmotived; but Deronda was f i n d i n g a more d e l i c a t e d i f f i c u l t y i n a p o s i t i o n which, s u p e r f i c i a l l y taken was the r e v e r s e of t h a t — t h o u g h t o an a r d e n t r e v e r e n t i a l l o v e , the l o v e d woman has always a k i n d of w e a l t h and rank which makes a man k e e n l y s u s c e p t i b l e about the a s p e c t of h i s a d d r e s s e s . (DD, 822) The weakness of t h i s k i n d of s o l u t i o n f o r Gwendolen i s apparent when we vel. men  Deronda and Rex Gascoigne are n o t men as E l i o t would l i k e them t o be.  real, or  c o n s i d e r most of the o t h e r men  i n the  no-  as they a r e , but  And because  they a r e n o t •  they of course f a i l as e f f e c t i v e l i t e r a r y c h a r a c t e r s  as a r e a l i s t i c v i s i o n of the male a t t i t u d e s Gwendolen w i l l  encounter i n her "new" Hugo and Reverend  life.  Gascoigne  But Grandcourt, Lush, S i r are v e r y s u c c e s s f u l male c h a r a c -  t e r s a t l e a s t p a r t i a l l y because, exposes  the working  i n them, E l i o t b r i l l i a n t l y  of the p a t r i a r c h a l mind.  However, Gwen-  d o l e n i s n o t made to d e a l i n her e d u c a t i o n w i t h these  men  and the power they they have over her and o t h e r women. though Deronda may  d e s p i s e Grandcourt as a man,  Al-  he never once  d i s c u s s e s w i t h Gwendolen the s p e c i f i c c i r c u m s t a n c e s of her marriage.  H i s view a g a i n i s t h a t of the modern a n a l y s t .  If  \  177  t h e r e i s a problem i t i s Gwendolen's.  I t i s n o t the man  who must change but the woman. Although he never says so explicitly  he q u i t e c l e a r l y c r e a t e s  Gwendolen should  the i m p r e s s i o n  that  s t a y w i t h Grandcourt and submit t o the l i f e  to which h e r egoism has l e d hert Her i m a g i n a t i o n exaggerated every t y r a n n i c a l imp u l s e he was capable o f . "I w i l l i n s i s t on b e i n g separated from him"—was h e r f i r s t d a r t i n g d e t e r m i n a t i o n ! then, I w i l l l e a v e him, whether he consents o r n o t . • .And always among t h e images t h a t drove h e r back t o s u m i s s i o n was Deronda...And what would he say i f he knew everything? P r o b a b l y t h a t she ought t o bear what she had brought on h e r s e l f , u n l e s s she were sure t h a t she c o u l d make h e r s e l f a b e t t e r woman by t a k i n g any other c o u r s e . (DD, 6 6 5 - 6 ) This matter o f r e b e l l i o n against i n t e r e s t i n g one. him  Grandcourt i s an  E l i o t would approve Gwendolen's l e a v i n g  o n l y i f i t i s " c o n s t r u c t i v e r e b e l l i o n " (DD, 6 6 7 ) which i s  w e l l enough except t h a t c o n s t r u c t i v e r e b e l l i o n i s o n l y under the  c o n d i t i o n t h a t "she were sure she c o u l d make h e r s e l f a  b e t t e r woman" by d o i n g so.  Here again  the p a r a l l e l  of M i r a h r i s e s i n t o view, as the p r o t o t y p e o f t h a t k i n d of.woman.  vision better  But e q u a l l y a t t h i s p o i n t we a r e reminded 1  of another woman, Mrs. G l a s h e r — a n image w i t h c l o s e r c o r respondence t o s o c i a l r e a l i t y . what a woman's l i f e  i s outside  Gwendolen can sense v e r y o f marriage.  I t i s even h i g h l y  d o u b t f u l whether E l i o t c o u l d have h e r e x t r i c a t e h e r s e l f from Grandcourt's  well  clutchesi  As the head o f the p r o p r i e t a r y f a m i l y , the husband was the s o l e "owner" o f w i f e and c h i l d r e n ,  178 empowered to d e p r i v e the mother of her o f f s p r i n g , who were h i s l e g a l p o s s e s s i o n s , should i t p l e a s e him to do so upon d i v o r c i n g - o r d e s e r t i n g her. A f a t h e r , l i k e a s l a v e r , c o u l d order the law to r e c l a i m h i s c h a t t e l — p r o p e r t y r e l a t i v e s , when he liked. Wives might be d e t a i n e d a g a i n s t t h e i r w i l l ; E n g l i s h wives who r e f u s e d to r e t u r n to t h e i r homes were s u b j e c t to imprisonment.*° Even i f she would be  c o u l d l e a v e Grandcourt, her l i f e  away from  of the k i n d t h a t o n l y a s a i n t c o u l d b e a r .  E l i o t again ignores  him  But  s o c i a l , r e a l i t i e s and would have us i n -  t e r p r e t Gwendolen's f e a r of l e a v i n g Grandcourt as another aspect  of her  egoism:  Can we wonder a t the p r a c t i c a l submission which hid her c o n s t r u c t i v e r e b e l l i o n ? The combination i s common enough, so we know from the number o f persons who make us aware of i t i n t h e i r own case by a clamorous unwearied statement o f the r e a s o n s a g a i n s t t h e i r s u b m i t t i n g t o a s i t u a t i o n which, on i n q u i r y , we d i s c o v e r to be the l e a s t d i s a g r e e a b l e w i t h i n t h e i r r e a c h . (DD, 667) The  patronizing, holier-than-thou  a little what we  tone of t h i s passage i s  d i f f i c u l t to l i s t e n t o s e r i o u s l y , c o n s i d e r i n g know of Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n .  To.please E l i o t , i t  seems a woman i n Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n would have to s a c k c l o t h and  ashes and  scourge h e r s e l f i n the s t r e e t s o f  London, or more probably, little  don  l i k e Mirah, wander about w i t h  her  c r u s t o f bread and w a i t f o r some Deronda-angel t o  save h e r .  I t i s not  s u r p r i s i n g then t h a t those  impulses"  grow w i t h i n Gwendolen.  that  should  "she  "murderous  Deronda*s f a c i l e s o l u t i o n  keep her f e a r as a s a f e g u a r d "  has  simply  n o t d e a l t w i t h a woman's r e a l i t y of l i v i n g w i t h a man does not a l l o w her even the freedom of her own  who  thoughts.  179 The rewards of submission i n these c i r c u m s t a n c e s a r e as m y s t e r i o u s t o us as they are t o Gwendolen. Grandcourt does d i e , however, and Gwendolen i s a t l e a s t saved from h a v i n g t o submit h e r s e l f t o h i s r u l e , as Dorothea by Casaubon*s w e l l - t i m e d demise.  was  But i t i s impor-  t a n t t o remember t h a t i n both cases E l i o t would have had female c h a r a c t e r s submit. how  I n t h i s k i n d of s i t u a t i o n we  see  her t h e o r y o f r e s i g n a t i o n has a d i f f e r e n t k i n d of meaning  when a p p l i e d t o women.  Men  r e s i g n themselves  n a l l y " problematic s i t u a t i o n s of l i f e — t h e own  her  t o the  "eter-  knowledge of t h e i r  shortcomings and the n e c e s s i t y o f c o o p e r a t i n g and  w i t h the human community.  working  The women i n George E L i o t ' s  n o v e l s r e s i g n themselves and l e a r n t o submit, n o t t o the "Human s i t u a t i o n , " b u t t o a s p e c i f i c man-made s o c i a l called patriarchy. of. men  I t i s a d i s t i n c t i o n between the  system situations  and women o f t e n o v e r l o o k e d and which Margaret  Fuller V  d e s c r i b e s i n Woman i n .the N i n e t e e n t h Centuryi I t may be s a i d t h a t Man does n o t have h i s f a i r p l a y e i t h e r ; h i s e n e r g i e s a r e r e p r e s s e d and d i s t o r t e d by the i n t e r p o s i t i o n o f a r t i f i c i a l o b s t a c l e s . Ay, b u t he h i m s e l f has put them t h e r e ; they have grown out of h i s own i m p e r f e c t i o n s . I f t h e r e i s a misf o r t u n e in"Woman's l o t , i t i s i n o b s t a c l e s b e i n g i n t e r p o s e d by men which do n o t mark her s t a t e ; and, i f they express her p a s t i g n o r a n c e , do n o t her p r e s e n t needs.1? There a r e o f course men  l i k e Lydgate who  m i t t o women l i k e Rosamond. him,  as a man,  must l e a r n t o sub-  But one should note t h a t f o r  E l i o t a c c e p t s as u n a v o i d a b l e the anger  accompanies h i s s u b m i s s i o n .  Gwendolen's g r e a t f a u l t ,  which however,  180  is  j u s t t h i s k i n d o f anger and f r u s t r a t i o n ; h e r p r i d e does  remain and thus h e r p e r i o d o f s u f f e r i n g , a c c o r d i n g t o the n o v e l i s t , i s incomplete. Eliot's failure  t o c a r r y through h e r e a r l i e r  political  s o c i a l a n a l y s i s o f Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n as a woman c o n t r i butes t o the a r t i s t i c weakness o f the second h a l f o f the novel.  A l t h o u g h Gwendolen h e r s e l f as a c h a r a c t e r never  because  the t e n s i o n o f h e r s i t u a t i o n i s m a i n t a i n e d u n t i l  fails—  p r a c t i c a l l y the l a s t c h a p t e r — t h e scenes w i t h Deronda do. The weakness o f the Jewish p a r t s o f the n o v e l , f i l l e d s e n t i m e n t a l i s m , exaggerated i d e a l i s m and overblown spill dolen. the  with  rhetoric,  over i n t o the encounters t h a t Deronda has w i t h GwenThese scenes f a i l a r t i s t i c a l l y because  they b r i n g  r e a l moving f o r c e o f ~ t h e n o v e l , the c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f  Gwendolen as a woman t r a p p e d i n a p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y , t o a dead h a l t .  Each time she meets Deronda, Gwendolen i s i n  g r e a t and v e r y r e a l anguish; the immediacy o f h e r need i s b r i l l i a n t l y apparent. e q u a l t o the s i t u a t i o n .  Y e t Deronda's response i s never n e a r l y I n answer t o h e r c r i e s f o r an ex-  p l a n a t i o n of h e r p a r t i c u l a r c i r c u m s t a n c e s , Deronda g i v e s only s t a t i c r h e t o r i c a l  speeches,  I take what you s a i d o f music f o r a s m a l l exa m p l e — i t answers f o r a l l l a r g e r t h i n g s — y o u w i l l not c u l t i v a t e i t f o r the sake o f a p r i v a t e j o y i n it.;-What s o r t o f e a r t h o r heaven would h o l d any s p i r i t u a l wealth i n i t f o r s o u l s p a u p e r i s e d by i n a c t i o n ? I f one firmament has no s t i m u l u s f o r our a t t e n t i o n and awe, I don't see how f o u r would have i t . We s h o u l d stamp every p o s s i b l e w o r l d w i t h the f l a t n e s s of our own i n a n i t y — w h i c h i s n e c e s s a r i l y impious, w i t h o u t f a i t h o r f e l l o w s h i p .  181  The r e f u g e you a r e needing from p e r s o n a l t r o u b l e i s the h i g h e r , the r e l i g i o u s l i f e , which h o l d s an enthusiasm f o r something more than our own a p p e t i t e s and v a n i t i e s . The few may f i n d thems e l v e s i n i t s i m p l y by an e l e v a t i o n of f e e l i n g } but f o r us who have t o s t r u g g l e f o r our wisdom, the h i g h e r l i f e must be a r e g i o n i n which the a f f e c t i o n s are c l a d w i t h knowledge. (DD, 5 0 7 - 8 ) If  such speeches  sound l i k e  over-worked Sunday s c h o o l maxims  out o f c o n t e x t , they are even worse g i v e n the s i t u a t i o n i n the n o v e l .  specific  H i s words mean n o t h i n g when con-  t r a s t e d to.*.-the c h i l l i n g scenes o f her l i f e w i t h which are i n t e r s p e r s e d among these r e l i g i o u s Each  lectures.  o f Gwendolen's scenes w i t h Deronda i s i d e n t i c a l  interchangeable. with.  Grandcourt  Gwendolen's needs a r e never r e a l l y  Perhaps the most i r r i t a t i n g o f a l l are t h e i r  s a t i o n s f o l l o w i n g Grandcourt's  drowning.  dealt conver-  Deronda has  e n t e r e d i n t o h e r s i t u a t i o n enough t o understand  the  and  never  conflict  which i s t e a r i n g her a p a r t ; he l i s t e n s t o her s t o r y as would a p r o f e s s o r o f e t h i c s i n t r i g u e d by a moral conundrum r a t h e r than as a t r u l y concerned  help-matet  Gwendolen's c o n f e s s i o n , f o r the v e r y reason t h a t her c o n s c i e n c e made her d w e l l on the d e t e r m i n i n g power o f her e v i l thoughts, convinced him the more t h a t t h e r e had been throughout a c o u n t e r b a l a n c i n g s t r u g g l e o f her b e t t e r w i l l . I t seemed almost c e r t a i n t h a t her murderous thought had had no outwards e f f e c t — t h a t , q u i t e a p a r t from i t , the death was i n e v i t a b l e . S t i l l , a q u e s t i o n as to the outward e f f e c t i v e n e s s of a c r i m i n a l d e s i r e dominant enough t o i m p e l even a momentary a c t , cannot a l t e r our judgment of the d e s i r e ; and Deronda shrank from p u t t i n g t h a t q u e s t i o n forward i n the f i r s t i n s t a n c e ; he h e l d i t l i k e l y t h a t Gwend o l e n ' s remorse aggravated her inward g u i l t , and t h a t she gave the c h a r a c t e r o f d e c i s i v e a c t i o n to what had been an i n a p p r e c i a b l y i n s t a n t a n e o u s g l a n c e of d e s i r e . (DD, ? 6 l - 2 )  182 It  i s t h i s l a c k o f sympathy o r empathy w i t h a woman's l i f e  which weakens the power o f Deronda's scenes w i t h the A l c h a r i s i which come immediately b e f o r e h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Gwendolen a f t e r Grandcourt's d e a t h .  Eliot i s clearly,a l -  most p a i n f u l l y aware of the k i n d of p r e s s u r e s which c l o s e in  on a woman l i k e the A l c h a r i s i : "No," s a i d the P r i n c e s s , s h a k i n g h e r head, and f o l d i n g her.--.arms w i t h an a i r o f d e c i s i o n . "You a r e n o t a woman. You may t r y — b u t you can never imagine what i t i s t o have a man's f o r c e of genius i n you, and y e t t o s u f f e r the s l a v e r y o f being a g i r l . To have a p a t t e r n c u t o u t — " t h i s i s the Jewish woman: t h i s i s what you must be; t h i s i s what you are wanted for} a woman's h e a r t must be o f such a s i z e and no l a r g e r , e l s e i t must be p r e s s e d s m a l l , l i k e Chinese f e e t ; h e r happiness i s t o be made as cakes a r e , by a f i x e d r e c e i p t . " That was what my f a t h e r wanted. He wished.;-! had been.a son; he c a r e d f o r me as a m a k e s h i f t l i n k . (DD, 694)  But E l i o t  cannot g i v e h e r freedom: And t h e r e ; l i e s j u s t t h a t k e r n e l o f t r u t h i n t h e v u l g a r alarm of men l e s t women s h o u l d be 'unsexed.' We can no more a f f o r d t o p a r t w i t h t h a t e x q u i s i t e type o f g e n t l e n e s s , tenderness, p o s s i b l e m a t e r n i t y s u f f u s i n g a woman's b e i n g w i t h a f f e c t i o nateness which makes what we mean by the f e m i n i n e c h a r a c t e r , than we can a f f o r d t o p a r t w i t h the human l o v e , the mutual s u b j e c t i o n o f s o u l between a man and a woman—which i s a l s o a growth and r e v e l a t i o n beginning before a l l h i s t o r y . 8 1  Thus the A l c h a r i s i l i k e Gwendolen, must be d r i v e n by g u i l t : I t was my n a t u r e t o r e s i s t and say, 'I have a r i g h t t o r e s i s t . * W e l l , I s a y so s t i l l when I have any s t r e n g t h i n me. You have heard me say i t , and I don't withdraw i t . But v/hen my s t r e n g t h goes, some other r i g h t f o r c e s i t s e l f upon me l i k e an i r o n i n an i n e x o r a b l e hand; and even when I am at ease i t i s b e g i n n i n g t o make ghosts upon the d a y l i g h t . (DD, 699) She w i l l n o t be r e l e a s e d from h e r misery u n t i l she admits  «  183 she has f a i l e d t o l i v e out h e r p r o p e r r o l e s as w i f e , mother and daughter and i n s t e a d f o l l o w e d the s e l f i s h and a n t i - s o c i a l d e s i r e t o p a r t i c i p a t e as a man does i n the w o r l d .  Although  E l i o t says t h a t the A l c h a r i s i ' s s i n was i n r e b e l l i n g a g a i n s t her f a t h e r a f t e r she had promised  t o obey, t h a t answer a -  v o i d s ( l i k e the matter o f Gwendolen's broken promise t o L y d i a G l a s h e r ) t h e v e r y q u e s t i o n t h a t has been r a i s e d the r i g h t s o f women t o s e l f - d e v e l o p m e n t .  about  Her f a t h e r was so  adamant i n h i s d e t e r m i n a t i o n t h a t she become the t r a d i t i o n a l Jewish w i f e and mother than o n l y b y d e c e p t i o n c o u l d she ever hope f o r any p e r s o n a l freedom.  Thus i s the A l c h a r i s i ,  Gwendolen, f o r c e d i n t o the t r a d i t i o n a l woman's r o l e  like  through  the a l l e g e d n e c e s s i t y o f submission t o t h e needs o f o t h e r s regardless of contingent circumstances. l o g y i s thereby c r e a t e d .  A hopeless t a u t o -  Any r e b e l l i o n which may c h a l l e n g e  the e x i s t i n g p a t t e r n o f s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s i s u n a c c e p t a b l e . But a s l o n g as the s o c i a l p r e s s u r e s c o n t i n u e t o f o r c e women i n t o p r e s c r i b e d r o l e s then any attempt  t o break out must be  rebellion. Gwendolen's s t o r y does n o t end i n F l o r e n c e w i t h Grandc o u r t ' s d e a t h . There i s more s u f f e r i n g i n s t o r e f o r her« the f i n a l s e p a r a t i o n from Deronda.  While  on one" l e v e l  this  i s the e s s e n t i a l l a s t s t e p i n Gwendolen's growth out o f egoism, on another l e v e l i t i s an abandonment o f Gwendolen and h e r p a r t i c u l a r k i n d o f s i t u a t i o n . have Deronda, n o t o n l y because  Gwendolen cannot  she must s e v e r h e r complete  184 dependence on him, but because him.  she i s n o t good enough f o r  Gwendolen cannot compare to the p e r f e c t woman, M i r a h .  And because  E l i o t holds up Mirah as an i d e a l t o whom we  must compare Gwendolen, the l a t t e r * s f u t u r e i s n o t l e f t open as c r i t i c s such as Barbara Hardy would suggest.  as  It is  c l e a r t h a t Gwendolen must work towards becoming the k i n d of woman Mirah i s . Because M i r a h o b v i o u s l y r e p r e s e n t s such a "female i d e a l , " Gwendolen's e d u c a t i o n p r o c e s s becomes n o t so much an open-ended s e a r c h f o r t r u e and i m p e r s o n a l a d u l t hood as the development of her "proper" womanhood.  As w i t h  Mirah, Gwendolen's t r u e f u l f i l l m e n t w i l l come through m i s s i o n t o a male f i g u r e . d o l e n i s now  sub-  Thus the o v e r t h i n t s t h a t Gwen-  "ready" t o marry Rex Gascoigne  suggests  Who has been q u i t e f r e e from e g o i s t i c escapes o f the i m a g i n a t i o n p i c t u r i n g d e s i r a b l e consequences on h i s own f u t u r e i n the presence of another's m i s f o r t u n e ^ s o r r o w , or death? The expected promot i o n or l e g a c y i s the common type of a temptation which makes speech and even p r a y e r a severe a v o i dance o f the most i n s i s t e n t thought, and sometimes r a i s e s an inward shame, a s e l f - d i s t a s t e , t h a t i s worse than any o t h e r form of u n p l e a s a n t companionship. I n Rex's n a t u r e the shame was immediate, and overspread l i k e an u g l y l i g h t a l l the h u r r y i n g images of what might come, which t h r u s t themselves i n w i t h the i d e a t h a t Gwendolen was a g a i n f r e e — o v e r s p r e a d them, perhaps, the more p e r s i s t e n t l y because every phantasm of a hope was q u i c k l y n u l l i f i e d by a more s u b s t a n t i a l obstacle. Before the v i s i o n of 'Gwendolen f r e e * rose the impassable v i s i o n of 'Gwendolen r i c h , e x a l t e d , c o u r t e d : ' and i f i n the former time, when both t h e i r l i v e s were f r e s h , she had turned from h i s l o v e w i t h repugnance, what ground was t h e r e f o r supposing t h a t her h e a r t would be more open t o him i n the f u t u r e ? (DD, 7 7 7 ) I have found out t h a t Rex never goes t o Offendene, and has never seen the duchess s i n c e she came back;  185 and K i s s Gascoigne l e t f a l l something...which proved to me t h a t Rex was once h o v e r i n g about h i s f a i r c o u s i n c l o s e enough to get s i n g e d . I don't know what what was her p a r t i n the a f f a i r . Perhaps the duke came i n and carried." her o f f . That i s always the way when an e x c e p t i o n a l l y worthy young man forms an attachment. I understand now why Gascoigne t a l k s of making the law h i s m i s t r e s s and remaining a bachelor. But these are green r e s o l v e s . Since the duke d i d not get h i m s e l f drowned f o r your sake, i t may t u r n out to be f o r my f r i e n d Rex's s a k e . Who knows? (DD, 871) But n e i t h e r t h i s s o l u t i o n of marriage, nor Gwendolen's statement t h a t who  "I may  make o t h e r s  given  one  of the b e s t  g l a d t h a t they were b o r n " (DD,  of women,  882)  i s enough  the f o r c e w i t h which her woman's s i t u a t i o n has  painted.  That woman's t e n s i o n i n Gwendolen's l i f e  makes her one  o f the most c o m p e l l i n g  l i t e r a t u r e and by b e i n g In the life  l i v e to be  she  been  i s what  female c h a r a c t e r s  in  must be d e a l t w i t h more c o m p l e t e l y than  prepared f o r marriage, motherhood and  same way  own  good works.  i t i s the l a c k o f t h a t t e n s i o n i n Mirah*s  (even though E l i o t t r i e s t o c r e a t e i t i n the s i t u a t i o n  w i t h her f a t h e r ) which makes her such a dead c h a r a c t e r . is  too p e r f e c t , she  values  does not have to g r a p p l e  t h a t Gwendolen does.  She  w i t h the  i s another one  She  social  of E l i o t ' s  female s a i n t s . On a t h e o r e t i c a l l e v e l one of submission and Adult maturity people, and the g o a l s  cannot o b j e c t to the  r e s i g n a t i o n t h a t E l i o t wants to  does mean a c c e p t i n g  the r e a l i t y  of the s o c i a l community as a whole.  another l e v e l  teach.  of  the n e c e s s i t y o f a d j u s t i n g one's own  kind  other desires  But  there  to is  of submission which i n the n o v e l s of George  186  E l i o t we cannot h e l p b u t r e g r e t — t h e f o r c e d submission o f women t o the inhuman system  o f p a t r i a r c h y . There i s l i t t l e  i n t e l l i g e n t c o n s c i o u s n e s s by Gwendolen o f h e r p o s i t i o n as a female.  Eliot,  however, understood  h e r s i t u a t i o n , and made  us f e e l i t ; she furthermore encouraged  us t o expect  that  Gwendolen t o o would come t o know the terms on which a woman i s a l l o w e d t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n s o c i e t y . But i n the s o l u t i o n she p r o v i d e s f o r Gwendolen, E l i o t i g n o r e s the s o c i a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s which has determined and consequent the n o v e l .  r e a d e r response  the tone  t o the f i r s t  two books o f  She removes Gwendolen from the r e a l w o r l d and  p l a c e s h e r i n an u n r e a l one peopled by c h i v a l r o u s g e n t l e men  and female  saints.  I n the f i r s t p a r t o f D a n i e l Deronda  Gwendolen was a woman i n the p r o c e s s o f "becoming" a p e r son.  By the end o f the n o v e l there i s no more t o be • •  found than the i d e a l woman o f Ruskin's  Queen's Garden*  18?  NOTES  1 George E l i o t , D a n i e l Deronda. I n t r o d u c t i o n by Barbara Hardy. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, I 9 6 7 ) , p. 8 6 6 . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s i n t e x t . 2 Ibid.,  " I n t r o d u c t i o n " , pp. 2 8 - 2 9 .  3 Jerome T h a l e , The Novels o f George E l i o t (New York and London: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1 9 5 9 ) , PP» 1 2 4 - 5 . 4  I b i d . , p. 1 3 2 .  5  Haight, L e t t e r s , VI, 2 9 0 . George E l i o t Bodichon, London, 2 October I 8 7 6  t o Mime. Eugene  7  John Ruskin, Sesame and L i l i e s 1904), pp. 1 0 7 - 1 1 0 .  (London: George A l l e n ,  8 K a r l Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach, i n K a r l - Marx and F r e d e r i c k E n g e l s , S e l e c t e d Works, v o l . I I (Moscow: F o r e i g n Languages P u b l i s h i n g House, 1962), p. 404. 9 see Laurence L e r n e r , "The E d u c a t i o n o f Gwendolen H a r l e t h , " C r i t i c a l Q u a r t e r l y , V I I , I 9 6 7 , p. 3 6 1 . and  Thale, The Novels o f George E l i o t ,  p. 128.  10 Joseph Rheingold, The Fear o f Being a Woman (New York: Grune and S t r a t t o n , 1964), p. 7 1 4 . Q u o t e d by Naomi W e i s s t e i n , "Women and P s y c h o l o g y , " i n Women's L i b e r a t i o n and L i t e r a t u r e , ed. E l a i n e Showalter (New York: H a r c o u r t Brace J o v a n o v i c h , 1971), P^ 2 7 2 . 11 W a l t e r Houghton, The V i c t o r i a n Frame o f Mind (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1957)* 12 I b i d . , p. 393.  188 13  Graham M a r t i n , " D a n i e l Deronda*: George E l i o t and P o l i t i c a l Change," i n C r i t i c a l Essays on George E l i o t , B a r b a r a Hardy ed (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 19/0), p. 146.  14  R.T. Jones, George E l i o t  1 9 7 0 ) , p. 107.  (Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y  Press,  15 I b i d . , p. 110.  16 Millett,  Sexual P o l i t i c s ,  p.  67.  Margaret F u l l e r , Woman i n the N i n e t e e n t h Century (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1971)i p. 49.  18  Haight, L e t t e r s , IV, 468. London, 8 August 1868.  George E l i o t to E m i l y D a v i e s ,  V F e l i x H o l t the R a d i c a l , Adam Bede, S i l a s Marner and Romola (i) A f t e r Maggie, Dorothea, Rosamond and Gwendolen  there  i s r e a l l y o n l y one other female c h a r a c t e r i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n worth s e r i o u s c o n s i d e r a t i o n — M r s . F e l i x H o l t the R a d i c a l .  Transome i n  Though h e r p a r t i s r e l a t i v e l y  s m a l l (she i s p r e s e n t i n f a r fewer scenes than E s t h e r ,  Harold  Transome or F e l i x H o l t ) h e r f i g u r e and p e r s o n a l i t y dominate the book.  F e l i x i s n o t so much a c h a r a c t e r as a mouthpiece  f o r George E l i o t ' s c h i e f p o l i t i c a l tenet*  "the a m e l i o r a t i o n  of man's l o t w i l l n o t f o l l o w d i r e c t l y upon improved  poli-  1  t i c a l machinery." E s t h e r Lyon's "progress 2 and  h e r end t o complacent"  a t t e n t i o n , and H a r o l d  i s too painless  f o r h e r s t o r y t o command much  Transome, though v i v i d l y drawn,  cuts  a t o o - f a m i l i a r f i g u r e as the handsome w e l l - b r e d b u t m o r a l l y c o r r u p t young a r i s t o c r a t .  But i n Mrs. Transome we have some-*  thing s t r i k i n g l y  o r i g i n a l } i n her p o r t r a i t  of u n d e r s t a n d i n g  and p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e a l i s m m i s s i n g i n the  rest  there i s a depth  o f the. n o v e l . She resembles Mrs. G l a s h e r and the A l -  c h a r i s i i n D a n i e l Deronda but i n the e a r l i e r ' n o v e l the a s p e c t o f feminine fleshed  consciousness  which they e x e m p l i f y  o u t . Mrs. Transome i s one o f those  portraits  o f an o l d e r woman.  rare  i s fully  in-depth  U n l i k e most o f the mothers 189  190 and mothers-in-law  of E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e she i s n o t t r e a t e d  w i t h amusement or passed  over l i g h t l y .  l i g h t o f woman's e x p e r i e n c e , and of  She  i s seen i n the  the u s u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  feminine middle a g e — b i t t e r n e s s , d i s c o n t e n t ,  and f r u s t r a t i o n — a r e C e r t a i n l y Mrs.  p r e s e n t e d w i t h compassion and Transome i s a proud,  woman, but the sense  irritability sympathy.  s e l f i s h and  ambitious  of h e r t h a t most s t r o n g l y pervades  the  n o v e l i s n o t her l o v e of power but her u t t e r l a c k o f power. And to  i t i s d e f i n i t e l y a woman's l a c k of power t h a t we know.  Mrs.  come  Transome has been b e t r a y e d by a l l the common  e x p e c t a t i o n s of a woman's l i f e . d o l e n ' s , promised  Her e d u c a t i o n , l i k e Gwen-  ease and s u p e r i o r i t y and prepared her f o r  none of the h a r d s h i p and h u m i l i a t i o n t h a t was  t o be h e r l o t ;  Mrs. Transome had been i n her bloom b e f o r e t h i s c e n t u r y began, and i n the l o n g p a i n f u l y e a r s s i n c e then, what she had once regarded as her knowledge and accomplishments had become as v a l u e l e s s as o l d - f a s h i o n e d s t u c c o ornaments, of which the substance was never worth a n y t h i n g , w h i l e the form i s no l o n g e r t o the t a s t e of any l i v i n g m o r t a l . Crosses, m o r t i f i c a t i o n s , moneyc a r e s , c o n s c i o u s blameworthiness, had changed the a s p e c t of the w o r l d f o r hert t h e r e was a n x i e t y i n the morning s u n l i g h t ; t h e r e was unk i n d triumph or d i s a p p r o v i n g p i t y i n the g l a n c e s of g r e e t i n g neighbours; t h e r e was advancing age, and a c o n t r a c t i n g p r o s p e c t i n the changing seasons She to  gave her l o v e , the "motive t h a t g i v e s a sublime a woman's l i f e "  (FH, 429)  t o a man  who  enjoyed i t s  p l e a s u r e but r e f u s e d t o share w i t h her the of  i t s i l l i c i t nature.  L i k e Mrs.  rhythm  responsibility  G l a s h e r , Mrs.  has d i s c o v e r e d i t i s the woman, not the man,  who  Transome pays f o r  191 t h e i r mutual " s i n . " Mrs.  And  as f o r the rewards of m a t e r n i t y ,  Transome has i n v e s t e d a l l her hopes and  dreams i n  H a r o l d o n l y to have him r e g a r d her as a handsome but r a n t and  igno-  u s e l e s s o l d woman* A f t e r s h a r i n g the common dream t h a t when a beaut i f u l man c h i l d was born to her, her cup of h a p p i ness would be f u l l , she had t r a v e l l e d through l o n g y e a r s a p a r t from t h a t c h i l d to f i n d h e r s e l f a t l a s t i n the presence of a son of whom she was a f r a i d , who was u t t e r l y unmanageable by her, and to whose sentiments i n any g i v e n case she possessed no key... I f H a r o l d had shown the l e a s t care t o have her s t a y i n the room w i t h h i m — i f he had r e a l l y cared f o r her o p i n i o n — i f he had been what she had dreamed he would be i n the eyes of those people who had made her w o r l d — i f a l l the p a s t c o u l d be d i s s o l v e d , and l e a v e no s o l i d t r a c e of i t s e l f — m i g h t y i f s t h a t were a l l i m p o s s i b l e — s h e would have t a s t e d some j o y . (FH, 114)  Mrs.  Transome's b i t t e r n e s s , l i k e Maggie's anger, Rosamond's  o b s t i n a c y and Gwendolen's i n s e n s i t i v i t y c l e a r l y has i t s r o o t s n o t so much i n b l i n d s e l f i s h n e s s as i n an a b l e response society.  t o the i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s of a p a t r i a r c h a l  Her h a t r e d of men,  while a p p a l l i n g i n i t s f i e r c e -  ness, i s v e r y d i f f i c u l t to condemm when one treatment  understand-  c o n s i d e r s the  she s u f f e r s from b o t h her son and her former l o v e r .  To Jermyn she i s merely a c a s t - o f f ; what was them i s something he  once between  "more and more f o r g e t s " (FH, 1 1 6 ) .  Yet  he i s n o t above t a k i n g advantage of s o c i e t y ' s o p i n i o n t h a t t h e i r i n d i s c r e t i o n i s her f a u l t , and f o r over twenty y e a r s he has used the s e c r e t of "her weakness" to b u i l d financial security.  up h i s  own  H a r o l d ' s a t t i t u d e towards h i s mother i s  n e i t h e r Mir. Brooke's brand  of s i l l y a n t i - f e m i n i s m or D a n i e l  192 Deronda's s u f f o c a t i n g c h i v a l r y : l i k e Tom l e i g h Grandcourt  T u l l i v e r and  Hen-  he simply does not admit t h a t women belong  to the same s p e c i e s as  men:  Western women were n o t to h i s t a s t e : they showed a t r a n s i t i o n from the f e e b l y animal to the t h i n k i n g b e i n g , which was simply troublesome. Harold pref e r r e d a slow-witted l a r g e - e y e d woman, s i l e n t and a f f e c t i o n a t e , w i t h a l o a d of b l a c k h a i r weighing much more h e a v i l y than her b r a i n s . (FH, 31) To H a r o l d the v e r y f a c t of h i s mother's sex means t h a t she can have no  o p i n i o n s of any v a l u e or any  t a l e n t s beyond  those o f a good h o s t e s s : A woman ought t o be a Tory, and g r a c e f u l , and handsome, l i k e you. I should hate a woman who took up~my o p i n i o n s and t a l k e d f o r me. I'm an O r i e n t a l you know...(FH, 110) The f a c t t h a t she had been a c t i v e i n the . management of the e s t a t e — h a d r i d d e n about i t c o n t i n u a l l y , had b u s i e d h e r s e l f w i t h accounts, had been head b a i l i f f of the vacant farms, and had y e t allowed t h i n g s t o go wrong—was s e t down by him simply to the g e n e r a l f u t i l i t y of women's attempt's t o t r a n s a c t men's b u s i n e s s . He d i d n o t want to say a n y t h i n g to annoy her: he was o n l y determined to l e t her understand, as q u i e t l y as p o s s i b l e t h a t she had b e t t e r cease a l l i n t e r f e r e n c e . (FH, 109) F o r Mrs.  Transome the y e a r s of domination  by Jermyn,  her son's t o t a l i n s e n s i t i v i t y t o her needs, and her inactivity  ( f o r c e d on her by H a r o l d ' s  own  r e f u s a l to a l l o w  her  any p a r t i n the management of the e s t a t e ) have a l l combined to produce i n s i d e her a s l o w l y t i c k i n g bomb. :  Every  i n which she i s p r e s e n t i s i n f u s e d w i t h the dramatic of t h a t anger and resentment.  The  c o n t r a s t between  scene power Harold's  calm assumption of male s u p e r i o r i t y and h e r smouldering is brilliant  to the p o i n t of b e i n g unbearable.  fury  When she i s  193  alone w i t h Denner, there i s some r e l a x a t i o n of t e n s i o n ( f o r Mrs.  Transome, n o t the r e a d e r ) as she expresses  woman what the men  i n her l i f e w i l l never  to  another  understand.  F i n a l l y i n her l a s t meeting w i t h Jermyn the s t r a i n i s b r o ken and i n a g r e a t moment of r e l e a s e she r e f u s e s a t l a s t submit  to  t o h i s demandsi "I w i l l never t e l l him!" s a i d Mrs. Transome, s t a r t i n g up, her whole frame t h r i l l e d w i t h a p a s s i o n t h a t seemed almost t o make her young a g a i n . Her hands hung b e s i d e her c l e n c h e d t i g h t l y , her eyes and l i p s l o s t the h e l p l e s s r e p r e s s e d b i t t e r n e s s of d i s c o n t e n t , and seemed suddenly f e d w i t h energy. (FH, 3 6 9 )  However, there i s no r e a l r e s o l u t i o n t o Mrs. situation. velop.  Transome's  Her c h a r a c t e r does not r e a l l y change or  The disappointment  de-  t h a t she e x p e r i e n c e s i n her  son's r e t u r n o n l y i n c r e a s e s her b i t t e r n e s s . By the end t h e i m o v e l she has no more u n d e r s t a n d i n g she d i d a t the  of the w o r l d  of  than  beginning!  She had no u l t i m a t e a n a l y s i s of t h i n g s t h a t went beyond b l o o d and f a m i l y — t h e Herons o f Fenshore or the Badgers of H i l l b u r y . She had never seen behind the canvas w i t h which h e r l i f e was hung. I n the dim background t h e r e was the b u r n i n g mount and the t a b l e s of the law: i n the foreground t h e r e was Lady Debarry p r i v a t e l y g o s s i p i n g about her, and Lady Wyvern f i n a l l y d e c i d i n g n o t t o send her i n v i t a t i o n s t o d i n n e r . (FH, 3 5 0 ) I f n o t h i n g "happens" t o Mrs. the n o v e l a t a l l ?  Transome, why  S u r e l y she cannot be merely  p o r t r a i t of a f a s c i n a t i n g p e r s o n a l i t y . the importance her own  i s she i n an  isolated  I would suggest t h a t  of Mrs. Transome's s t o r y i s t o be found, n o t i n  e x p e r i e n c e s , but i n the c o n t r a s t between her  life  194 and  t h a t o f the o t h e r important female c h a r a c t e r  E s t h e r Lyon.  of the book,  And a t t h i s p o i n t we come a c r o s s almost e x a c t l y  the same circumstance t h a t weakens the s t o r y o f Gwendolen H a r l e t h i n D a n i e l Deronda. the  Esther,  l i k e Mirah, i s u l t i m a t e l y  "good woman" a g a i n s t whom we are supposed t o measure Mrs.  Transome. The  E s t h e r we a r e i n t r o d u c e d  v a i n , t r i t e and c o q u e t t i s h .  t o i s supposedly s e l f i s h ,  I n t h i s r e s p e c t , however, she  has n o t n e a r l y the c r e d i b i l i t y of Gwendolen o r Rosamond. Her egoism has no p a r t i c u l a r deep.  In fact,  complexity;  n o r does i t r u n v e r y  i t i s s h a t t e r e d i n a matter o f moments by  our hero F e l i x H o l t .  E s t h e r ' s metamorphosis from  self-interest  to s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s one o f the most r a p i d a b o u t - f a c e s i n English literature.  I n a matter o f days she overcomes h e r  r e p u l s i o n t o her father's e c c e n t r i c i t i e s , t i s t view o f L i t t l e  abandons h e r e l i -  Treby s o c i e t y and completely  reorders  the ambitions o f h e r l i f e .  The problem i s t h a t she e f f e c t s  t h i s amazing t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  n o t out o f any i n n e r promptings  but  out o f what can only be c a l l e d h e r s e x u a l  to F e l i x Holt.  attraction  I t c a l l s t o mind the s i t u a t i o n = o f Lady  C h a t t e r l y ; we can. p i c t u r e the outspoken, y e t n o b l e and o v e r poweringly masculine F e l i x H o l t i n the p a r t of the gardener. He l o a t h e s E s t h e r ' s and by  f i n i c k y femininity, notions  o f romance  dreams of i n d u l g e n t l u x u r y , and i s n o t a t a l l a t t r a c t e d the w i t o r charm o f which she i s so proud.  F e l i x H o l t means exchanging h e r p r i n c i p l e s  Pleasing  and s e t o f v a l u e s  195 for  his.  T h i s i s e x a c t l y what E s t h e r goes about d o i n g .  for  Felix,  ted  t o n o t h i n g i n E s t h e r b u t h e r beauty.  As  though he c r i t i c i z e s E s t h e r ' s v a n i t y , he i s a t t r a c He o n l y wishes t h a t  her c h a r a c t e r should be as p e r f e c t as h e r f a c e . "You a r e v e r y b e a u t i f u l . " She s t a r t e d and looked round a t him, t o see whether h i s f a c e would g i v e some h e l p t o the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h i s n o v e l speech. He was l o o k i n g up a t h e r q u i t e c a l m l y , v e r y much as a r e v e r e n t i a l P r o t e s t a n t might l o o k a t a p i c t u r e of the V i r g i n , w i t h a devoutness suggested by the type r a t h e r than by the image. E s t h e r ' s v a n i t y was n o t i n the l e a s t g r a t i f i e d * she f e l t t h a t , somehow o r other, F e l i x was g o i n g t o r e p r o a c h h e r . "I wonder," he went on, s t i l l l o o k i n g a t h e r , "whether the s u b t l e measuring o f f o r c e s w i l l ever come t o measuring the f o r c e t h e r e would be i n one b e a u t i f u l woman whose mind was as n o b l e as h e r f a c e was b e a u t i f u l — w h o made a man's p a s s i o n f o r her r u s h i n one c u r r e n t w i t h a l l the g r e a t aims of h i s l i f e . (FH, 247) I t i s speeches l i k e the above t h a t r a t h e r reduce our i n t e r e s t i n E s t h e r Lyon's s t o r y .  She i s i n v o l v e d i n no c o n f l i c t  which can widen our u n d e r s t a n d i n g  o f f e m i n i n e e x p e r i e n c e . On  the c o n t r a r y , she i s l e a r n i n g , w i t h the a u t h o r ' s 1  full  par-  t i c i p a t i o n and a p p r o v a l , o n l y t o accommodate h e r s e l f t o the laws o f male supremacy.  The c h o i c e she must e v e n t u a l l y make  between H a r o l d Transome and F e l i x H o l t seems o n l y t o be b e tween two brands o f male c h a u v i n i s m — o n e r a t h e r p e d e s t r i a n and  the other t e d i o u s l y s e l f - r i g h t e o u s . She h e r s e l f had no sense o f i n f e r i o r i t y and j u s t s u b j e c t i o n when she was w i t h H a r o l d Transome; t h e r e were even p o i n t s i n him f o r which she f e l t a touch, n o t o f angry, but o f p l a y f u l s c o r n ; whereas w i t h F e l i x she had alv/ays a sense o f dependence and possible illumination. I n those l a r g e , grave, cand i d grey eyes o f h i s , l o v e seemed something t h a t belonged t o the h i g h enthusiasm o f l i f e , such as  196 might now be f o r e v e r shut out from h e r . In r e t u r n i n g t o F e l i x H o l t i t i s d i f f i c u l t  (FH, 374)  to believe  t h a t she i s g e t t i n g a much b e t t e r b a r g a i n than the one H a r o l d Transome o f f e r s .  With H a r o l d h e r s i t u a t i o n , i f h o r r i f y i n g ,  would a t l e a s t have been c r e d i b l e . nauseating.  The r e a l i t y ,  With F e l i x i t i s simply  t h a t she has g i v e n h e r s e l f com-  p l e t e l y t o a man who demands the a b s o l u t e s u b j e c t i o n o f women, i s i g n o r e d .  I n s t e a d o f an honest  a p p r a i s a l o f women's  p o s i t i o n i n s o c i e t y we are bombarded w i t h the myths of . woman's "ennobling a r d o u r " and s p e c i a l moral i n f l u e n c e ? When a woman f e e l s p u r e l y and nobly, t h a t ardour of hers which breaks through formulas too r i g o r o u s l y urged on men by d a i l y p r a c t i c a l needs, makes one o f h e r most p r e c i o u s i n f l u e n c e s ! she i s the added impulse t h a t s h a t t e r s the s t i f f e n i n g c r u s t of cautious experience. Her i n s p i r e d i g n o r a n c e g i v e s a s u b l i m i t y t o a c t i o n s so i n c o n g r u o u s l y simple, t h a t otherwise they would make men s m i l e . Some o f t h a t ardour which has f l a s h e d out and i l l u m i n a t e d a l l p o e t r y and h i s t o r y was b u r n i n g today i n the bosom o f sweet E s t h e r Lyon. I n t h i s , a t l e a s t her woman's l o t was p e r f e c t ! t h a t t h e man she l o v e d was h e r h e r o : t h a t h e r woman's p a s s i o n and h e r reverence f o r r a r e s t goodness rushed t o g e t h e r i n an u n d i v i d e d c u r r e n t . (FH, 413) What makes such speeches most d i s t r e s s i n g i s t h a t we a r e c l e a r l y i n t e n d e d t o a p p l y these v a l u e s t o the l i f e  o f Mrs.  Transome.  I t i s the example o f t h a t woman's b i t t e r un-  happiness  which has been the d e c i d i n g f a c t o r i n E s t h e r ' s  d e c i s i o n t o r e f u s e H a r o l d Transome: The dimly-suggested tragedy o f t h i s woman's l i f e , the d r e a r y waste o f years empty of sweet t r u s t and a f f e c t i o n , a f f l i c t e d h e r even t o - h o r r o r . I t seemed t o have come as a l a s t v i s i o n t o urge h e r  197 towards the' l i f e where the draughts o f j o y sprang from the unchanging f o u n t a i n s o f r e v e r e n c e and devout l o v e . (FH, kj,k) The i m p l i c a t i o n i s , o f course, .that a t one time Mrs. T r a n some t o o had a c h o i c e , t h a t l i k e E s t h e r she c o u l d have found happiness i f she had accepted the t r u e womanly r o l e of  submission.  L i k e E s t h e r she ought t o have admitted, "I  am weak—my husband must be g r e a t e r and n o b l e r than I am" (FH, 4 3 8 ) . It  i s by t h i s obvious p a r a l l e l t o E s t h e r ' s l i f e  the p o r t r a i t o f Mrs. Transome i s robbed apparent s i g n i f i c a n c e .  o f most o f i t s  We have been wrong t o t h i n k h e r a  v i c t i m of a p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y . something  that  C l e a r l y h e r misery i s  she has brought on h e r s e l f .  She c o u l d have been  a "good" woman l i k e E s t h e r b u t she chose n o t t o be» She [Esther} heard the doors c l o s e behind him, and f e l t f r e e t o be m i s e r a b l e . She c r i e d b i t t e r l y . I f she might have married F e l i x H o l t , she c o u l d have been a good woman. She f e l t no t r u s t t h a t she c o u l d ever be good w i t h o u t him. (FH, 2 9 1 ) She [Mrs. Transome! would have g i v e n a g r e a t d e a l a t t h i s moment i f h e r f e e b l e husband had n o t always l i v e d i n dread o f h e r temper and h e r tyranny , so t h a t he might have been fond o f h e r now. She f e l t h e r s e l f l o v e l e s s . (FH, 3 1 1 ) ;  And of  so we a r e back t o the problem  t h a t f a c e s us a t the end  the o t h e r E l i o t n o v e l s d i s c u s s e d .  We a r e l e d t o i n t e r -  p r e t a woman's f r u s t r a t i o n s as a c o n s c i o u s o r unconscious s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t f i r m l y entrenched male v a l u e s .  But a t  the p o i n t o f r e s o l u t i o n these terms of r e f e r e n c e a r e sudd e n l y and d r a m a t i c a l l y changed.  We a r e taken out o f the s o -  198 c i a l m i l i e u , realism disappears,  and we a r e l e f t w i t h the  c h o i c e o f s e e i n g the h e r o i n e as a m i n s t e r i n g a n g e l or an evil  temptress. (ii) T h i s ambiguous treatment  o f the female p e r s o n a l i t y  does n o t a r i s e i n e i t h e r Adam Bede, S i l a s Marner or Romola because none o f the female c h a r a c t e r s i s ever l i f t e d f a r enough above s t e r e o t y p e f o r there t o be any q u e s t i o n o f a departure  from r e a l i s m .  Though H e t t y ' s  s o l i t a r y wandering  i s t r u l y p a t h e t i c , t h a t i s the only i n s t a n c e i n h e r s t o r y where she i s t r e a t e d w i t h any l a r g e o r generous sympathy. Otherwise she i s simply a d i s t r a c t i n g l y b e a u t i f u l b u t v a i n and  s e l f i s h young g i r l who has d e c e i v e d  the v i r t u o u s Adam  Bede and tempted t h e weak A r t h u r Donnithorne. attempt t o understand tim.  There i s no  how much H e t t y h e r s e l f may be a v i c -  Both h e r c l a s s and h e r sex, as Kate M i l l e t p o i n t s  out, w i l l o f t e n encourage i n a young country g i r l t u n a t e l y pragmatic a t t i t u d e s towards romantic  unfor-  and s e x u a l  relationships» The young m i d d l e - c l a s s woman c o u l d be f r i g h t e n e d i n t o s o c i a l and s e x u a l c o n f o r m i t y w i t h the s p e c t r e s of g o v e r n e s s i n g , f a c t o r y work, or p r o s t i t u t i o n . And the l e s s favoured female i s l e f t o n l y t o dream o f becoming a " l a d y , " the s i n g l e improvement t o h e r s i t u a t i o n she i s p e r m i t t e d t o c o n c e i v e o f , the hope o f a c q u i r i n g s o c i a l and economic s t a t u s through a t t r a c t i n g the s e x u a l p a t r o n i z a t i o n o f the male. When the only known "freedom" i s a g i l d e d voluptuousness a t t a i n a b l e through the l a r gess of someone who owns and c o n t r o l s e v e r y t h i n g there i s l i t t l e i n c e n t i v e t o s t r u g g l e f o r p e r -  199 sonal f u l f i l l m e n t Furthermore  or l i b e r a t i o n . * 2  the c o n s t a n t l y f l a t t e r i n g a t t e n t i o n p a i d t o  H e t t y because  o f h e r e x t r a o r d i n a r y beauty g i v e s h e r a sense  of apparent power.  As f a r as she can know, h e r dream o f  "becoming a l a d y " does have some b a s i s i n r e a l i t y .  Unless ,  a t the same time H e t t y can be expected t o have a v e r y acute a n a l y s i s o f b o t h the c l a s s and the p a t r i a r c h a l systems, i t is difficult  t o censure h e r as E l i o t does.  more p i t i f u l  than v i c i o u s .  H e t t y i s always  However, as i n the case o f Rosamond and Lydgate  after  t h e i r marriage, i t i s the man and n o t the woman f o r whom E l i o t i s most concerned.  Poor noble Adam Bede has committed  no crime save to a l l o w h i m s e l f t o be trapped by H e t t y ' s cunning charm, and even A r t h u r Donnithorne cannot be f a u l t e d f o r the a f f e c t i o n a t e l y masculine f a u l t o f b e l i e v i n g t h a t a woman i s o n l y what she appears t o bet B e f o r e you d e s p i s e Adam as d e f i c i e n t i n p e n e t r a t i o n , pray ask y o u r s e l f i f you were ever p r e d i s p o s e d t o b e l i e v e e v i l o f any p r e t t y woman— i f you ever c o u l d , w i t h o u t hard head-breaking demonstration, b e l i e v e e v i l o f the one supremely p r e t t y woman who has bewitched you. Not people who l o v e downy peaches a r e a p t n o t t o t h i n k o f the stone, and sometimes j a r t h e i r t e e t h t e r r i b l y against i t . A r t h u r Donnithorne, too, had the same s o r t o f n o t i o n about H e t t y , so f a r as he had thought of. her nature a t a l l . He f e l t sure she was a dear, a f f e c t i o n a t e , good l i t t l e t i l i n g . 5 Thus i t i s H e t t y and not e i t h e r of the men i n the n o v e l who must be p u n i s h e d .  She p u b l i c l y c o n f e s s e s t o s i n and submits  to t r a n s p o r t a t i o n and f i n a l l y death.  Adam s u f f e r s , b u t o n l y  200  so t h a t he can d i s c o v e r the d i f f e r e n c e between the "good" and the " e v i l " s i d e o f womanhood. it is difficult  As f o r A r t h u r Donnithorne,  to work up much sympathy f o r a young a r i s t o -  c r a t s e p a r a t e d f o r a few y e a r s from h i s r i g h t t o r u l e . Dinah, George E l i o t ' s i d e a l i z e d r e c o l l e c t i o n of a Method i s t aunt i s the l i l y  to Hetty's rose.  And i f the p o r t r a i t  of H e t t y i s n o t v e r y complex, t h a t of Dinah i s even l e s s s o . She i s a t e d i o u s i n v e n t o r y o f a l l the womanly v i r t u e s ; i n marrying Adam Bede she o n l y a t t a i n s a h i g h e r degree of p e r f e c t i o n by g i v i n g up her p r e a c h i n g c a r e e r f o r the j o y s of domestic l i f e .  Her o f t - q u o t e d f e m i n i s t aphorisms are  just  t h a t — a p h o r i s m s which bear no r e l a t i o n t o the r e s t o f the novel. S i l a s Marner, though a minor masterpiece i n many r e s p e c t s , does n o t show any o r i g i n a l i t y i n the treatment o f women.  I t has e x a c t l y the s t e r e o t y p e d a t t i t u d e t o female  c h a r a c t e r p r e s e n t i n Adam Bede. M o l l y Faren, the f i r s t Godfrey Cass, i s the s e n s u o u s l y  evil  Mrs.  (and what i s more,  drunken) woman whom Cass has l e t drag him away from the path o f goodness and v i r t u e .  Only the sweetly pure Miss  Nancy Lammetter can save him from the moral c o r r u p t i o n  that  w i l l otherwise be h i s l o t , For f o u r y e a r s he had thought o f Nancy Lammeter, and wooed her w i t h t a c i t p a t i e n t worship, as the woman who made him t h i n k of the f u t u r e w i t h j o y i she would be h i s w i f e , and would make home l o v e l y to him, as h i s f a t h e r ' s home had never been; and i t would be easy, when she was always near, to shake o f f those f o o l i s h h a b i t s t h a t were no  201 p l e a s u r e s , but o n l y a f e v e r i s h way of a n n u l l i n g vacancy. Godfrey's was an e s s e n t i a l l y domestic nature, bred up i n a home where the h e a r t h had no s m i l e s and where the d a i l y h a b i t s were not c h a s t i s e d by the presence of household o r d e r : h i s easy d i s p o s i t i o n made him f a l l i n u n r e s i s t i n g l y w i t h the :family courses, but the need of some tender permanent a f f e c t i o n , the l o n g i n g f o r some i n f l u e n c e t h a t would make the good he p r e f e r r e d easy to pursue, caused the neatness, p u r i t y and l i b e r a l o r d e r l i n e s s of the Lammeter household, sunned by the smile of Nancy, to seem l i k e those f r e s h , b r i g h t hours of the morning, when temptat i o n s go to s l e e p , and l e a v e the ear open to the v o i c e of the good a n g e l , i n v i t i n g to i n d u s t r y , s o b r i e t y , and peace. And y e t the hope o f t h i s p a r a d i s e had n o t been enough to save him from a course which shut him out o f i t f o r e v e r . I n s t e a d of keeping f a s t h o l d of the s t r o n g s i l k e n rope by which Nancy would have drawn him s a f e t o the green banks, where i t was easy t o s t e p f i r m l y , he had l e t h i m s e l f be dragged back i n t o mud and . s l i m e , i n which i t was u s e l e s s to s t r u g g l e . 0  Romola i s no more than a v e r y e t h e r e a l Nancy Lammeter, She was c o n s t a n t l y a p p e a l i n g to T i t o , and he was i n f o r m i n g her, y e t he f e l t h i m s e l f s t r a n g e l y i n s u b j e c t i o n t o Romola w i t h t h a t m a j e s t i c simp l i c i t y of h e r s : he f e l t f o r the f i r s t time, without d e f i n i n g i t to himself, that l o v i n g awe i n the presence o f noble womanhood, which i s perhaps something l i k e the worship p a i d of o l d to a g r e a t nature-godess, who was n o t a l l knowing, but whose l i f e and power were something deeper and more p r i m o r d i a l than^knowledge.f A t the b e g i n n i n g  of the n o v e l t h e r e seems to be some i n -  t e r e s t i n g c o n f l i c t between Romola and her father.  But i t i s q u i c k l y r e s o l v e d .  patriarchal  Romola has  o n l y an  o b j e c t i v e i n t e r e s t i n her e d u c a t i o n i n s o f a r as i t w i l l h e l p her to serve her f a t h e r more p e r f e c t l y . needs we  are t o l d v e r y e a r l y are to be found  Her  true  i n the  f i l l m e n t of her womanly g i f t s of a f f e c t i o n and  pity:  ful-  202  A t t h a t moment the d o u b t f u l a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of Romola's f a c e , i n which p r i d e and p a s s i o n seemed to be q u i v e r i n g i n the balance w i t h n a t i v e r e finement and i n t e l l i g e n c e , was t r a n s f i g u r e d to the most l o v e a b l e womanliness by mingled p i t y and affection: i t was e v i d e n t t h a t the deepest f o u n t of f e e l i n g w i t h i n her had not y e t wrought i t s way to the l e s s c h a n g e f u l f e a t u r e s , and o n l y found i t s o u t l e t through her eyes. (Rom, 48) T i t o Melema's treatment o f her d u r i n g t h e i r marriage ( i n h i s u t t e r a m o r a l i t y he i s much l i k e H e n l e i g h  Grandcourt  i f a n y t h i n g makes the n o v e l worth r e a d i n g i t i s the  and bril-  l i a n c e of t h i s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n ) h a r d l y a l l o w s her to c i s e these womanly q u a l i t i e s and  a t l a s t she does l e a v e  but i t i s h a r d l y w i t h the i n t e n t i o n of d i s c o v e r i n g an pendent l i f e .  exer-  inde-  Romola's l o n g water journey i s Maggie's  down the f l o o d e d F l o s s taken one  step f u r t h e r .  him;  trip  Instead  of  d y i n g , Romola awakes t o f i n d heaven on e a r t h even though i t is  i n the form o f a p l a g u e .  We  l e a v e her as the p e r f e c t  g o d d e s s - l i k e woman—a S a i n t Theresa who  has  found her  destiny:  Every day the Padre and Jacopo and the s m a l l f l o c k of s u r v i v i n g v i l l a g e r s p a i d t h e i r v i s i t t o t h i s c o t t a g e t o see the b l e s s e d Lady, and t o b r i n g her of t h e i r b e s t as an o f f e r i n g — h o n e y , f r e s h cakes, eggs, and p o l e n t a . I t was a s i g h t they c o u l d none of them f o r g e t , a s i g h t they a l l t o l d of i n t h e i r old age—how the sweet and s a i n t e d l a d y w i t h her f a i r f a c e her golden h a i r , and her brown eyes t h a t had a b l e s s i n g i n them, l a y weary w i t h her l a b o u r s a f t e r she had been s e n t over the sea t o h e l p them i n t h e i r e x t r e m i t y , and how the queer l i t t l e b l a c k Benedetto used t o c r a w l about the straw by her s i d e and want e v e r y t h i n g t h a t was brought to her, and she always gave him a b i t of what she took and t o l d them i f they l o v e d her they must be good t o Benedetto. Many legends were a f t e r w a r d s t o l d i n t h a t v a l l e y about the b l e s s e d Lady who came over the sea, but they were legends by which a l l who heard might know t h a t i n times gone by a woman had done b e a u t i -  203  f u l l o v i n g deeds t h e r e , r e s c u i n g ready t o p e r i s h . (Rom, 544)  those who were  As w e l l as t h i s k i n d o f s u f f o c a t i n g s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , the t e d i o u s l y minute d e t a i l i n g o f f i f e e n t h - c e n t u r y F l o r e n t i n e life  and the l a c k o f depth or c o m p l e x i t y i n most o f the  c h a r a c t e r s make Romola a v e r y bad n o v e l .  I t i s interesting,  however, t h a t E l i o t h e r s e l f f e l t Romola t o be h e r g r e a t e s t achievement. that  To h e r p u b l i s h e r John Blackwood she wrote  "there i s n o t a book o f mine about which I more t h o -  roughly  f e e l t h a t I c o u l d swear by every sentence as h a v i n g  been w r i t t e n w i t h my b e s t b l o o d . " The  Mill  A g a i n one i s reminded o f  on the F l o s s and h e r t o t a l involvement w i t h the  l a s t c h a p t e r s o f the book.  I n n e i t h e r n o v e l does she see  t h a t t h e v i s i o n o f woman as s a i n t or goddess d i m i n i s h e s the power of h e r w r i t i n g . the n o v e l  saying  I n f a c t when S a r a H e n n e l l  criticized  t h a t "Romola i s pure i d e a l i s m . . . s h e  be worshipped as a s a i n t . a n d Romola you have p a i n t e d  must  therefore I f e e l ,  that i n Q a goddess, and n o t a woman"^ E l i o t  the more v i g o r o u s l y defended h e r h e r o i n e t You a r e r i g h t i n s a y i n g t h a t Romola i s i d e a l — I f e e l i t a c u t e l y i n the r e p r o o f my own s o u l : i s c o n s t a n t l y g e t t i n g from the image i t has made. My own books scourge me.l° Perhaps i n t h i s comment i s the key t o so much o f the i r r i t a t i o n t h a t one has w i t h E l i o t ' s i d e a l i s t i c woman.  conception of  I f h e r own books "scourge" George E l i o t one can  only imagine what t h e i r e f f e c t was on the contemporary f e male V i c t o r i a n r e a d e r .  I t i s the o l d p a t r i a r c h a l p l a y upon  204 a woman's g u i l t . i s introduced,  Once the i d e a o f woman as s a i n t o r a n g e l  a n y t h i n g l e s s than p e r f e c t i o n i s s u s p e c t .  I f the image the i n d i v i d u a l woman has t o measure h e r s e l f against  i s a goddess, she can only f e e l t h a t she has f a i l e d  to f u l f i l h e r t r u e f e m i n i n i t y .  But more important, once  woman i s " d i v i n e " one can no l o n g e r t a l k about h e r e q u a l i t y w i t h men, f o r a t r u l y good womanAshould n o t be concerned about such s e l f i s h and e a r t h l y d i f f i c u l t i e s .  205  NOTES 1  Joan Bennett, George E l i o t t Her Mind and Her A r t (Camb r i d g e « U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1968), p. 1 5 7 . 2 B a r b a r a Hardy, The Novels o f George E l i o t : Form (Londoni The A t h l o n e Press, 1959), p. 63^.  A Study i n  3 George E l i o t , F e l i x H o l t the R a d i c a l (London: Panther 3ooks, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 3 8 . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s i n t e x t . 4 Kate M i l l e t t , Co., 1 9 7 0 ) p. 7 3 .  Sexual P o l i t i c s  (New York: Doubleday &  5  George E l i o t , Adam Bede (New York: I n t e r n a t i o n a l C o l l e c t o r L i b r a r y ) , p. 143. 6 George E l i o t , pp. 41-42.  S i l a s Marner (London: C o l l i n s ,  7  George E l i o t , Romola (London: Everyman's p. 9 3 • Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s i n t e x t .  1953),  Library,  1907),  8 Gordon H a i g h t , George E l i o t : Clarendon P r e s s , 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 3 6 6 .  A Biography (Oxford:  9  The George E l i o t L e t t e r s , ed. Gordon S. H a i g h t (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ) , IV I O 3 - 4 , n. 8 . [George E l i o t to S a r a H e n n e l l , London, 23 August I 8 6 3 ]  -  10  Haight, L e t t e r s , IV, 1 0 3 - 4 [George E l i o t London, 2 3 August I 8 6 3 ] )  to Sara Hennell,  VI Conclusion (i) I t seems almost p e t t y t o c o n c e n t r a t e  m a i n l y on the  weaknesses o f a g r e a t w r i t e r l i k e George E l i o t .  But i n f a c t  I t h i n k by l o o k i n g a t these weak p o i n t s we can perhaps g e t a new p e r s p e c t i v e on h e r s t r e n g t h s . chareters l i k e Hetty completely  Some.of E l i o t ' s women  o r Dinah, Mirah o r E s t h e r Lyon do f a i l  b u t more i n t e r e s t i n g a r e the cases i n which the  p r e s e n t a t i o n o f a woman c h a r a c t e r f a i l s  only p a r t i a l l y ,  where  the sentiment, the i d e a l i s m , t h e r e l i a n c e on s t e r e o t y p e comes o n l y a f t e r what hasrseemed t o be a whole new a p p r e c i a t i o n of feminine  experience.  Benjamin Jowett once d e s c r i b e d George E l i o t as b e i n g " q u i t e c l e a r o f m a t e r i a l i s m , women's r i g h t s , i d e a l i s m e t c . " * He was b a d l y mistaken on a l l t h r e e counts.  I w i l l leave her  i d e a l i s m f o r the moment, b u t h e r Feuerbachian m a t e r i a l i s m coupled w i t h a c l e a r consciousness  o f the p o s i t i o n o f women  i n a p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y a r e the c h i e f concepts, the  through  use o f which one can understand why c e r t a i n o f h e r p o r -  traits  o f women a r e so c o m p e l l i n g .  George E l i o t may n o t  have been an a c t i v e f e m i n i s t but^she knew w e l l t h a t women, l i k e men, longed life  f o r some means o f p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the  o f the world? she f u r t h e r knew how n e a r l y  206  impossible  20? t h a t achievement was,  g i v e n t h e i r piecemeal e d u c a t i o n ,  economic impotence and the s o c i e t a l p r e s s u r e on them t o conform t o the image of the p a s s i v e , i g n o r a n t and h e l p l e s s coquette. knowledge  Much o f h e r f i c t i o n a l w r i t i n g e x p r e s s e s t h a t and t h e . t e n s i o n t h a t i s c o n s c i o u s l y o r u n c o n s c i o u s l y  a p a r t o f most women's l i v e s .  I n many cases i t i s e s t a -  b l i s h e d as the key t o u n d e r s t a n d i n g c h a r a c t e r . few o t h e r women i n f i c t i o n as p o w e r f u l as Maggie  There a r e Tulliver,  Dorothea Brooke, Rosamond V i n c y , Mrs. Transome o r Gwendolen Harleth.  A l l these women, even Rosamond and Gwendolen, a r e  i n almost c o n t i n u a l c o n f l i c t w i t h the c u l t u r e t h a t demands t h a t they must conform t o a c e r t a i n i d e a l o f f e m i n i n i t y . And I would suggest t h a t we a r e a t t r a c t e d t o them, f a s c i nated by them, n o t because o f t h e i r beauty or t h e i r  charm  or t h e i r romantic entanglements but because of t h e i r energy, the f o r c e o f w i l l t h a t makes them want t o be more than V i c t o r i a n maidens  o r matrons and which of c o u r s e a l s o makes  them s u f f e r i n a way which, though uncommon i n f i c t i o n i s most r e c o g n i z a b l e i n r e a l i t y . I t i s , however, j u s t t h i s energy o r f o r c e o f w i l l which E l i o t cannot r e a l l y handle i n the c h a r a c t e r s she had c r e a t e d .  On the one hand, h e r own  " r e l i g i o n o f humanity"  demanded f o r i t s s u c c e s s the r e s i g n a t i o n o f any p e r s o n a l d e s i r e t h a t might come i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h the v a l u e s o f the community i n which the i n d i v i d u a l f i n d s h e r s e l f .  Al-  i  though on a p o l i t i c a l l e v e l one might not agree w i t h t h i s  208 as a s o l u t i o n t o s o c i a l problems, the theory i s i n i s e l f l e g i t i m a t e , and should n o t i n t e r f e r e w i t h the a r t o f the novel. although  And i t does n o t when a p p l i e d t o the male c h a r a c t e r s , i t r a r e l y i s w i t h the e x c e p t i o n  o f Lydgate.  When  a p p l i e d t o female c h a r a c t e r s , however, simple r e s i g n a t i o n i s n o t the o n l y demand.  Given the c o n t e x t which has been  c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h e d — i . e . , t h a t the women c h a r a c t e r s a r e engaged i n some s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t a r e p r e s s i v e p a t r i a r c h a l s y s t e m — t h e r e s i g n a t i o n asked f o r i s r e a l l y c a p i t u l a t i o n to the male system o f v a l u e s .  E l i o t r o o t s the f r u s t r a t i o n s  o f h e r women c h a r a c t e r s i n one s e t o f v a l u e s b u t then g i v e s t h e s o l u t i o n i n another.  The f i g h t f o r female independence  i s n o t l o s t ? i t i s simply  dropped.  However, n o t o n l y the " r e l i g i o n o f humanity" causes E l i o t t o t u r n h e r back on h e r women c h a r a c t e r s . has  One a l s o  t o l o o k t o the ambiguity, d i s c u s s e d a t l e n g t h i n the  i n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h i s t h e s i s , she f e l t about the r o l e o f woman.  Even w i t h h e r almost f r i g h t e n i n g l y c l e a r under-  s t a n d i n g o f woman's p o s i t i o n i n s o c i e t y , E l i o t s t i l l  clung  to t h e i d e a o f woman as p r i m a r i l y mother, w i f e , n u r t u r e r and f o r c e f o r moral goodness.  As a r e s u l t , she must c o n t i n u a l l y  a d j u s t h e r women c h a r a c t e r s t o f i t one o f those  roles.  Thus I t h i n k one can understand the weakness o f many of h e r n o v e l s .  She c o n t i n u a l l y f a i l s t o c a r r y through the  i n i t i a l understanding racters.  she g i v e the r e a d e r  o f h e r women c h a -  Maggie longs f o r some p e r s o n a l i d e n t i t y  other  209 than the s t r i c t l y ascribe to her.  " f e m i n i n e " one h e r b r o t h e r o r mother  would  T h i s i s p r i m a r i l y how we a r e made t o under-  stand h e r c h a r a c t e r and a c t i o n s .  But a f t e r p o r t r a y i n g the  t r i p down the r i v e r w i t h Stephen, E l i o t abandons t h i s v i s i o n o f Maggie.  By the time Maggie r e t u r n s t o S t . Ogg's, the r e a l  woman has become a cardboard s a i n t ; an e x c i t i n g n o v e l has f a l l e n t o the l e v e l o f a H a r l e q u i n romance. the  characterization i s u n f u l f i l l e d .  The promise o f  Not t h a t Maggie  should  have r u n o f f w i t h Stephen o r become an a r d e n t f e m i n i s t ; i t is her of  f a r more l i k e l y she would s i m p l y have t o r e a l i z e  that  l i f e as a woman would always be f i l l e d w i t h the same k i n d tension.  We expect t h a t Maggie w i l l come t o understand  about h e r s i t u a t i o n what we f e e l the a u t h o r h e r s e l f a l r e a d y knows. With Dorothea the q u e s t f o r something more, which i s what makes Dorothea, i s q u i e t l y dropped.  C e r t a i n l y h e r mar-  r i a g e t o W i l l , w i t h i t s escape from Middlemarch and o v e r tones o f s e x u a l s a t i s f a c t i o n i s a s t e p f o r w a r d . none o f the h o p e l e s s melodrama o f The M i l l .  There i s  But the ques-  t i o n t h a t Dorothea asked o f h e r s e l f and r a i s e s f o r a l l women, "What can I do?" i s never answered references to her goddess-like perfection.  other  save by vague I f what Doro-  t h e a i s "to do" i s "to be" the i d e a l woman, then the n o v e l c e r t a i n l y f a l l s s h o r t o f i t s i n i t i a l promise. Perhaps E l i o t ' s g r e a t e s t achievement i n d e a l i n g w i t h women c h a r a c t e r s i s t h a t she i s one o f the few n o v e l i s t s t o  210 attempt to "take the b i t c h s e r i o u s l y . " little  doubt t h a t E l i o t h e r s e l f abhorred women such as  Rosamond, Gwendolen and Mrs. art  Although there i s  Transome, she manages i n h e r  t o c o n t r o l h e r own f e e l i n g s enough t o show t h a t these  women a r e as much v i c t i m s o f a r e p r e s s i v e p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y as a r e t h e more a t t r a c t i v e c h a r a c t e r s t h e a and Maggie.  such a s Doro-  By c o n t i n u a l l y f o l l o w i n g h e r own r u l e ,  " t h a t t h e r e i s no p r i v a t e l i f e which i s n o t determined by a w i d e r p u b l i c one,"  she makes i t i m p l i c i t l y  s o c i e t y , n o t some i n t r i n s i c is  responsible  c l e a r that  e v i l i n the f e m i n i n e  f o r the b i t c h p e r s o n a l i t y .  g r a n t e d women no r i g h t s , l i t t l e  character,  I n an age which  freedom and no p r i v i l e g e s ,  she  shows how a Rosamond o r a Gwendolen, anxious t o a s s e r t  her  own i n d i v i d u a l i t y , was o f t e n f o r c e d t o c o r r u p t h e r s e l f  through the use of the o n l y powers a v a i l a b l e t o h e r — f e m i n i n e coquetry, p e r s o n a l  beauty, the a r t s o f s e d u c t i o n ,  etc.  However, much i n the same way t h a t she c o u l d n o t m a i n t a i n h e r r e v o l u t i o n a r y a n a l y s i s o f a woman's s i t u a t i o n (because i n f a c t i t would demand a r e v o l u t i o n ) f o r c h a r a c t e r s l i k e Maggie and Dorothea, n e i t h e r c o u l d E l i o t  carry  through h e r sympathetic u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f the b i t c h p e r s o n a lity.  She makes a good b e g i n n i n g w i t h Rosamond,  letting  us see how much o f h e r c h a r a c t e r and a c t i o n s have been moulded by an inadequate e d u c a t i o n , and  poor p a r e n t a l  the p o p u l a r images o f a t t r a c t i v e f e m i n i n i t y .  c i s e l y where she b e g i n s t o i n d u l g e  guidance But p r e -  i n romantic i d e a l i s m  211 about Dorothea, E l i o t t u r n s h e r back on Rosamond, d e c l a r i n g her t o be the i m p o s s i b l e ,  unregenerate bitch-woman. A l -  though the n o v e l i s weakened by t h i s r e v e r s i o n t o t r a d i t i o n a l myths about the feminine  c h a r a c t e r i t o f course  not f a i l as d r a s t i c a l l y as The M i l l . pointed  does  There i s , as I have  out, some ambiguity about the c o n c l u s i o n o f Doro-  thea's s t o r y and Rosamond i s n o t t r e a t e d w i t h such g r e a t sympathy t h a t the f i n a l a n a l y s i s o f h e r c h a r a c t e r  destroys  thenovel. The case o f Gwendolen H a r l e t h i s r a t h e r d i f f e r e n t ? whether i n t e n d e d  by the author o r n o t , Gwendolen i s n o t a  secondary c h a r a c t e r l i k e Rosamond, and the b u l k as w e l l as the b e s t p a r t s o f D a n i e l Deronda are g i v e n over t o e s t a b l i s h i n g a sympathetic a n a l y s i s of t h i s b i t c h F o r many c r i t i c s , E l i o t has maintained  character.  this analysis of  Gwendolen and she alone  o f a l l E l i o t ' s women c h a r a c t e r s has  grown t o r e a l adulthood  r a t h e r than been manipulated i n t o some  sentimental  i d e a l o f "true womanhood."  However, a c l o s e  examination o f the whole n o v e l r e v e a l s t h a t , as w i t h a l l o f her o t h e r women c h a r a c t e r s , here t o o E l i o t f i n a l l y opts f o r the t r a d i t i o n a l view o f woman.  Although E l i o t has made i t  c l e a r i n the e a r l i e r p a r t o f the book t h a t s o c i e t y must  take  much o f the blame f o r c r e a t i n g a woman l i k e Gwendolen, she h e r s e l f i s allowed no such i n s i g h t . she has been s e l f i s h and e v i l ,  She l e a r n s o n l y t h a t  t h a t the d e s t r u c t i o n she has  p r e c i p i t a t e d i s e n t i r e l y h e r own f a u l t , and t h a t t o be saved  212 she must l e a r n t r u e feminine p a s s i v i t y and s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . Although  t h i s r e v e r s a l i n a t t i t u d e does n o t i n i t s e l f  weaken the n o v e l ( a l t h o u g h many o f the scenes between Gwendolen and Deronda l a c k the b r i l l i a n c e  o f the e a r l i e r  p a r t s o f the n o v e l ) i t i s an obvious r e f l e c t i o n o f the undeniable of len  source o f weakness.  The g r o s s o v e r - s e n t i m e n t a l i t y  t h e Jewish p a r t s o f the n o v e l s p i l l  over i n t o the Gwendo-  s t o r y and i l l u m i n a t e i t s r e a l d i r e c t i o n .  I t i s Mirah  whom E l i o t c l e a r l y admires and h o l d s up t o Gwendolen as an example.  The subsequent examination  o f the p r o c e s s  of  Gwendolen's " e d u c a t i o n " shows E l i o t means Gwendolen  to  become, l i k e Mirah, a model o f s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g woman-  hood.  E l i o t has guided Gwendolen out o f one f e m i n i n e s t e r e o -  t y p e — t h e b i t c h — o n l y t o put her i n t o a n o t h e r — t h e  good  woman. I began t h i s c o n c l u s i o n by q u o t i n g Benjamin  Jowett's  comment t h a t George E l i o t was q u i t e c l e a r o f m a t e r i a l i s m , women's r i g h t s and i d e a l i s m . by s t u d y i n g h e r treatment  What I t h i n k one d i s c o v e r s  o f women i s t h a t , f a r from  being  " c l e a r " o f these t h e o r i e s , h e r w r i t i n g i s permeated w i t h the i d e a s they r e p r e s e n t . the f i r s t  I f she had been concerned  only with  two t h e r e would perhaps n o t be the problems w i t h  h e r women c h a r a c t e r s t h a t t h e r e a r e . and h e r profound  But h e r m a t e r i a l i s m  (whether c o n s c i o u s o r u n c o n s c i o u s )  under-  s t a n d i n g o f the p o s i t i o n o f women everywhere comes i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h a k i n d o f a b s t r a c t i d e a l i s m , t o v/hich she  213 clings.  Whether her p a r t i c u l a r i d e a l i s m about women i s a  subconscious  g u i l t r e a c t i o n t o her ov/n i r r e g u l a r  whether i t i s a f i r m l y worked out p h i l o s o p h i c a l or  marriage, position,  whether i t i s simply the woman-worship common t o many  V i c t o r i a n i n t e l l e c t u a l s does n o t matter.  I t i s there  c o n s i s t e n t l y weakens both the i d e o l o g i c a l and  and  aesthetic  v a l u e of much o f her work. (ii) Although  t h i s t h e s i s d e a l s w i t h the way  certain  femi-  n i s t i d e a s are handled i n the n o v e l s of George E l i o t I do n o t r e g a r d i t as a p i e c e o f " f e m i n i s t c r i t i c i s m . "  There  been much t a l k r e c e n t l y o f a f e m i n i s t approach t o  litera-  has  t u r e but what t h a t c o u l d or should be I have n o t y e t d i s covered.  For i n s t a n c e , Kate M i l l e t t ' s S e x u a l P o l i t i c s w h i l e  h i g h l y e n t e r t a i n i n g and  often informative, o f f e r s only a  s o p h i s t i c a t e d method of s l a n d e r , n o t judgement.  The  com-  ment one s t i l l most o f t e n hears from a f e m i n i s t c o n f r o n t e d w i t h a s e x i s t book i s : " I t i s w e l l - w r i t t e n , but I  still  don't l i k e what i t s a y s * " My approach t o George E l i o t was  p a r t of a p e r s o n a l  c u r i o u s i t y t o f i n d out i f there:were any women c h a r a c t e r s in  l i t e r a t u r e whose "quest" or " c o n f l i c t " was  a n y t h i n g b e s i d e s a s e a r c h f o r "the r i g h t man." any  female  Lears?  Stephen Dedalus's  involved with Are  there  or A l f r e d P r u f r o c k s or K i n g  When I f i r s t read George E l i o t I thought I had  something v e r y near t o t h a t i n her female c h a r a c t e r s .  found My  214 enthusiasm  was  novels c l o s e l y ignore. How  unqualified.  Yet when f o r c e d t o r e a d  the  I came a c r o s s q u e s t i o n s which I c o u l d not  What has happened t o Dorothea's quest f o r work?  can Maggie's r e u n i o n w i t h Tom  Gwendolen g o i n g t o do now? her biography,  be  Reading  justified?  What i s  George E l i o t ' s  and h e r essays o n l y confirmed  letters,  these c o n t r a -  dictions. I was  c o n f r o n t e d w i t h the problem I mentioned above.  Are these merely  p a r t s o f the n o v e l s or a t t i t u d e s of George  E l i o t ' s which I don't l i k e , or are they i n themselves or s e c o n d - r a t e p i e c e s o f w r i t i n g ? First,  i n themselves  the scenes  weak  The answer i s t w o - f o l d .  of Maggie's r e t u r n t o S t .  Ogg's, Dorothea's romance w i t h L a d i s l a w , and  Gwendolen's  dependence on Deronda do n o t have the mark o f a g r e a t a r tist.  They are o v e r - w r i t t e n , f i l l e d w i t h i n d u l g e n t  m e n t a l i t y or s e l f - r i g h t e o u s m o r a l i z i n g .  The  dialogue i s  s t i f f — f a r more b i b l i c a l than V i c t o r i a n — a n d any the character-may ful.  typed female b e h a v i o u r .  these a r e scenes  of very s t e r e o -  The r e c o g n i t i o n of female  types as s t e r e o t y p e s , i t seems t o me, u n t i l the 20th c e n t u r y i t was  s i o n of female  conflict  be f a c e d w i t h i s too a b s t r u s e t o be meaning-  But more than t h i s ,  e i t h e r v e r y bad  senti-  or v e r y good.  i s relatively  stereorecentt  s i m p l y accepted t h a t women v/ere And  i f t h i s was  the o n l y v i -  c h a r a c t e r t h a t E l i o t had p r e s e n t e d , i f i t was  a problem a t a l l , i t would p r o b a b l y be o n l y of p a s s i n g i n terest.  But what makes s t e r e o t y p i n g a v e r y s e r i o u s f a u l t  215 i n these cases i s t h a t such images a r e i n t o t a l t o the e a r l i e r p r e s e n t a t i o n The  o f the same women c h a r a c t e r s .  scenes a r e f a u l t y i n themselves b u t worse s t i l l ,  presence i n otherwise b r i l l i a n t n o v e l s to a r t i f i c e , to f a c i l e  reduces  their  complexity  r e a l i s m t o i d e a l i s m and hard-edged i r o n y  sentiment.  Thus I have c o n c e n t r a t e d not  opposition  on the weak p a r t s o f the n o v e l  out o f some p e r s o n a l i n d i g n a t i o n b u t because t o a v o i d  them, as most c r i t i c s have, i n h i b i t s a thorough understanding  o f t h e b r i l l i a n c e o f what has gone b e f o r e .  To i n -  v e s t i g a t e the spots where each n o v e l breaks down i s a l s o t o p o i n t up where i t r e a l l y works.  And among the g r e a t  achieve-  ments o f George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n i s the c r e a t i o n o f women who behave i n o t h e r than s t e r e o t y p e d come t o e x p e c t .  female p a t t e r n s we have  That she cannot c a r r y through t h i s approach  i s r e g r e t t a b l e b u t i t c e r t a i n l y does n o t mean t h a t one t h e r e f o r e d i s c a r d s the. n o v e l s . The p i c t u r e s o f Maggie drowning, Dorothea m a r r y i n g and Gwendolen p r e p a r i n g  t o marry may n o t  ever o f f e r much t o the u n d e r s t a n d i n g , b u t what precedes each of these " r e s i g n a t i o n s " — t h e  s t r u g g l e s a g a i n s t o r entrapments  i n the system o f p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s — w i l l stand time as examples o f g r e a t and important  fiction.  f o r a long  216  NOTES  Gordon Haight, George E l i o t : A Biography P r e s s , 1968), p. 465.  (Oxford: Clarendon  217  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Primary Sources E l i o t , George. Scenes o f C l e r i c a l Donahue, n.d.  Life.  Chicago:  M.A.  E l i o t , George, Adam Bede. New York: I n t e r n a t i o n a l L i b r a r y , n.d. E l i o t , George, The M i l l Books, 1 9 6 2 .  on the F l o s s . New York:  Collectors Collier  E l i o t , George. S i l a s Marner: The L i f t e d V e i l : B r o t h e r Jacob: Poems. London: C o l l i n s C l a s s i c s , 1953* London: Everyman, 1 9 6 8 .  Eliot,  George.  Romola.  Eliot,  George.  F e l i x H o l t The R a d i c a l . London: Panther,  1965.  E l i o t , George. Middlemarch. ed. Gordon S. H a i g h t . R i v e r s i d e P r e s s , 1968.  Boston:  E l i o t , George. D a n i e l Deronda. ed. B a r b a r a Hardy. Penguin, 196*7";  London,  E l i o t , George. Essays o f George E l i o t , ed. Thomas P i n n e y . London: Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1 9 6 3 . The George E l i o t L e t t e r s , ed. Gordon S. H a i g h t . Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 6 8 . V o l I - VII  New Haven:  Secondary Sources Bennett, Joan. George E l i o t : Her Mind and Her A r t . Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1 9 6 6 . C a r r o l l , David, ed. George E l i o t : The C r i t i c a l New York: Barnes & Noble, 1 9 7 1 .  Heritage.  C i r i l l o , A l b e r t T. " S a l v a t i o n i n D a n i e l Deronda." Literary Monographs, ed. E. R o t h s t e i n & T. Dunseath. Madison: U n i v e r s i t y o f Wisconsin Press, 1 9 6 7 . Creeger, George R., ed. George E l i o t : A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l E s s a y s . New J e r s e y : P r e n t i c e H a l l , 1 9 7 0 .  218 C r o s s , J.W. George E l i o t ' s L i f e . Londont and Sons, 1 8 8 5 . V o l I - I I I . D a i c h e s , D a v i d . George Arnold, 1963.  Eliott  William  Blackwood  Middlemarch. London:  Edward  E l l m a n n , Mary. T h i n k i n g A b o u t Women. New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t Brace Jovanovich, 1 9 6 8 . Engles, Frederick. The O r i g i n o f t h e F a m i l y , P r i v a t e P r o p e r t y a n d t h e S t a t e . New Y o r k : I n t e r n a t i o n a l P u b l i shers, 1942. Fernando, L l o y d . " S p e c i a l P l e a d i n g and A r t i n Middlemarch: The R e l a t i o n s Betwen t h e S e x e s . " The Modern L a n g u a g e s Review, L X V I I ( 1 9 7 2 ) , p p . 44-4-9. Feuerbach, Ludwig. The E s s e n c e o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . Harper Torchbooks, 1 9 5 7 .  New Y o r k :  F u l l e r , M a r g a r e t . Woman i n t h e N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y . Y o r k : W.W. N o r t o n , 1 9 7 1 . H a i g h t , G o r d o n S. G e o r g e E l i o t C l a r e n d o n P r e s s , 1968.  : A Biography.  H a r d y , B a r b a r a , e d . C r i t i c a l E s s a y s on G e o r g e York: B a r n e s & N o b l e , 1970. H a r d y , B a r b a r a . The N o v e l s o f G e o r g e E l i o t : Form. L o n d o n : A t h l o n e P r e s s , 1 9 5 9 . H a r v e y , W.J. "George E l i o t , " Bibliography, ed. L i o n e l U n i v e r s i t y , 1964.  Oxford: Eliot.  A Study i n  Washington  H o u g h t o n , W a l t e r E . The V i c t o r i a n Frame o f Mind New H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y , 1 9 5 7 .  1970.  George  Eliot.  New  Victorian Fiction: Studies i n Stevenson, Cambridge: H a r v a r d  James, H e n r y . P o r t r a i t o f a L a d y . New Y o r k : Square P r e s s , 1 9 6 6 .  J o n e s , R.T.  New  Cambridge:  University  1830-1870. Press,  K e a r n e y , J o h n P. "Time a n d B e a u t y i n D a n i e l D e r o n d a : Was She B e a u t i f u l o r n o t B e a u t i f u l ? " Nineteenth Century F i c t i o n . V o l X X I I I (1971). PP. 286^3&6" Kettle, Arnold. An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h e E n g l i s h N o v e l : Volume I D e f o e t o George E l i o t . New Y o r k ; Harper Torchbooks,  I960.  219 L e a v i s , F.R. The Great T r a d i t i o n : George E l i o t , Henry James, Joseph Conrad* London, Penguin, 1 9 6 6 . L e r n e r , Laurence, "The E d u c a t i o n o f Gwendolen H a r l e t h . " C r i t i c a l Q u a r t e r l y , VII ( 1 9 6 7 ) , pp. 3 5 5 - 6 4 . Lownes, Mrs. B e l l o c . ' I , Too, Have L i v e d i n A r c a d i a : A Record o f Love and o f C h i l d h o o d . London: Macmillan, 1941.  Lukacs, Georg. Realism i n Our Time: L i t e r a t u r e and t h e C l a s s S t r u g g l e . New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1 9 7 1 . Mackenzie, K.A. E i t h Simcox and George E l i o t . Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 6 1 .  Oxford:  Marcus, Stephen. The Other V i c t o r i a n s : A Study o f S e x u a l i t y and Pornography i n Mid-Nineteenth Century England.. New York: B a s i c Books, 1 9 6 4 . Marx, K a r l & E n g e l s , F r e d e r i c k . S e l e c t e d Works i n Two Volumes. Moscow: F o r e i g n Languages P u b l i s h i n g House, 1962.  Millett,  Kate.  Sexual P o l i t i c s .  New York: Doubleday, 1 9 7 0 .  Myers, W i l l i a m . "George E l i o t : P o l i t i c s and P e r s o n a l i t y . " L i t e r a t u r e and P o l i t i c s i n the N i n e t e e n t h Century, pp.  105-129.  P a r i s , Bernard J . "The I n n e r C o n f l i c t s o f Maggie T u l l i v e r : A Horneyan A n a l y s i s . " C e n t e n n i a l Review, X I I I ( I 9 6 9 ) , pp.  166-99*  Parker, M.S. The Role o f the Comic H e r o i n e : A Study o f the R e l a t i o n s h i p between S u b j e c t Matter and the Comic Form i n the Novels o f Jane Austen, u n p u b l i s h e d M.A. t h e s i s , Department o f E n g l i s h , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1967.  P e a r s a l l , Ronald. The Worm i n the Bud: The World Sexuality. London: Macmillan, 1 9 6 9 • Ruskin, John.  of V i c t o r i a n  Sesame and L i l i e s . London: George A l l e n ,  1904.  Showalter, E l a i n e , ed. Women's L i b e r a t i o n and L i t e r a t u r e . New York: H a r c o u r t Brace J o v a n o v i c h , 1 9 7 1 . Slomen, J u d i t h . "The Female Quixote as an E i g h t e e n t h Century C h a r a c t e r Type." T r a n s a c t i o n s o f the Samuel Johnson S o c i e t y o f the Northwest, IV ( 1 9 7 2 ) , pp. 8 6 - 1 0 1 .  220 Stang, R i c h a r d , ed. D i s c u s s i o n s o f George E l i o t . D.C. Heath & Co., I960.  Boston:  S t u a r t , Roland, ed. L e t t e r s from George E l i o t t o Elma S t u a r t , 1872 - 1880. London: Simpkin, M a r s h a l l , Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1901. Thale, Jerome. The Novels o f George E l i o t . U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1 9 5 9 .  New York:  Columbia  W e l l i n g t o n , Amy. Women Have T o l d , S t u d i e s i n the F e m i n i s t T r a d i t i o n . Boston: L i t t l e , Brown and Company, 1 9 3 0 .  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0101492/manifest

Comment

Related Items