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

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THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN IN THE NOVELS OF GEORGE ELIOT by ANNE GRANT PETRIE B.A., University of 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 the Department of En g l i s h We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1973-In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis fo r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representatives. I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department o f English The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date October 10, 1973 ABSTRCT A mid-nineteenth c e n t u r y f e m i n i s t anxious t o e n l i s t the support of the i l l u s t r i o u s George E l i o t i n her cause would have found i n the n o v e l i s t a c u r i o u s b l e n d of p r o g r e s s i v e and c o n s e r v a t i v e responses t o the "woman q u e s t i o n . " Marian Evans' own s t r u g g l e f o r a l i t e r a r y c a r e e r coupled w i t h the m a t e r i a l i s t i c world view which she adopted from Ludv/ig Feuer-bach gave her an acute u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the o p p r e s s i o n women endured under a p a t r i a r c h a l system. But a t the same time she f e l t t h a t women had a d i s t i n c t i v e p s y c h o l o g i c a l makeup which meant they 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 moral i n f l u e n c e i n s o c i a l l i f e . She would n o t admit woman's f u l l e q u a l i t y w i t h man because she f e l t t h a t the complete eman-c i p a t i o n o f her sex might coarsen the feminine n a t u r e . George E l i o t ' s c o n t r a d i c t o r y a t t i t u d e s t o the p o s i t i o n of women are r e f l e c t e d i n h e r f i c t i o n a l w r i t i n g , o f t e n m a r r i n g the u n i t y o f her 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 . I n The M i l l on the F l o s s , Middlemarch and D a n i e l Deronda b r i l l i a n t a n a l y s i s of the e f f e c t s of male supremacy t u r n s i n t o b l i n d worship o f the V i c t o r i a n v i s i o n o f woman as "the a n g e l i n the house." My argument i s n o t w i t h the t r a d i t i o n a l view o f woman per s e .;but t h a t i n George E l i o t ' s work i t i s i n d i r e c t o p p o s i t i o n t o a s t r o n g e r and more a e s t h e t i c a l l y s a t i s f y i n g r a d i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . The presence of s t e r e o t y p e d images of women i n otherwise b r i l l i a n t n o v e l s reduces c o m p l e x i t y to a r t i f i c e , 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 t o f a c i l e sentiment. In The M i l l Maggie T u l l i v e r i s c l e a r l y struggling f o r some personal i d e n t i t y other than the s t r i c t l y "feminine" one her brother Tom i n s i s t s on. However, by the end of the novel Maggie has apparently found f u l f i l m e n t i n passive submission to Tom's male s u p e r i o r i t y . S i m i l a r l y In Middlemarch Dorothea's quest f o r some greater meaning i n her 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 usually allows f o r i s answered f i r s t with an i d e a l i z e d marriage to W i l l Ladislaw, and second with Vague references to her goddess-like p e r f e c t i o n . One of E l i o t ' s greatest achievements as a n o v e l i s t i s her determination to take the b i t c h s e r i o u s l y . With both Rosamond Vincy and Gwendolen Harleth she probes the usual stereotype of the e v i l woman to show that these two are as much victims of a repressive p a t r i a r c h a l society as are the more a t t r a c t i v e characters such as Dorothea and Maggie. But she does not carry through her sympathetic understanding of the b i t c h character. Rosamond i s f i n a l l y declared to be the unregenerate e v i l woman who "flourishes wonderfully on a murdered man's brains." Gwendolen does change but as i s implied by the comparison to Mirah Lapidoth, i t i s only to he removed from one r o l e , the b i t c h and placed immediately i n another, the good woman. This pattern i s repeated i n F e l i x Holt the Radical by measuring Mrs. Transome against Esther Lyon. The ambiguous treatment of the female personality does not a r i s e i n George E l i o t ' s other novels because none of the women characters i s ever l i f t e d f a r enough above stereotype f o r t h e r e t o be any q u e s t i o n of a departure from r e a l i s m . How-ever Adam Bede t S i l a s iviarner and Romola are b r i e f l y d i s c u s s e d w i t h F e l i x H o l t i n Chapter IV. Although t h i s t h e s i s d w e l l s l a r g e l y on c e r t a i n a e s t h e t i c weaknesses i n the f i c t i o n a l w r i t i n g of George E l i o t , I am not s u g g e s t i n g t h a t her r e v e r s i o n t o t r a d i t i o n a l images of the feminine c h a r a c t e r d e s t r o y s the n o v e l s . On the c o n t r a r y r e c o g n i z i n g and e x p l o r i n g these obvious areas o f f a i l u r e d r a m a t i c a l l y p o i n t s up the b r i l l i a n c e of the i n i t i a l f e m i n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e ( I . e . the r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t much of what i s c a l l e d the female c h a r a c t e r i s i n f a c t a response t o p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s ) which George E l i o t takes i n i n t r o d u c i n g her women c h a r a c t e r s . V TABLE OF CONTENTS Section I. INTRODUCTION 1 I I . THE MILL ON THE FLOSS 25 I I I . MIDDLEMARCH . . . 68 IV. DANIEL DERONDA . . . . . . . . . . . 118 V. FELIX HOLT THE RADICAL, ADAM BEDE, SILAS MARNER AND ROMOLA 189 VI. CONCLUSION .206 BIBLIOGRAPHY 217 THE TREATMENT OP WOMEN IN THE NOVELS OP GEORGE ELIOT I Introduction ( i ) The f i r s t major document of feminism, A Vindication of  the Rights of Woman was published i n 1792 by Mary Wollstone-c r a f t . A f r i e n d of Thomas Paine and of 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 with the radicalism of her era to i n s i s t upon the ap p l i c a t i o n of i t s basic pre-mises to that majority s t i l l excluded from the Rights of Man. The reaction to A Vindication was wide and v i o l e n t . Unfortunately, the attacks were not so much on the content of the book i t s e l f , but on Wollstonecraft's own l i f e . Her love 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 suicide made her book dangerous reading. Only a very few women i n the early nineteenth century had the courage to look i n t o i t s pages. I t was not u n t i l the 1830's and the coming of. age of the reform movement i n England that the struggle f o r woman's p o l i t i c a l , economic and s o c i a l equality got new impetus. Although the Reform Act of I832 did not i t s e l f reform very much, the wide discussion that the h i l l engendered brought many issues to public attention—among them the extension of the franchise to women and the deplorable conditions that working women endured. S t i l l , open a g i t a t i o n around the 1 "woman question" did not r e a l l y begin u n t i l the s i x t i e s . John Stuart M i l , with the assistance of Harriet Taylor, published the Subjection of Women and from t h i s r a l l y i n g point B r i t i s h women, under M i l l ' s leadership, began to demand changes i n the education, employment, p o l i t i c a l and l e g a l status of women. Emily Davies and Barbara Bodi-chon worked t i r e l e s s l y f o r a woman's college and f i n a l l y Girton was opened at Cambridge i n 1872. Protective l e g i s -l a t i o n f o r women and children factory workers was i n t r o -duced and i n a few rare instances women were organized i n -to trade unions f o r the f i r s t time. Middle class women signed p e t i t i o n a f t e r p e t i t i o n to have the marriage proper-ty laws changed so that they could have at l e a s t minimal control over t h e i r f i n a n c i a l l i v e s . The opposition quickly made i t s e l f heard. The most popular and probably most successful t a c t i c was i n s u l t . Horace Walpole had c a l l e d Mary Wollstonecraft 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 that one was everything from a man-hater to war-monger. Even the most sincere reformers could often not stand firm i n the face of the r i d i c u l e and accusations of "unfemininity" heaped upon fem-i n i s t sympathizers. John Ruskin, a r b i t e r of popular taste, loudly denounced the feminist cause and i n a widely-read public l e c t u r e , "Of Queen's Gardens," informed women of t h e i r true r i g h t — t o serve t h e i r menfolkj popular moralists such as Baldwin Brown blamed a l l the e v i l s of society on women who had "been se-duced by the r i d i c u l o u s phantom of woman's ri g h t s when t h e i r true power, the b i r t h r i g h t they would s e l l f o r a mess of 2 potage i s the 'power to love, to serve, to save'"; and many well-known women such as Mrs. T.H. Huxley, Mrs. L e s l i e Stephen and Mrs. Matthew Arnold signed a p e t i t i o n e n t i t l e d "An Appeal Against Female Suffrage." ( i i ) Determining where Marian Evans (as d i s t i n c t , f o r the moment, from the writer George E l i o t ) should be placed i n r e l a t i o n to t h i s controversy over the proper r o l e of woman i s a d i f f i c u l t problem. In reading through her essays, and Gordon Haight's biography and c o l l e c t i o n of the George E l i o t l e t t e r s , one i s f i r m l y convinced she i s p a r t i a l to feminism only to turn the page and he equally sure she i s not. For instance, i n her essay on Margaret F u l l e r and Mary Wollstone c r a f t Evans q u i e t l y but strongly supports the feminism of both womeni There Is [in the writings of both these women[ no exaggeration of woman's moral excellence 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 her f i t n e s s f o r t h i s or that function hi t h e r t o engrossed by men; but a calm plea f o r the removal of unjust laws and a r t i f i c i a l r e s t r i c -tions so that the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of her nature may have room f o r f u l l development.3 Yet only a year e a r l i e r i n "Women i n France: Madame de Sable she had marshalled a l l kinds of dubious, but popular, p h y s i o l o g i c a l and psychological " f a c t s " i n order to prove that English women were c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y incapable of great 4 l i t e r a r y achievementi What were the causes of t h i s e a r l i e r development and more abundant manifestation of womanly i n t e l -l e c t i n France? The primary one, perhaps, l i e s i n the ph 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 of the G a l l i c racet the small brain and vivacious temperament which permit the f r a g i l e system of woman to sustain the superlative 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 creativenessj while on the other hand, the larg e r brain and slower temperament of the English and Germans are, i n the womanly organization, generally dreamy and p a s s i v e . . T h e woman of large capacity can seldom r i s e beyond the absorption of ideas; her physical•conditions refuse to support the energy required 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 not strong enough to produce c r y s t a l i z a t i o n s ; phantasms of great ideas f l o a t through her mind, but she has not the s p e l l which w i l l a r r e s t them, and give them f i x i t y . This, more than unfavourable external circumstances, i s , we think, the reason why woman has not yet contributed any new form to ar t , any discovery i n science, any deep-searching inquiry i n philosophy. The necessary p h y s i o l o g i c a l conditions are not present i n her.^ The l i s t of Evans' close friends adds to the uncertainty surrounding her p o s i t i o n on the "woman question." Charles Bray, who can be regarded as her e a r l i e s t mentor, remained adamantly convinced that woman's only place was i n the home and Herbert Spencer did not bother to disguise his a n t i -feminism. Even George Henry Lewes seemed to regard h i s "wife" as an exception to the general rule that "the Masculine mind i s characterised by the predominance of the i n t e l l e c t , and the Feminine by the predominance of the emotions."-' On the other hand, Barbara Bodichon, one of England's leading f e -minists was, next to Lewes, surely Marian Evans' c l o s e s t f r i e n d . As well, Marian corresponded r e g u l a r l y and warmly with many other feminists such as Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby, Mrs. Peter Taylor and Mrs. Nassau John Senior congratulating 5 them on t h e i r work. But even with these women she could not give her f u l l approval to, l e t alone o f f e r her active par-t i c i p a t i o n i n , t h e i r cause. In a note to Bessie Parkes who was at that time e d i t i n g the Waverly Journal ("Conducted by Women") Marian warns Bessie to be prepared " i f I happen to write anything you don't l i k e about women."^ Edith Simcox, with whom she had a long and (at l e a s t on Simcox's part) passionate r e l a t i o n s h i p , spoke of th i s blend of conservatism and progressiveness which marked her attitude to the woman question, She gave unqualified and unhesitating assent to what might be c a l l e d the most 'advanced' opinions on t h i s subject; only the opinions had to be ad-vocated i n practice with large tolerance and d i -sinterestedness, and she wished to be assured that nothing of what i s valuable i n the s o c i a l order of the past should be s a c r i f i c e d i n the quest of even c e r t a i n future good.7 But perhaps the most revealing instance of her ambiguous attitude towards the feminist cause can be seen i n her response to the suffrage question. Gordon Haight describes the in c i d e n t ! When John Stuart M i l l introduced his amendment to extend the franchise to women, Mrs. Peter Taylor urged Marian to lend her influence i n support of the cause. I t was impossible to move her. To John Morley, who had discussed the issue with her, she wrotei 'If I were c a l l e d on to act i n the matter, I would c e r t a i n l y not oppose any plan which held out any reasonable promise of tending to e s t a b l i s h as f a r as possible an equivalence of advantages for the two sexes, as to education and the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of free development.' But the f a c t that 'woman seems to me to have the worse share i n existence,' she thought, should be the 'basis f o r a sublimer resignation i n woman and a more regenerating tenderness i n man.' However, she added, 'The p e c u l i a r i t i e s of my own l o t may have caused me to have idiosyn c r a s i e s rather than 6 an average judgment. '8 This l a s t statement i s at l e a s t a p a r t i a l answer as to why one finds Marian Evans f i r s t on one side, then on the other of the woman question. Her "own l o t , " though i n many ways a happy one inc l u d i n g as i t did her deep love f o r Lewes and the success of her writing, had s t i l l brought her continual tension and anxiety. When as a young woman she abandoned her passionate Calvinism f o r an equally enthusiastic agnos-ti c i s m , the ensuing breach between Marian and her father distressed her deeply. Although they soon came to a compro-mise (she s t i l l accompanied him to church r e g u l a r l y ) there was to be no such r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with her brother Isaac when several years l a t e r she made the decision to l i v e with George Henry Lewes. Isaac refused to communicate with her u n t i l many years 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 married John Cross. Marian always remembered her own struggles f o r an ed-ucation matching her a b i l i t i e s , and consequently could usually be counted on to support proposals to expand women's oppor-t u n i t i e s i n t h i s f i e l d j but when i t came to feminist demands fo r complete equality with men both i n the home and the work-place, she was never able to conquer her own fe e l i n g s of g u i l t at having broken the conventional rules of, feminine be-haviour. But i t was not only a l i e n a t i o n from a dearly loved brother which p r e c i p i t a t e d the bouts of deep depression from which she suffered f o r the r e s t of her l i f e and prevented her from wholeheartedly embracing feminism. For many years she was c r u e l l y ostracised by the whole of "good" London 7 society and i t i s d i f f i c u l t not to agree with Gordon Haight's analysis of why her physical and emotional health improved so much whenever she and Lewes t r a v e l l e d on the continent: The malaise and languor that oppressed her i n London would...vanish as soon as she reached the Continent, where she took strenuous a l l -night journeys by r a i l or diligence and endured long days of r e l e n t l e s s sightseeing. One looks i n e v i t a b l y f o r some psychological explanation to r econcile these contradictions. The most tempting one i s to be found i n her equivocal marital state, which since she had become famous, was p a i n f u l l y conspicuous. *I can never think of her po s i t i o n without p o s i t i v e pain', Blackwood t o l d Langford.9 One can e a s i l y understand the kind of pain John Blackwood must have f e l t f o r Marian given Charles Kingsley's unfeeling dismissal of her as "none other 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'.'*0 and Charles E l i o t Norton's des c r i p t i o n of her s o c i a l p o s i t i o n : She i s an object of great i n t e r e s t and great c u r i o s i t y [my i t a l i c s ! to society here. She i s not received i n general society, and the women who v i s i t her are ei t h e r so emancipee as not to mind what the world says" about them, or have no s o c i a l p o s i t i o n to maintain.11 Those "emancipee women" who v i s i t e d Marian Evans may have hoped to champion her as an example of feminine independence, but she v i o l e n t l y r e c o i l e d from any such notoriety. She was not a defiant woman; on the contrary she desperately wanted to l e g i t i m i z e her union with Lewes and was always most distraught when one of her feminist friends i n s i s t e d on r e f e r r i n g to her as Evans rather than Lewes: You must please not c a l l me MISS EVANS again. I have renounced that name, and do not mean to be known by i t i n any way. I t i s Mr. Lewes's 8 wish t h a t the few f r i e n d s who care about me should r e c o g n i z e me as Mrs. Lewes.12 The use of Lewes's surname may be a minor p o i n t , but i t r e f l e c t s Marian's i n t e n s e d e s i r e f o r s o c i a l a c c e p t a b i l i t y . She regarded her own i r r e g u l a r union as an e x c e p t i o n neces-s i t a t e d by insurmountable o b s t a c l e s and f e l t t h a t any f e m i -n i s t apology might encourage others to embark t h o u g h t l e s s l y upon the same course. She f e l t v ery k eenly the spoken an unspoken a c c u s a t i o n s t h a t she was somehow no t a "good" woman— t h a t she was a "pernicious"*-^ example of female l i b e r a t i o n — and o f t e n seemed to compensate by p r e a c h i n g the most t r a d i -t i o n a l of womanly v i r t u e s . In a l e t t e r to E m i l y Davies who was p r e p a r i n g a paper e n t i t l e d "Some Account of a Proposed C o l l e g e f o r Women" Marian i n s i s t e d on the s p e c i a l moral i n -f l u e n c e of women t h a t s p r i n g s from t h e i r p h y s i c a l and psy-c h o l o g i c a l d i f f e r e n c e s from men, In the f a c e of a l l wrongs, mistakes and f a i l u r e s , h i s t o r y has demonstrated t h a t g a i n . And t h e r e l i e s j u s t that k e r n e l of t r u t h i n - t h e v u l g a r alarm of men l e s t women should be 'unsexed*. We can no more a f f o r d to p a r t w i t h t h a t e x q u i s i t e type of 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 n a t e n e s s , which makes what we mean by the feminine c h a r a c -t e r than we can a f f o r d to p a r t with...human l o v e . 1 ^ -C o n g r a t u l a t i n g a young man on the announcement o f h i s engagement, Lewes and Evans sent a note p r o j e c t i n g an image of the proper w i f e l y r o l e which would have undoubtedly p l e a s e d even John Ruskinj Few t h i n g s have g i v e n us more p l e a s u r e than the i n t i m a t i o n i n your note t h a t you had a f i a n c e e . May she be the c e n t r a l happiness and motive f o r c e of your 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 out 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 the contemporary s t r u g g l e f o r female emancipation was concerned, Marian Evans f e a r e d t h a t any s u b s t n t i a l change i n woman's s t a t u s might mean the l o s s o f those s p e c i a l "womanly" q u a l i t i e s which were v i t a l to the moral s t a b i l i t y o f V i c t o r i a n England. Although t h i s k i n d of "woman worship" was touched w i t h melodramatic and s e n t i -mental e x a g g e r a t i o n , Walter Houghton p o i n t s out i n The V i c - t o r i a n Frame of Mind that-many i n t e l l i g e n t women—George E l i o t , Mrs. Humphry Ward, Mrs. Lynn L i n t o n , B e a t r i c e P o t t e r Webb, f o r example—viewed w i t h uneasiness or apprehension any emancipation o f t h e i r sex which would weaken i t s moral i n f l u e n c e by d i s t r a c t i n g a t t e n t i o n t o the o u t s i d e world o r by c o a r s e n i n g the feminine n a t u r e i t s e l f . 1° Marian h e r s e l f put i t t h i s way, I f e e l too deeply the d i f f i c u l t c o m p l i c a t i o n s t h a t b e s e t every measure l i k e l y t o a f f e c t the p o s i t i o n of women and a l s o I f e e l too i m p e r f e c t a sympathy w i t h many women who have put themselves forward i n connexion w i t h such measures, t o g i v e any p r a c t i c a l adhesion t o them. There i s no s u b j e c t on which I am more i n c l i n e d t o h o l d my peace and l e a r n , than on the "Women Qu e s t i o n . " I t seems t o me to overhang abysses, o f which even 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. On one l e v e l i t i s c e r t a i n l y calm and o b j e c t i v e . Yet on another t h e r e i s a d i s t i n c t note o f f e a r and n e a r - h y s t e r i a . The mention of p r o s t i t u t i o n has the k i n d of s c a r e v a l u e t h a t the "red menace of communism" e l i c i t s today. I t would n o t take much thought t o r e a l i z e t h a t p r o s t i t u t i o n i s h i s t o r i c a l l y a r e s u l t of female r e p r e s - s i o n r a t h e r than l i b e r a t i o n . Her comment about b e i n g out 10 of sympathy with many of the feminists of her day i s also noteworthy. As i s the case almost a hundred years l a t e r , some of them were undoubtedly f o o l i s h and ignorant but one cannot help speculating whether she rejected these women and the freedom they demanded because of her own deep f e e l i n g s of g u i l t over her common-law r e l a t i o n s h i p with Lewes. Marian Evans did not openly engage i n any feminist a c t i v i t i e s but the t r i a l s of her own i n t e l l e c t u a l and emo-t i o n a l l i f e most c e r t a i n l y gave her a s p e c i a l i n s i g h t i n t o the d i f f i c u l t y of a woman adopting anything but 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 her novels would have to be published under a male pseudonym: You may t e l l i t openly to a l l who care to hear i t that the object of anonymity was to get the book judged on i t s own merits, and not prejudged as the work of a woman, or of a p a r t i c u l a r woman. I t i s quite c l e a r that people would have s n i f f e d at i t i f they had known the writer to be a woman but they can't now unsay t h e i r admirationiiS An a r t i c l e which appeared i n the Athenaeum proved that t h e i r fears were a l l too well-founded« " I t i s time to end t h i s pother about the authorship of 'Adam Bede'. The writer i s i n no sense 7a •great unknown'} the t a l e , i f bright i n parts, and such as a clever woman with an observant eye and unschooled moral nature might have written, has no great q u a l i t y of any kind...you turn up a rather strong-minded lady, blessed with abundance of showy sentiment and a profusion of pious words but kept f o r sale rather than use.19 Even when she was an established author i t must have been d i f f i c u l t when, f o r example because "ladies were not admitted," she twice had to depend on Lewes's notes about the monastery at San Marco, which she needed f o r Romola. The p o s i t i o n of women i n a p a t r i a r c h a l society became a more acutely personal concern given the l e g a l and moral response to her union with 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" and although she made a show of not minding the s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n which her common-law r e l a t i o n s h i p brought, nevertheless she smarted under the i n j u s t i c e of a society that ostracized her as a v i o l a t o r of the marriage t i e while regarding the impeni-tent Agnes CLewes's l e g a l wife] as a blameless abandonned wife.22 I f her own union was i l l e g i t i m a t e at l e a s t she was not bound by many of the laws which reduced the married woman's s t a -tus to that of a mere possession of her husband. Marian strongly supported the proposed Married Women's Property Act and did not seem to be shocked at the idea that there could be such a thing as rape i n marriage, They [George E l i o t and Lady Araherl^ talked about a book on the S o c i a l and P o l i t i c a l De-pendence of Women? Lady Amberly, having read only a quotation from i t i n the P a l l M a l l — ' t h a t a man ought to be able to be punished f o r a rape on his wife'—was surprised when George E l i o t would not allow that the book was coarse. 23 But perhaps most s i g n i f i c a n t l y she seemed to r e a l i z e that the conventional V i c t o r i a n pattern 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 wholly to her husband and children, might do serious harm to her i n d i v i -dual self-development, We women are always i n danger of l i v i n g too ex-c l u s i v e l y i n the a f f e c t i o n s ; and though our af f e c t i o n s are perhaps the best g i f t s we have, 12 we ought also to have our share of the more i n -dependent l i f e — s o m e joy i n things f o r t h e i r own sake. I t i s piteous to see the h e l p l e s s -ness of some sweet women when t h e i r a f f e c t i o n s are disappointed—because a l l t h e i r teaching has been, that they can only d e l i g h t i n study of any kind f o r the sake of a personal love. They have never contemplated an independent d e l i g h t i n ideas as an experience which they could confess without being laughed at. Yet surely women need t h i s sort of defence against passion-ate a f f l i c t i o n even more than men.24 ( i i i ) One can understand much about Marian Evans' contradic-tory ideas about feminism through the events of her personal l i f e . But an examination of Ludwig Feuerbach's philosophy, which had such a great influence on her t h i n k i n g — " w i t h 25 the ideas of Feuerbach I everywhere agree" J — m i g h t also be productive. Feuerbach did not write 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 progressive and the conservative a t t i -tudes which mark Evans' response to the "woman question." Feuerbach's thesis was that the divine being worshipped by C h r i s t i a n s (or any other r e l i g i o u s group) i s not a " d i -vine" being at a l l , but only an extension of man's ideas about himself, God as God, that i s , as a being not f i n i t e , not human, not m a t e r i a l l y conditioned, not phenomenal, i s only an object of thought. He i s the incorpo-r e a l , formless, incomprehensible—the abstract, negative beings he i s known, i . e . , becomes an object, only by abstraction and negation (Via negationis). Why? Because he i s nothing but the objective nature of the thinking power, or i n general 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 conscious 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 , that 13 i s (for the idea of s p i r i t i s simply the idea of thought, of i n t e l l i g e n c e , of understanding, every other s p i r i t being a spectre of the imagination), no other i n t e l l i g e n c e which man can believe i n or conceive than that i n t e l l i -gence which enlightens him, which i s active i n him. Ke can do nothing 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 his own i n d i v i d u a l i t y . 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 therefore nothing else • 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 posited i n and by i t s e l f . 2 0 . The problem i s of course that i n p o s i t i n g t h i s divine being the i n d i v i d u a l man had separated himself from the r e s t of mankind. A true r e l i g i o n , Feuerbach says, would be a " r e l i g i o n of humanity" wherein man would develop his moral consciousness not i n response to the laws of a divine being, but i n consideration of the needs and desires of h i s "human" brothers and s i s t e r s . His emphasis was on the concrete "sensuous" ( i n i t s broadest sense) world, not on any roman-t i c and i l l u s o r y "heaven." To many 19th-century thinkers i t seemed that 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 simultaneously explained and broken. The enthusiasm with which many of h i s contempora-r i e s greeted Feuerbach's work i s best expressed by Frederick 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 pulverized the contradiction, i n that without circumlocutions i t placed ma-t e r i a l i s m on the throne again. Nature e x i s t s independently of a l l philosophy. I t i s the foun-dation upon which we human beings, ourselves pro-ducts of nature, have grown up. Nothing e x i s t s outside nature and man, and the higher beings our r e l i g i o u s fantasies have created 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 cast aside, and the contradiction, shown to e x i s t only i n our imagination, was dissolved. One must himself have experienced the l i b e r a t i n g e f f e c t of th i s book to get an idea of i t . Enthusiasm was general; we a l l became at once Feuerbachians. 2? Marian Evans' response to Feuerbach, as her correspondence during the period of 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 equally p o s i t i v e i f perhaps a l i t t l e more subdued i n tone. Feuerbach's materialism c e r t a i n l y attracted' her, and the axiom she adopted f o r F e l i x Holt, "that there i s no private l i f e which i s not determined by a wider public one" i s E l i o t ' s version of Feuerbach's "man i s what he eats." Here "Man" of course includes woman, and E l i o t saw that the common b e l i e f i n woman's ignorance and f r a i l t y had i t s root 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 rather than some d i -vine law of female i n f e r i o r i t y , complete union and sympathy [between man and wo-manf can only come by women having opened to them the same store of acquired truth or b e l i e f s as men have, so that t h e i r grounds of judgment may be as f a r as possible the same. The domestic misery, the e v i l education of the children that come from the presupposition that women must be kept ignorant and superstitious, are patent enough. 2° And as much as she abhorred the vain and f o o l i s h women who constituted such a large part of-London society she s t i l l r e a l i z e d that t h e i r s was not an e v i l inherent i n the feminine nature, as was commonly believed, but a product of the. p a t r i a r c h a l system itself» Men pay a heavy price f o r t h e i r reluctance to encourage s e l f - h e l p and independent resources i n women. The precious meridian years of many a man of genius have to be spent i n the t o i l of routine, that an 'establishment' may be kept up 15 f o r a woman who can understand none of his secret yearnings, who i s f i t f o r nothing but to s i t i n her drawing-room l i k e a doll-Madonna i n her shrine. No matter. Anything i s more endurable than to change our established formulae about women, or to run the r i s k of looking up to our wives i n -stead of looking down on them. S i t divus, dum- modo non s i t vivus ( l e t him be a god, provided he be not l i v i n g ) , said the Roman magnates of Romulus; and so men say of women, l e t them be i d o l s , useless absorbents of precious things, provided we are not obliged to admit them to be s t r i c t l y fellow-beings, to he treated, one and a l l , , with j u s t i c e and sober reverence. Although 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 pa-t r i a r c h y , she never r e a l l y attacked the system i t s e l f . The same can he said of Feuerbach. As Karl Marx pointed out i n the fourth of h i s "Theses on Feuerbach," the l a t t e r might have separated the r e l i g i o u s from the secular world but he did not go on to reveal why that separation existed at a l l . Except f o r very i s o l a t e d statements l i k e "man thinks d i f -f e r e n t l y i n a palace or a hut" he never seemed to understand that the creation of the r e l i g i o u s world was the c h i e f way by which the mass of men could understand the oppression that was a part of t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s , or on the other hand that the r u l i n g class could enforce that oppression. A l l that Feuerbach a c t u a l l y discarded was God. The ideas and con-cepts of conventional C h r i s t i a n i t y he maintained, merely saying that they should be followed as the laws- of man rather than the laws of some abstract d i v i n i t y . The c h i e f of these concepts, to Feuerbach, was love. The love that God has f o r men i s a c t u a l l y the love that man has f o r man, and i t i s t h i s concern f o r our fellow human beings that Feuerbach 16 f e e l s should be exalted to 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 bring about the l i b e r a t i o n of mankind. However, even the most cursory 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 of Feuerbach's thinking. Engels spluttered: But l o v e ! — y e s , with Feuerbach love i s everywhere and at a l l times the wonder-working god who should help to surmount a l l d i f f i c u l t i e s of p r a c t i c a l l i f e — a n d at that i n a society which i s s p l i t i n t o classes with d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposite interests.-At t h i s point the l a s t r e l i c of i t s revolutionary character disappears from his philosophy, leaving only the old cant: Love one a n o t h e r — f a l l i n t o each other's arms regardless of d i s t i n c t i o n s of sex or e s t a t e — a universal orgy of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n ' In short, the Feuerbachian theory of morals fares l i k e a l l i t s predecessors. I t i s designed to s u i t a l l periods, a l l peoples and a l l conditions, and p r e c i s e l y f o r that reason i t i s never and no-where applicable. I t remains, as regards the r e a l world, as powerless as Kant's c a t e g o r i c a l impera-t i v e . In r e a l i t y every c l a s s , even every profession, has i t s own morality, and even t h i s i t v i o l a t e s whenever i t can do so v/ith impunity. And love, which i s to unite a l l , manifests i t s e l f i n wars, a l t e r c a t i o n s , lawsuits, domestic b r o i l s , divorces and every possible e x p l o i t a t i o n of one by another.30 The l a s t sentence of t h i s quotation shows where Feuerbach's thinking would lead i n regard to the p o s i t i o n of women. His emphasis on the v a l i d i t y of sexuality i n love was cer- -t a i n l y meaningful given the repressive atmosphere of V i c t o r i a n society, but without a correspondingly r a d i c a l r e - d e f i n i t i o n of the mutual r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that male-female love e n t a i l s , then greater sexual freedom might a c t u a l l y work to woman's disadvantage*by giv i n g her husband even more power over her. I t was under that very name of "love" that women were ex-pected u n c r i t i c a l l y to "honour and obey." A l l too often, 17 love, f o r a woman, meant gi v i n g up her ri g h t s under the law, submitting to her husband's w i l l and l i m i t i n g her per-sonal ambitions to the rewards of motherhood. Marian Evans' acceptance of Feuerbach's r e l i g i o n of love was enthusiastic and complete: The powerful appeal the book had f o r her sprang, not from h i s bold humanism—'Homo homini deus e s t * — f o r she had long been f a m i l i a r with that, hut from Feuerbach's daring conception of love: 'Love i s God himself, and apart from i t there i s no God...not a visionary, imaginary l o v e — n o l a r e a l love, a love which has f l e s h and blood, which v i -brates as an almighty force through a l l l i v i n g . ' She agreed whole-heartedly with 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 love' and 'the true human love*, which 'impels the s a c r i f i c e of s e l f to another.' Such love i s , and must always be, p a r t i c u l a r and li m i t e d , f i n d i n g i t s expression i n the sexual r e l a t i o n , the frankest recognition of the divine i n Nature.31 Her healthy recognition of sexuality c e r t a i n l y marked Evans as a r a d i c a l i n at l e a s t one aspect of the debate over the true nature of woman. But l i k e Feuerbach she did not seem to want to investigate thoroughly other aspects of male/ female r e l a t i o n s h i p s that might threaten the s t a b i l i t y of 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 . When confronted with the f a c t of women's and men's oppression she took the Feuerba-r chian way out. Concern f o r our own d i f f i c u l t i e s i s s e l -f i s h and e g o t i s t i c a l . One must resign oneself to one's "own l o t , " as i t were, and the highest achievement of human existence i s to repress s e l f - i n t e r e s t f o r the i n t e r e s t of others, Consciousness of the world i s the consciousness of my limitation....My fellow-man,is the bond between me and the world. 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 other men. I f I did not need man, I should not need the world, I reconcile myself with the world only through my fellow-man. Without other men, the world would be f o r me not only dead and empty, but meaningless. Only through his fellow does man become clea r to himself and self-conscious.-^ These are f i n e sentiments, as Engels suggested, i f one did not l i v e i n a "society which i s s p l i t i n t o classes with d i a -m e t r i c a l l y opposite i n t e r e s t s . " Given the facts of 19th-century B r i t i s h l i f e , Feuerbach's and Evans' c a l l s f o r r e s i g -nation sound more reactionary than progressive. As f a r as the feminist struggle f o r emancipation i s concerned, Evans' statement quoted previously ( " i f a female has a worse share i n existence that should be the basis f o r a sublimer r e s i g -nation i n women") can be interpreted only as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r maintaining the present system of sexual i n e q u a l i t y . She handled the l a r g e r question of c l a s s p o l i t i c s i n the same way. In her "Address to Working Men, by F e l i x Holt," she pleaded with working men not to misuse the power of the b a l l o t or to "allow the mob and mob orators to mislead them and destroy the class who have l e i s u r e and refinement to think and l e g i s l a t e . " ^ I t may be noted that her very con-servative publisher, John Blackwood, was most enamoured of t h i s kind of "radicalism." Feuerbach's greatest s t r e n t h — t h a t he perceived the world m a t e r i a l i s t i c a l l y — i s also Marian Evans'. But h i s f a i l u r e i s hers too. Both saw what man was and how he had become what he was, but neither saw that he could or would 19 become anything e l s e . To me materialism i s the foundation 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 to the physiologist, to the natural s c i e n t i s t i n the narrower sense, for example, to Moleschott, and necessarily i s from t h e i r stand-point and professions, namely, the e d i f i c e i t s e l f . Backwards I f u l l y agree with the m a t e r i a l i s t s ; but At the point where they were challenged to attack or even threaten 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 i n t o the very idealism that they i n i t i a l l y were determined to r e j e c t . I f i n her private l i f e Marian Evans had contradictory f e e l i n g s about"..the popular feminist issues of her time i t i s not unreasonable to expect t h i s same confusion w i l l show up i n the f i c t i o n of George E l i o t . The purpose of t h i s the-s i s i s to point up these contradictions i f and when they occur and to show to what extent E l i o t ' s ambiguity with r e s -pect to the p o s i t i o n of women can be h e l p f u l i n explaining both the undeniable b r i l l i a n c e and obvious weaknesses i n her novels. I am not at a l l t r y i n g to suggest that a femi-n i s t bias makes good a r t or that expressions of male chauvi-nism doom a novel to f a i l u r e . To pick out such attitudes i n an author's w r i t i n g i s merely a process of d e s c r i p t i o n and does not contribute i n any way to the analysis of the work as a r t . I t does seem to me, however, that a novel i s bound to run i n t o d i f f i c u l t i e s i f two d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed approaches to female character are present i n i t , and the contradiction has no s p e c i f i c l i t e r a r y function. This i s , I believe, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of many of the novels of George not forwards. !~Feuerbacn~l E l i o t . She i n i t i a l l y presents her women characters from a feminist perspective ( i . e . from the standpoint of one who sees that much of what i s c a l l e d the female character i s i n f a c t a response to p a t r i a c h a l values) but ult i m a t e l y measures them against the standards of a conservative anxious to preserve a l l the t r a d i t i o n a l i d e a l s about the proper place of women. Given the subject with which t h i s thesis deals, I found a thematic approach to a l l the novels impossible. Although the same contradictory attitudes i n the presenta-t i o n of female characters occur i n much of her work, the prob-lem manifests i t s e l f i n d i f f e r e n t ways, making any comparisons or cross-references subject to too much q u a l i f i c a t i o n . I have concentrated on three of the novels—The M i l l on the  Floss, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda—partly because they are representative of the three major periods of her wr i t i n g but more importantly because the weaknesses of these novels are i n e x t r i c a b l y bound up with t h e i r greatness as works of f i c t i o n . The M i l l on the Floss f a l l s apart 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 of re s o l v i n g the complexity of Maggie's s i -tuation. In Daniel Deronda, part of the reason why Deronda i s such a weak character i s because he does not provide a sa t i s f a c t o r y answer to the problems with which Gwendolen Harleth confronts him. In t h i s way Gwendolen's story, the best part of the book^is weakened too. Middlemarch does not have the marked f a i l u r e s of the other two novels, but 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 marriage with Ladislaw seems to me to a r i s e because i t avoids the very compelling questions about a woman's l i f e that Dorothea has posed e a r l i e r i n the book. There i s only one other woman character, Mrs. Transome i n F e l i x Holt the Radical, whom I f e e l warrants extensive • discussion but since her part i s r e l a t i v e l y small i n that novel I have included that discussion with the b r i e f reviews of Adam Bede, S i l a s Marner and Romola which make up Chapter IV. The conclusion recaps the main points of the body of the thesis and t r i e s to o f f e r some general conclusions about George E l i o t ' s treatment of women i n her f i c t i o n . One f i n a l note» i n a l l the c r i t i c i s m of George E l i o t I have read i n the past year.only r a r e l y i s she ref e r r e d to by her surname,, whether Evans or the pseudonymous E l i o t . The same applies to Jane Austen, the Brontes, H a r r i e t Mar-tineau, Charlotte Gaskell and other female writers, but of course not to Charles Dickens or William Thackery or Henry James. I am sure George E l i o t , had she been consulted, would have chosen "Mrs. Lewes." Notwithstanding her pre-ference, I s h a l l give her equal treatment with her male contemporaries. In dealing with her personal l i f e and early writings up to Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e (1858) I have used e i t h e r Marian, Marian Evans or Evans; i n discussing the novels written under her pen name, ei t h e r George E l i o t or E l i o t i s used. 22 NOTES 1 quoted by Elaine Showalter i n introduction to "Obser-vations on the State of Degradation to Which Woman i s Reduced by Various Causes," i n Women's Liberati o n and  Lit e r a t u r e (New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 19?1), p. 9 . 2 Walter E. Houghton, The V i c t o r i a n Frame of Mind 1830- 1870 (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1957). p. 351. 3 George E l i o t , "Margaret F u l l e r and Marry Wollstone-c r a f t , " Leader, VI (1855), i n Essays of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963), p. 200. 4 Ibid., "Women i n France," Essays, pp. 55-56. 5 George Henry Lewes, "The Lady Nove l i s t s , " Westminter  Review (1852), i n Women's Liberati o n and Li t e r a t u r e , ed. Showalter, p. 174. 6 The George E l i o t Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight (New Haven: Yale University Press), I I , 175* |George E l i o t to Bessie Rayner Parkes, Weimar, 10 September 1854) 7 K.A. McKenzie, Edith Simcox and George E l i o t (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 118. 8 Gordon S. Haight, George E l i o t : A Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), p. 396. 9 Ibid., p. 338. 10 Quoted by Thomas Pinney i n introduction to "'Westward Ho! and Constance Herbert," Essays, p. 122. 11 Haight, Letters, V, 7. [Charles E l i o t Norton to George William C u r t i s , London, 29 January I869J 23 12 Haight, Biography, p. 243. [George_Eliot to Bessie Rayner Parkes, London, 24 September 1852 Haight, Letters, V, 7. Norton to Cu r t i s , 29 January 186?] 14 Haight, Letters, IV, 468. [George. E l i o t to Emily Davies, London"! 8 August 1868[ Haight, Letters, VI, 102. [George Henry Lewes to William Kindon C l i f f o r d , London, 1875 16 Houghton, The V i c t o r i a n Frame of Mind, p. 352. 1 7 r Haight, Letters, V, 58. [George E l i o t to Mrs. Nassau John Senior,-London, 4 October I869J 1 8 r Haight, Biography, 2 9 0 . jCjeorge E l i o t to Mme. Bar-bara Bodichoo. London, 30 June, 1859 - p o s t s c r i p t quoted by G.H. LewesJ 19 I b i d . , 290-1 20 I b i d . , 3 2 6 . 21 Haight, Letters, I I I , 3 6 6 . [George E l i o t to Mme. Eugene Bodichon, London, 26 December 186/J 22 Haight, Biography, p. 3 3 8 . 23 I b i d . , p. 3 9 1 . 24 Haight, Letters, V, 107. [George E l i a t to the Hon. Mrs. Robert Lytton, Harrogate, 8 July I870] Haight, Biography, p. 142. [George E l i o t to Sara Sophia Hennell, London, 29 A p r i l 1854) 24 26 Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of C h r i s t i a n i t y (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1 9 5 7 ) , p. 3 5 . 27 Frederick Engels, "Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of C l a s s i c a l German Philosophy," i n Kar l Marx and Frederick Engels Selected Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962) I I , 3 6 7 - 8 . Haight, Letters,. IV, 468. [George E l i o t to Emily Davies, London, 8 August 1868] 29 George E l i o t , "Margaret F u l l e r and Mary Wollstone-c r a f t , M i n Essays of George E l i o t , op. c i t . , p. 204-5. 30 Eng.els, p. 384. 31 Haight, Biography, p. 137• 32 Feuerbach, p. 82. 33 r Haight, Letters, IV, 403. |john Blackwood to George E l i o t , Edinburgh, 6 December 1 8 6 3 3^ Quoted by Engels i n "Feuerbach," p. 373* I I The K i l l on the 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 the n i g h t ; w i t h no impulse t o change her 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 even f o r the mental a c t of p r a y e r — o n l y w a i t i n g f o r the l i g h t t h a t would s u r e l y come a g a i n . I t came w i t h the memories t h a t no p a s s i o n c o u l d l o n g quench; the l o n g p a s t came hack t o her, and w i t h i t the 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 , of f a i t h f u l n e s s and r e s o l v e . The words t h a t were marked by the q u i e t hand i n the l i t t l e o l d book t h a t she had l o n g ago l e a r n e d by h e a r t rushed even t o her l i p s , and found a vent f o r themselves i n a low murmur t h a t was q u i t e l o s t i n the l o u d d r i v i n g of the r a i n a g a i n s t the window and the loud moan of the wind: "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 hear i t t i l l death, as Thou h a s t l a i d i t upon me."l 3y t h i s p o i n t i n The M i l l on the F l o s s Maggie T u l l i v e r has achi e v e d t h a t r e n u n c i a t i o n of s e l f , t h a t r e s i g n a t i o n o f w i l l which George E l i o t c o n s i d e r s the h i g h e s t achievement of human e x i s t e n c e . Maggie has g i v e n up S t e p h e n — r e s i s t e d h i s l a s t a p p e a l t o h e r — c h o s e n duty i n s t e a d o f p a s s i o n , and exchanged e a s e f u l j oy f o r the " w i l l i n g endurance of a p a i n t h a t i s n o t a l l a y e d — t h a t you don't expect to be a l l a y e d " (MF, 363)* Only one f i n a l a c t i o n i s n e c e s s a r y t o complete her metamorphosis from egoism t o t r u e C h r i s t i a n h u m i l i t y . Maggie must e f f e c t a r e u n i o n w i t h Tom. And so, f i l l e d w i t h a s t r o n g r e s u r g e n t l o v e towards her b r o t h e r t h a t swept away a l l the l a t e r i m p r e s s i o n s of hard, c r u e l o f f e n c e and misunderstanding, and l e f t o n l y 2 5 26 the deep, underlying, unshakable memories of early union (MF, 567) Maggie poles her boat down the suddenly flood-swelled Floss to f i n d f i n a l peace f o r hers e l f through r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with Tom. Brother and s i s t e r go down happily to t h e i r deaths i n an embrace never to be parted, l i v i n g through again i n one supreme moment the days when they had clasped t h e i r l i t t l e hands i n love and roamed the daisied f i e l d s together. (MF, 5 7 ° ) So run the l a s t scenes of an otherwise b r i l l i a n t novel. A f t e r being presented with one of the most r e a l i s t i c and ex c i t i n g p o r t r a i t s of a woman's l i f e to be found i n English f i c t i o n we are suddenly expected to accept completely the r i d i c u l o u s combination of sentimental idealism, i n c r e d i b l e events, and overblown r e l i g i o u s r h e t o r i c that makes up the f i n a l book of The M i l l on the Floss. Of course i t did not then,nor does i t now work. Ever since The M i l l ' s f i r s t p u b l ication, 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 . According to Henry James, the story i s t o l d as i f i t were destined to have, i f not a s t r i c t l y happy termination, at l e a s t one within ordinary p r o b a b i l i t i e s . As i t stands the denouement shocks the reader most p a i n f u l l y . Nothing has prepared him f o r i t ; the story does not move towards i t ; i t casts no shadow before i t . Did such a denouement l i e within the author's intentions from the f i r s t or was i t a tardy expe-dient f o r the s o l u t i o n of 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. Leavis says that i n the f i n a l scene on the r i v e r E l i o t loses the "insight and understanding" which so powerfully informs the r e s t of the novel* Something so l i k e a kind of daydream indulgence 27 we are a l l f a m i l i a r with, could 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, givi n g her f u l l self-knowledge. The flooded r i v e r has no symbolic or metaphorical value. I t i s only the dreamed-of heroic act--the act that s h a l l vindicate us against a harshly misjudging world, bring emotional f u l f i l m e n t and ( i n others) changes of heart, and provide 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 that the sentimental i n i t i s embarrassingly gross, but the f i n a l i t y i s not that of great a r t , and the s i g n i f i c a n c e i s what I have suggested—a revealed immaturity.3 Even Joan Bennett, one of E l i o t ' s recent and most enthusias-t i c supporters, can f i n d nothing very good to say about t h i s aspect of The M i l l * We are temporarily c a r r i e d away by the v i v i d des-c 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 close i s a symptom of the relax a t i o n of the author's serious concern with her characters. Unfortunately, disagreeable and i r r i t a t i n g as the' f i n a l scenes may be, they are s t i l l there (as Mirah i s s t i l l . "there" i n Daniel Deronda) and must be dealt with. I,t i s obvious that 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 of t h i s novel, "which I had looked forward to with much attention and premeditation from the beginning."-' In l e t t e r s to Barbara Bodichon and John Blackwood, Lewes reported Marian's tremendous emotional involvement with the f i n a l des-t i n i e s of Tom and Maggies Mrs. Lewes i s getting her eyes redder and swollener every morning as she l i v e s through her t r a g i c s t o r y . 0 'My good lady' ( s t y l e c h o i s i I ) . . . i s reddening her eyes, and blackening 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 Herbert Spencer mentions that at about the same time when he c a l l e d upon the couple, Lewes, who was just leaving pet name f o r Marian J 5 she i s crying her eyes out over the o death of her c h i l d r e n . " E l i o t ' s own l e t t e r written to John Blackwood the day she f i n i s h e d the manuscript suggests that she had no doubts about the denouement of The M i l l on  the F l o s s . Her usual tone of self-effacement i s c e r t a i n l y there, but the sense of personal s a t i s f a c t i o n "with a job well done" i s even stronger, Your l e t t e r yesterday morning helped to i n s p i r e me f o r the l a s t eleven pages, i f they have any i n s p i r a t i o n i n them. There were written i n a furor, but I daresay there i s not a word d i f f e r e n t from what i t would have been i f I had written them at the slowest pace. 9 I f E l i o t was as content with the ending of 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 consis-t e n t l y negative, there must be a serious problem of i n t e r p r e -t a t i o n . Are we reading the novel i n a way d i f f e r e n t from that E l i o t intended us to? What are the problems she f e l t Maggie T u l l i v e r was dealing with and how does her return to Tom and t h e i r mutual death by drowning resolve them? And where and why i n the novel does our understanding depart from hers so that 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? As Barbara Hardy points out i n Chapter IV of The Novels  of George E l i o t , one of Marian Evans' main concerns as a the house s a i d , "Oh, Spencer do go i n and comfort P o l l y [a ( i i ) 29 n o v e l i s t (and one can only conclude from reading her l e t t e r s , as a human being too) was with the problem of egoism. Like Feuerbach, E l i o t saw personal pride and wilfu l n e s s as the factors most antagonistic to and destructive of s o c i a l har-mony. The t r u l y moral or " r e l i g i o u s " ( i n i t s broadest sense) l i f e must, i n her words, "express l e s s care f o r personal consolation and a more deeply-awing sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ' to man."*0 And i t i s towards t h i s understanding of the i n d i v i dual's duty to the la r g e r community i n which he l i v e s that she t r i e s to move her characters. Renunciation of s e l f , or at l e a s t the abandonment of that part of s e l f - l o v e which blinds one to the needs and concerns of others i s of course the means of e f f e c t i n g t h i s end. As Bernard Paris commentsJ The primal undeniable ground of value f o r E l i o t i s the i n d i v i d u a l ' s importance to himself} i t i s a f a c t that h i s own pleasures and pains are of great moment to him. This i s the subjective basis of morality. The objective basis of morality i s other men} and we become aware of i t only when we regard our fellows objectively, that i s , as sub-ject s i n themselves to whom we are objects. I f I am important to myself, and other men have an inner l i f e l i k e my own, then they must be impor-tant to themselves. I evaluate the actions of my fellows^ i n terms of the e f f e c t s which they have upon me. S i m i l a r l y , they must evaluate my actions by the e f f e c t s which I have upon them. Other men, then, give my deeds, my l i f e , an objec-t i v e value. The moral s a t i s f a c t i o n that we derive from l i v i n g f o r the good of others i s de-pendent upon the degree to which we regard our fellow-men objectively, upon our a b i l i t y to pro-j e c t ourselves imaginatively i n t o the conscious- , ness of others and i n t o the future. By l i v i n g f o r others, we also l i v e i n others, and by envi-sioning the e f f e c t s of our existence upon those who l i v e a f t e r us we can experience a sense of impersonal immortality. "I think i t i s possible," E l i o t wrote, "for t h i s sort of impersonal l i f e to a t t a i n great intensity."11 E l i o t f u l l y r e c o g n i z e s too ( i n theory a t l e a s t ) the d i s t i n c -t i o n between r e a l s e l f - a b n e g a t i o n and the g l o r i e s of easy martyrdom. She had l i t t l e p a t i e n c e w i t h those who thought r e n u n c i a t i o n was p a i n l e s s , t h a t i t was a matter of merely s m a l l and unimportant s a c r i f i c e s to i n s u r e one's moral s u -p e r i o r i t y . In an essay on G e r a l d i n e Jewsbury's Gonstnace  Herbert she c r i t i c i z e s the author f o r her promotion of t h i s i d e a . The her o i n e i n the n o v e l has had to renounce her f i a n c e because of a f a m i l y h e r i t a g e o f i n s a n i t y , hut ev e r y -t h i n g i s u l t i m a t e l y r e s o l v e d t o her advantage when i n the end he i s d i s c o v e r e d t o have been an " e g o i s t i c , shallow w o r l d l i n g " who i s not worth marrying anyway. The n o t i o n t h a t duty l o o k s s t e r n , but a l l the w h i l e has her hand f u l l o f sugar-plums, w i t h which she w i l l reward us by-and-by, i s the f a v o u r i t e cant of o p t i m i s t s , who t r y to make out 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 easy t o t r a c e as t h a t of a Dutch gardens but i t r e a l l y undermines a l l t r u e 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 something 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 of the immediate impulse o f l o v e or j u s t i c e , which alone makes an a c t i o n t r u l y m o r a l . 1 2 But f o r the i n d i v i d u a l who does achieve t r u e s e l f l e s s n e s s t h e r e i s reward. In r e t u r n f o r the l o s s o f w o r l d l y p l e a s u r e s one g a i n s the j o y s of i n n e r harmony and peace of mind much i n the same way t h a t Jesus promised t h a t "He who f i n d s h i s l i f e w i l l l o s e i t , and he who l o s e s h i s l i f e f o r my sake w i l l f i n d i t . " Although i t i s perhaps a l i t t l e s i m p l i s t i c t o say t h a t i n d i v i d u a l egoism i s the r o o t o f a l l human misery, g i v e n the c o n t e x t of E l i o t ' s n o v e l s one cannot h e l p s y mpathizing 31 w i t h her p o i n t o f view. Throughout The M i l l on the F l o s s we see a l l too c l e a r l y the dangers of p r i d e and e x e r c i s e of p e r s o n a l w i l l w i t h o u t regard t o the s e n s i b i l i t i e s of o t h e r s . The d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f Tom, h i s f a t h e r , Wakem and Stephen Guest t o f o l l o w t h e i r own immediate d e s i r e s l e a d s o n l y to misery f o r others and deep d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h themselves. But the moral l e s s o n o f The M i l l on the F l o s s i s pl a y e d out, not through the l i v e s of these people, but through Maggie T u l l i v e r . To my mind t h i s i s the r o o t of our b a s i c uneasiness w i t h the denouement of the n o v e l . The process of r e n u n c i a t i o n i s worked out, not through the l i f e of one of the men who most needs t o l e a r n t h a t l e s s o n , hut through a woman. Women are c e r t a i n l y as l i a b l e t o the s i n s o f p r i d e as men, but i n Maggie's case her egoism i s so c l e a r l y r e v e a l e d t o be a h e a l t h y r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t the l i m i t a t i o n s imposed on her self-de v e l o p m e n t by the system of p a t r i a r c h y t h a t i t i s d i f -f i c u l t t o see her f i n a l scenes of s e l f - a b n e g a t i o n as a n y t h i n g e l s e but a t e d i o u s re-statement o f a l l t h e o l d myths about woman as s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g martyr. The problem then i s n o t w i t h the i d e a of r e s i g n a t i o n — t h o u g h l i m i t e d , , i t i s a v a l i d enough t h e o r y — b u t t h a t i t i s not worked out where i t should he and t h a t , i n f a c t , i t i s worked out i n d i r e c t c o n t r a d i c -t i o n t o what we f e e l are v e r y d i f f e r e n t needs o f a p a r t i c u l a r c h a r a c t e r . . ( i i i ) 3 2 Tom has always been the c e n t r e of Maggie's l i f e and the n a ture of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s the c l u e to the p r o c e s s of u n d e r s t a n d i n g her behaviour and thus our d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h "The F i n a l Rescue." Although Maggie may worship Tom, he has l i t t l e i f any r e s p e c t f o r her. Tom has c o m p l e t e l y absorbed (and i n t h i s way he too i s a v i c t i m ) the a n t i -f e m i n i s t b i a s of the world around him which s c a r c e l y r e c o g -n i z e s g i r l s or women as human b e i n g s . Timpson had a l a r g e f a m i l y of daughters 5 Mr. R i l e y f e l t f o r him. (MP, 40) Mr. T u l l i v e r f e l t v e r y much as i f the a i r had been c l e a r e d of o b t r u s i v e f l i e s now the women were out of the room. (MF, 9 3 ) You've got enough o ' g e l l s , G r i t t y , " he added, 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 s u p e r i o r to the poor female Maggie, I've got a g r e a t d e a l more money than you, because I'm a boy. I always have h a l f - s o v e r e i g n s and so v e r e i g n s f o r my Christmas boxes because I s h a l l , be a man, and you only have f i v e - s h i l l i n g p i e c e s because you're o n l y a g i r l . (MF, 51) Although Tom may d e s p i s e the op p o s i t e sex as l e s s e r human beings, i r o n i c a l l y he w i l l a c c e p t Maggie only i f she i s the model of p e r f e c t f e m i n i n i t y ; f o r he has a l s o understood from h i s f a t h e r l a n d the males around him t h a t the supposedly feminine q u a l i t i e s of p a s s i v i t y , obedience and decorum en-hance a man's sense of h i s own v i r i l i t y , I p i c k e d the mother because she wasn't o'er' ' c u t e — b e i n g a good l o o k i n g woman too, an' come of a r a r e f a m i l y f o r managing, but I p i c k e d her from her s i s t e r s o' purpose 'cause she was a b i t weak, 33 l i k e , f o r I wasn't agoin' to be told the r i g h t s o' things by my own f i r e s i d e . (MF, 33) And his second subject of meditation was the "contrariness of the female mind",as t y p i c a l l y exhibited i n Mrs. Glegg. That a creature made--i n the genealogical sense—out 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 highest r e s p e c t a b i l i t y without any trouble of her own, should he normally i n a state of contradiction to the blandest propositions and even to the most accomodating concessions was a mystery i n the scheme of things to which he had often i n vain sought a clue i n the early chapters of Genesis. (MP, 144) Maggie has a l i t t l e trouble i n f u l f i l l i n g t h i s male i d e a l . She i s d e f i n i t e l y not the charming l i t t l e "piece of f l u f f " ' that Lucy Deane i s , And there's Lucy Deane's such a good c h i l d — you may set her on a s t o o l , and there s h e ' l l s i t f o r an hour together, and never o f f e r to get o f f . I can't help l o v i n g the c h i l d as i f she was my own. (MF, 60) Nor i s she p a r t i c u l a r l y masculine, or i n any other way unusual. In her early childhood at l e a s t , Maggie has the high s p i r i t s of any c h i l d regardless of sex. 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 ) • She thinks patchwork i s " f o o l i s h work" and i s not interested i n having her h a i r curled. But to Mrs. T u l l i v e r these are i n d i c a t i o n s of a lack of "normal" femininity nothing short of catastrophe» Folks ' u l l think i t ' s a judgment on me as I've got such a child--they'11 think I've done some-thing wicked. (MF, 42) She and the other adults i n Maggie's world use a double standard i n judging even childhood behaviour. What i s "na-t u r a l " i n Tom as a boy i s reprehensible i n Maggie because 3^ she i s a g i r l i "Maggie's ten times n a u g h t i e r when they [the aunts] come than she i s o t h e r days, and Tom doesn'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 i n t e l l i g e n c e i s su s p e c t i "An o'er 'cute woman's no b e t t e r nor 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 the b i g g e r p r i c e f o r t h a t . " (MF, 2 5 ) I t i s Tom, the male, who should have had the f a m i l y b r a i n s , "But you see when a man's got b r a i n s h i m s e l f , t h e r e ' s no knowing where t h e y ' l l run to, an' 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 as i f the world was turned t o p s y - t u r v y . I t ' s an uncommon p u z z l i n ' t h i n g . " (MF, 33) Maggie would l i k e t o p l e a s e her f a m i l y and o f t e n wishes t h a t she had Lucy's k i n d o f s o c i a l acceptability« She was fond o f f a n c y i n g a world where the people never got any l a r g e r than c h i l d r e n o f t h e i r own age, and she made the queen of i t j u s t l i k e Lucy, w i t h a l i t t l e crown on her head and a l i t t l e s c e p t r e i n her hand...only the queen was Maggie h e r s e l f i n Lucy's form. (MF, 79) But t h e r e i s another p a r t o f her which longs f o r more 'than the l i f e o f a h e l p l e s s , obedient, u n t h i n k i n g female: Maggie...was a c r e a t u r e f u l l of eager, 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 ear s t r a i n i n g a f t e r dreamy music t h a t d i e d away and would n o t come near t o her, 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 w o n d e r f u l i m p r e s s i o n s of t h i s mysterious l i f e and g i v e her s o u l a sense of home i n i t . (MF, 2 6 4 ) And i t i s t h i s t e n s i o n between s o c i a l a c c e p t a b i l i t y and a s e a r c h f o r p e r s o n a l i d e n t i t y o u t s i d e the narrow boundaries of the c o n v e n t i o n a l female r o l e which i s the p a t t e r n o f Maggie's l i f e as i t u n f o l d s i n The M i l l on the F l o s s . 35 These two desires are of course not inherently antago-n i s t i c , but i n Maggie's case they become so. Though her mother relegates her to second p l a c e — " I f Mrs. T u l l i v e r had a strong f e e l i n g , i t was fondness f o r her hoy" (MF, 4 8 ) — and the aunts w i l l always have to be reckonned with, her father's love and her strong attachment to the M i l l i t s e l f could bring her a good deal of s a t i s f a c t i o n even i n the more passive feminine part she would have to play to please them. But there i s another member of the family to be considered--Tom. And to be accepted by Tom means complete and u t t e r submission to his masculine w i l l . Maggie must not act or think f o r h e r s e l f5 she must only he_. The only i d e n t i t y Maggie w i l l have with Tom i s what he wants her to be, You're always s e t t i n g yourself up above me and everyone else, and I've wanted to t e l l you about i t several times. You ought not to have spoken as you did to my_ [my emphasis} uncles and aunts — you should leave i t to me to take care of my mother and you and not put yourself forward. You think you know better than anyone, but you're almost always wrong. I can judge much better than you can. (MF, 263) Thus what might have been a reasonable option for Maggie becomes an act of extreme submission. There i s no compro-mise as f a r as her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Tom i s concerned. Only by denying her own 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 gain h i s appro-v a l . I f she wishes to express h e r s e l f at a l l , outside of the common d e f i n i t i o n of l a d y l i k e perfection, she comes i n t o d i r e c t confrontation with him. And defying Tom i s l i k e defying the whole s o c i a l system. He i s the authority figure 3 6 i n her l i f e . He i s always r i g h t , h is actions are always approved? of the two of 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 further complicated i n that there i s no one on Maggie's "side" to assure her that she i s not some kind of monster, that her desire f o r s e l f -expression i s not unnatural. Her father may be affectionate and indulgent, but he s t i l l knows what a woman's place i s . Whenever Maggie acts out, however innocuously, 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 replaced by fe e l i n g s of g u i l t . She has not done something merely "mischieviousj" she has somehow attacked the r i g h t f u l order of the world. I t i s from t h i s perspective that we form our i n i t i a l sense of the novel's c o n f l i c t . Maggie's r e b e l l i o n against Tom i s not simply w i l f u l n e s s but a healthy expression of s e l f . Equally her compulsion to constantly seek his forgiveness i s a sign not of true humility but of neurotic g u i l t . In the very l a s t paragraph of the novel, as Maggie and Tom go to t h e i r deaths, E l i o t describes how the two have f i n a l l y been reunited i n the love f o r each other which be-gan early i n t h e i r childhood. We have been told on many previous occasions i n the novel of t h i s deep b r o t h e r - s i s t e r love, but we never r e a l l y see i t demonstrated, at l e a s t not from Tom. He loves Maggie only when he needs her« In his secret heart he yearned to have Maggie with him, and was almost ready to dote on her exasperating acts of forgetfulness, though, when he was at home, he always represented i t as a great favour on his part to l e t Maggie t r o t by his side on his pleasure excursions. ( M F , 1 6 9 ) 37 And as f o r Maggie i t seems as i f there i s more f e a r i n her lo v e f o r Tom than pure a f f e c t i o n , Maggie saw a c l o u d on h i s brow when he came home which checked her joy a t h i s coming .so much sooner than she had expected, and she dared h a r d l y speak t o him as he stood s i l e n t l y throwing the s m a l l g r a v e l - s t o n e s i n t o the mill-dam. (MF, 70) T h i s i s not to deny the v a l i d i t y or importance of those f i r s t s t r o n g attachments we make, e s p e c i a l l y between b r o t h e r and s i s t e r , which E l i o t always f e l t were so meaningful: That p i c - n i c of the young ones t o St r a t h t y r u m was ve 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 the b r o t h e r and s i s t e r l o v e each o t h e r very d e a r l y : l i f e might 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 the most of, as one of the h i g h e s t forms of f r i e n d s h i p . A good w h i l e ago I made a poem, i n the form of el e v e n son-n e t s a f t e r the Shakspeare type, on the c h i l d h o o d of 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 the mutual 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 always one of my bes t l o v e d s u b j e c t s . 13 However, one cannot h e l p hut q u e s t i o n how much, i n Maggie and Tom's case, we are r e a l l y convinced of t h i s l o v e , and con-s e q u e n t l y how n e c e s s a r y we then f e e l t h a t Maggie's r e c o n -c i l i a t i o n w i t h Tom i s to her s a l v a t i o n . The l a s t scenes of The M i l l seem t o be s a y i n g t h a t the l a t t e r i s u t t e r l y dependent on the former, but I want to show t h a t Maggie's f i n a l r e u n i o n w i t h Tom i s f o r a l l the wrong reasons, g i v e n the s t r o n g i m p r e s s i o n s of her need f o r independence from Tom c r e a t e d by the r e s t of the n o v e l . In go i n g to Tom, Maggie i s suddenly 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 on female behaviour t h a t she has fought so l o n g and hard to r e s i s t . I t i s g u i l t and f e a r , not l o v e , which one f e e l s i s the mo-v i n g f o r c e behind the l a s t a c t i o n s of the n o v e l . 38 (iv ) That i n Tom Maggie has to cope not only with the i n s e n s i t i v i t y of a brother but with 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 cl e a r from the story of t h e i r c h i l d -hood. When Maggie forgets to feed his rabbits, Tom turns on her with t o t a l l y unnecessary venomi Tom stopped immediately i n his walk and turned towards Maggie. "You forgot to feed 'em, then, and Karry forgot?" he said, his colour heightening f o r a moment, but soon subsiding. " 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 love you, Maggie. You shan't go f i s h i n g with me tomorrow. I t o l d you to go and see the rabbits every d a y . " y o u ' r e a naughty g i r l , " said Tom severely, "and I'm sorry I bought you the f i s h - l i n e . I don't love you." "0, Tom, i t ' s very c r u e l , " sobbed Maggie. "I'd forgive you i f YOU forgot a n y t h i n g — I wouldn't mind what you d i d — I ' d forgive you and love you." "Yes, you're s i l l y — b u t I never DO forget . t h i n g s — I don't." (MF, 51) Even over the s i l l y i ncident of the apr i c o t pastry Tom punishes Maggie f o r her v i c t o r y i n a f a i r contest. According to Tom a g i r l ' s only value i s to confirm his own sense of power« Tom condescended to admire her Lucy's houses as well as his own, the more r e a d i l y because she had asked him to teach her. (MF, 106) Maggie must learn to accept her secondary status t Tom, indeed, was of the opinion that Maggie was a s i l l y l i t t l e thing; a l l g i r l s were s i l l y — t h e y couldn't throw a stone so as to h i t anything, couldn't do anything with a pocket-knife, and were frightened at frogs. S t i l l he was very fond of his s i s t e r and meant always to take care of her, make her his housekeeper, and punish her when she did wrong. (MF, 56) Tom's experience, however, i s not a l l e f f o r t l e s s superio-39 r i t y . E l i o t does something v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g w i t h Tom; she puts him i n the "female" p o s i t i o n and l e t s him have some of Maggie's knowledge of the w o r l d . The p r e s s u r e s of s c h o o l l i f e , where Tom i s no l o n g e r master but student (and an i n -f e r i o r one a t that).,. reduce h i s u s u a l s e l f c o n f i d e n c e so much th a t he became more l i k e a g i r l than he had ever been i n h i s l i f e b e f o r e . He had a l a r g e share of p r i d e which had h i t h e r t o found i t s e l f v e ry c o m f o r t a b l e i n the world, d e s p i s i n g Old Goggles and r e p o s i n g i n the sense of unquestioned r i g h t s , out now t h i s same p r i d e met w i t h n o t h i n g but b r u i s e s and c r u s h e s . (MF, 1 6 5 ) The author's g e n t l e mocking tone suggests t h a t t h i s might be a good t h i n g f o r Tom and one can onl y agree t h a t some sense of a woman's g e n e r a l sense of i n f e r i o r i t y might tem-per some of h i s masculine 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 t o l e r a n c e f o r Maggie's need t o express h e r s e l f , h i s p r i d e got i n t o an uneasy c o n d i t i o n which 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 him something of the g i r l ' s s u s c e p t i b i l i t y . . . Tom, as I s a i d , had never been so 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) U n f o r t u n a t e l y , Tom j u s t s u f f e r s : he does not l e a r n t h a t what" i s an un p l e a s a n t episode f o r him i s the s t o r y of Maggie's , l i f e . In f a c t , Tom's "feminine" experience o n l y d r i v e s him to r e - a s s e r t h i s mastery over Maggie, "You h e l p me, you s i l l y l i t t l e thing.'" s a i d Tom i n such h i g h s p i r i t s a t t h i s announcement t h a t he q u i t e enjoyed the i d e a of confounding Maggie by showing her a page of E u c l i d . "I should l i k e to see you doing one of my_ l e s s o n s ! Why, I l e a r n L a t i n too J. G i r l s never l e a r n such t h i n g s . They're too s i l l y . " (MF, 169) Because Tom's domination i s so s e v e r e l y l i m i t i n g t o t h i s 40 e b u l l i e n t l i t t l e g i r l i t i s d i f f i c u l t , as I have suggested above, not to see her r e b e l l i o n as both n e c e s s a r y and h e a l t h y . But whether E l i o t does i s another q u e s t i o n . For . the most p a r t E l i o t seems to be c l e a r l y sympathetic to Mag-g i e , r e c o u n t i n g her v a r i o u s misadventures and f r u s t r a t i o n s w i t h warmth and a f f e c t i o n . Yet a t the same time a muted note of c r i t i c i s m o f t e n creeps 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 e g o i s t i c , Maggie soon thought she had been hours i n the a t t i c and i t must be tea-time, and they were a l l h a v i n g t h e i r t e a and not t h i n k i n g of her. W e l l , then, she would s t a y up there and s t a r v e h e r s e l f — hide h e r s e l f behind the tub, and s t a y t h e r e a l l n i g h t , and then they would a l l be f r i g h t e n e d , and Tom would be s o r r y . Thus Maggie thought i n the p r i d e of her heart...(MF, 53) Maggie f e l t an unexpected pang. She had thought beforehand c h i e f l y o f her own d e l i v e r a n c e from i her t e a s i n g h a i r and t e a s i n g remarks about i t , and something a l s o of the triumph she should have over her mother and aunts by 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 her h a i r t o l o o k p r e t t y — t h a t was out of the q u e s t i o n — s h e o n l y wanted people to t h i n k her 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 of h e l p i n g him i n E u c l i d . She began to read w i t h f u l l c o n f i d e n c e i n her own powers, but p r e s e n t l y , , becoming q u i t e b ewildered, her f a c e f l u s h e d w i t h i r r i t a t i o n . 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 her incompetency, and she was n o t fond of humi-l i a t i o n . (MF, 172) C e r t a i n l y on a t h e o r e t i c a l l e v e l one must admit t h a t E l i o t has a p o i n t . Though Maggie never d i s p l a y s the c r u e l t y t h a t marks Tom's response to the same problem of " f e m i n i n e " f r u s t r a t i o n , too o f t e n Maggie's search f o r "something more" i s not r e a l or honest. She a c t s i n resentment or f r u s t r a t i o n , 41 not only gaining nothing f o r h e r s e l f but sometimes hurting others i n the bargain. One can and does sympathize e n t i r e l y with her resentment of Lucy who "always did v/hat she was desired to do" (MF, 1 1 3 ) with "not a h a i r out o*place" (MF, 2 6 ) and who was held up to Maggie as a model of u l t r a -femininity; but pushing Lucy i n t o the mud has only negative r e s u l t s f o r both of them. Equally, though Maggie experiences "a sense of clearness 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 hair, that f e e l i n g of power i s s h o r t - l i v e d i n the face of the "chorus of reproach and d e r i s i o n " (MF, 8 7 ) from her mother and aunts. And f i n a l l y , hammering n a i l s i n t o her d o l l f e t i s h i s l i k e childhood temper tantrums, hardly a po s i t i v e way of declaring one's i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y . Accusations of wilfulness and pride are then true enough. But to put i t bluntly, considering what else we know about Maggie, do we r e a l l y care? In Dorothea's case (as the next chapter w i l l point out) the s i t u a t i o n i s a l i t t l e different'. Although we are close to her, we are also involved with the other characters i n her l i f e (we sympathize with Casaubon i n a way that i s never possible with Tom) and so c l e a r l y under-stand how dangerous her egoism can be. But with The M i l l on the Floss, even though E l i o t said that "Tom i s painted with 14 as much love and p i t y as Maggie," i t i s Maggie's novel. And what we come to value most about Maggie i s her involvement i n a kind of archetypal b a t t l e against the s t r i c t u r e s and repression of 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 pressures put on her to conform to a c e r t a i n image simply because that i s what a woman i s supposed to be or do, we are e n t i r e l y i n sympathy with her. Thus i f her actions are sometimes e g o i s t i c or s e l f i s h , the reader's impulse i s not to c r i t i c i z e but to understand. The conditions that shape her l i f e as a young g i r l lead her often to lash out b l i n d l y rather than to act c o n s t r u c t i v e l y . The continual r e j e c t i o n from her aunts, her mother and e s p e c i a l l y Tom robs her of self-confidence and often leads to i r r a t i o n a l over-s e n s i t i v i t y . She i s also h e l p l e s s l y ignorant. Her family does not f e e l i t i s necessary to educate a mere g i r l s "And a l l a y s at her book: But i t ' s bad," Mr. T u l l i v e r added, sadly, checking t h i s blameable exultation, "a woman's no business wi• being so c l e v e r j i t ' l l turn to trouble, I doubt. (MF, 3 1 ) And Maggie's own unguided attempts to educate h e r s e l f only increase 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 small mind you would have found the most unexpected ignorance as, w e l l as unexpected knowledge...her thoughts generally were the oddest mixture of clear-eyed acumen and b l i n d dreams. (MF, 1 3 5 ) The education provided f o r boys was hardly enlightening but Maggie does not have any i n t e l l e c t u a l stimulation which might help her get some perspective on what her p o s i t i o n as a f e -male means. Even i f we know that her r e b e l l i o n i s doomed (considering her ignorance and the impenetrable bri c k wall of p a t r i a r c h a l values with which she c o n t i n u a l l y c o l l i d e s ) we are s t i l l more concerned with the struggle i t s e l f than the egoism or selfishness that i t may cause. 43 (v) To say that we are not bothered by Maggie's egoism, and thus that the l a s t chapter resolves the wrong problem, i s obviously to make a very sweeping statement about a l l those incidents i n The M i l l on the Floss which I have not yet considered. I t may be true that i n the story of Maggie's childhood we see the novel i n terms of a c o n f l i c t between the powerful forces of patriarchy and the r i g h t s of a woman to the development of her f u l l p o t e n t i a l , but i t i s s t i l l necessary to show that we continue to be led to i n t e r p r e t and judge Maggie's action i n t h i s way as she becomes older and faces dilemmas more serious than whether or not she wants her h a i r curled. What i s the meaning of the choices that she must make i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p s with P h i l i p Wakem, Lucy Deane and Stephen Guest? Are there complicating factors introduced i n the second h a l f which might lead us to a d i f -ferent 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 with Tom and so j u s t i f y and make more probable the ending of the novel? Mr. T u l l i v e r ' s f a i l u r e at law marks the end of both Maggie and Tom's childhood. The family roles have suddenly been reversed. The parents are now helpless c h i l d r e n and Tom and Maggie must take on the adult r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of the household. For Maggie there i s one added f a c t o r . When they were children her father was something of a buffer be-tween her and Tom. I f her brother despised her i n t e l l i g e n c e or had no understanding of the f r u s t r a t i o n s that resulted 44 from many of her misadventures, she could s t i l l f i n d a f f e c t i o n and se c u r i t y with her father. But with him rendered p r a c t i -c a l l y i n f a n t i l e by a serious stroke, she i s l e f t alone with Tom. I t i s a c r u c i a l point i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . He can eithe r accept her as an equal, i n which case they might work together to restore both the family name and fortune, or he can again i n s i s t on his masculine s u p e r i o r i t y and thus bring i n t o t h e i r adult l i v e s the same c o n f l i c t that marked t h e i r childhood. The choice Tom makes i s c l e a r from his reaction to Maggie's behaviour at the f i r s t family/ council held a f t e r Mr. T u l l i v e r ' s bankruptcy. He w i l l make a l l the decision; he alone w i l l bear the burden of the family's misfortunes. Maggie i s to 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 with her mother and earning what she can through p l a i n sewing. I t i s the old male/female story again, and E l i o t shows her understanding of and sympathy with Maggie's p o s i t i o n of f r u s t r a t i n g inac-t i v i t y ; So i t has been since.the days of Hecuba and of Hector, Tamer of horses; inside the gates, the women with streaming h a i r and u p l i f t e d hands of:-., f e r i n g prayers, watching the world's combat from afar, f i l l i n g t h e i r long empty days with memories and fears; outside, the men, i n f i e r c e struggle with things divine and human, quenching memory i n the stronger l i g h t of purpose, l o s i n g the sense of dread and even of wounds i n the hurry-ing ardour of ac t i o n . (MF, 3^2) Maggie's natural energy, her desire to do something has as i t s only out l e t rage at her aunts and uncles—which of course Tom sees only as another example of his s i s t e r ' s 45 wil f u l n e s s and desire to undermine his absolute authority. Even her facetious suggestion that, i f she could, she might teach Tom bookkeeping i s sneered at, "You teachJ Yes, I daresay. That's always the tone you take," said Tom'' (MF, 2 6 3 ) . Tom's admittedly d i f f i c u l t s i t u a t i o n as the new "head of the family" leads him only to reassert his c h i l d -hood mastery over Maggie. I t i s the schoolroom s i t u a t i o n a l l over again. Tom f e e l s helpless and insecure. Instead of turning to Maggie f o r help or even emotional support he reaffirms h i s sense of s e l f by t r a n s f e r r i n g his own f e e l i n g s of inadequacy to hers Poor Tom! He had just come from being lectured and made to f e e l his i n f e r i o r i t y : the reaction of hi s strong, s e l f - a s s e r t i n g nature must take place somehow, and here was a case i n which he could j u s t l y show himself dominant. Maggie's cheek flushed and her l i p quivered with 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 turning to r e l i g i o u s renunciation s h o r t l y a f t e r t h i s i n c ident i s not very s u r p r i s i n g given her history. On the one hand i t i s a way f o r her to appease Tom by pu-nishing h e r s e l f but i t can also be seen as another expression of her independence. A l l outward action has been completely f r u s t r a t e d by her own ignroance or rejected by others as improper to her womanly place. In r e l i g i o u s fervour Maggie, l i k e many other fr u s t r a t e d young women (and l i k e Dorothea i n Middlemarch) finds some i d e n t i t y f o r h e r s e l f . Giving up everything at l e a s t makes her somebody, marks her as a s p e c i a l person. However, i t i s t h i s very s e l f - i n t e r e s t which E l i o t finds d i s t r e s s i n g : 46 She threw some ex 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 im p e t u o u s i t y even i n t o her s e l f -r e n u n c i a t i o n : her own l i f e was s t i l l a drama f o r her i n which she demanded of h e r s e l f t h a t her p a r t should be played w i t h i n t e n s i t y . And so i t came to pass t h a t she o f t e n l o s t the 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 the outward a c t . (MF, 325) But I would suggest t h a t what E l i o t c a l l s a f a u l t — t h e i n t e n s i t y which she c r i t i c i z e s — i s i n t r u t h the f a c t o r which makes Maggie's r e l i g i o u s phase b e a r a b l e to the r e a d e r . T h i s l a s t statement most c e r t a i n l y r e q u i r e s f u r t h e r e x p l a n a t i o n and I t h i n k Bernard J . P a r i s ' r e c e n t a r t i c l e , "The Inner 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 " may prove u s e f u l . Here P a r i s e x p l a i n s how, i n h i s book Experiments i n L i f e he had t r i e d t o show t h a t the end of the . n o v e l was a p p r o p r i a t e because " i n terms of the n o v e l ' s own a n a l y s i s of motives" i t d i d adequately answer the q u e s t i o n s which Maggie's experience r a i s e d . But he has s i n c e reviewed t h a t p o s i t i o n and found i t inadequate. He now f e e l s t h a t t h e r e i s a d i s t i n c t i o n t o be made between how we are supposed to i n t e r p r e t Maggie's a c t i o n and how we a c t u a l l y do understand her p a t t e r n o f beh a v i o u r : George E l i o t ' s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of 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 say t h a t , i n one sense, the author has. understood, the c h a r a c t e r p e r f e c t l y . G e o r g e . E l i o t * s i n t u i t i v e grasp and mimetic p r e s e n t a t i o n o f Maggie's psychology are f l a w l e s s ; her a t t i t u d e s , v a l u e s and an a l y s e s are c o n s i d e r a b l y l e s s trustworthy. 1 5 There i s o f t e n a d i s p a r i t y between the n o v e l ' s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of Maggie and the n o v e l ' s i n t e r p r e -t a i o n of Maggie. In the p a s t I have been so busy 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 thematic s t r u c t u r e t h a t I have f a i l e d to see how much of Maggie escapes such a n a l y s i s , how l i t t l e she can be understood as a c h a r a c t e r i n t h i s way. In order to understand the 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 (rather than the one she thinks she has presented) i t i s necessary to employ not thematic, but psychological analysis. 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 alks about her i n terms of "unnatural" female aggressiveness) but his point about the character that George E l i o t "thinks" she i s presenting, i n contrast to the one she does, i s v i t a l l y important. The f i r s t place where the contradiction he describes becomes a problem i s i n t h i s period of Maggie's "renunciation." U n t i l now the novel seems to be c l e a r l y a c o n f l i c t between Maggie's courageous desire f o r self-determination and the r e f u s a l of a p a t r i a r c h a l society (represented by Tom) to allow that freedom to a female. But when E l i o t c r i t i c i z e s the s e l -fishness of her renunciation (which of course implies that she would approve of s e l f l e s s renunciation) she seems to be i n -voking an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t set of values. Suddenly i t seems Maggie i s the "sinner," that i t i s her^own egoism, and not v at a l l Tom's cruelty, which i s the cause of her misery. I t flashed through her l i k e the suddenly apprehended sol u t i o n of a problem that a l l the miseries of her young l i f e had come from f i x i n g her heart on her own pleasure, as i f that were the c e n t r a l necessity of her universe, 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 of s h i f t i n g the p o s i t i o n from which she looked at the g r a t i f i c a t i o n of her own d e s i r e s — of taking her stand out of he r s e l f and looking at her own l i f e as an i n s i g n i f i c a n t part of a d i v i n e l y guided whole. (MF, 323) Statements such as the above, of which there are several i n th i s part of the novel, are very c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n s of 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 thinks 48 her salva.tion l i e s . But I would suggest that we read these passages very d i f f e r e n t l y . Given the sense of the novel we have had up to t h i s point, Maggie's desire to renounce a l l wordly pleasure sounds l i k e an expression of neurotic g u i l t at having defied the authority of Tom. I f one were reading backwards from the end of the novel her self-condemnation would make at l e a s t some thematic sense. But as her story has been rel a t e d so f a r , one cannot help thinking that were she to achieve that ultimate state of s e l f l e s s n e s s , where she perceived her own l i f e as "an i n s i g n i f i c a n t part of a d i v i n e l y guided whole," i t would not he a gaining of inner harmony but rather a c a p i t u l a t i o n to the passive feminine ro l e that Tom i n s i s t s she play. That i s why I say we perceive the s e l f i s h element of her r e l i g i o u s fervour as something p o s i t i v e . I t means that her desire 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 yet dead. I t i s the f i r s t of those s i t u a t i o n s i n her adult l i f e where we f e e l Maggie's egoism i s more .;• praiseworthy than blameable. I t 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 conversion that we w i l l return i n order to understand E l i o t ' s choice of the novel's conclusion. The point here i s that t h i s i s the only episode u n t i l the l a s t book of The M i l l that does present any serious problems of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . We are now approaching the s i t u a t i o n s with P h i l i p , Lucy and Stephen, and l i k e that of the e a r l i e r events of her childhood, the meaning of these i s very c l e a r . We are back to a well-defined c o n f l i c t between Maggie and Tom, 49 back to a struggle between the most elementary issues of feminism and the practices 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 very long because P h i l i p Wakem's re-entrance i n the novel at the height of her r e l i g i o u s renunciation provides another, more appealing ou t l e t f o r the desire f o r self-determination which i s s t i l l a l i v e i n Maggie. Thus we can view her decision to meet se-c r e t l y with P h i l i p i n the Red Deeps not as simple wi l f u l n e s s but as an attempt, though again a f u t i l e one, to e s t a b l i s h somehow an i d e n t i t y f o r h e r s e l f outside the female stereo-types of s a i n t or domestic drudge. On the one hand, P h i l i p has a great deal to o f f e r her. Though from the novel's des-c r i p t i o n of p r o v i n c i a l education we may suspect that h i s learning i s neither broad nor deep, he can s t i l l give 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 the world from which her mind had not yet l o s t i t s sense of e x i l e " (MF, 3 6 0 ) . And what i s more, from Maggie's point of view P h i l i p can give her the brotherly love which Tom refuses, "What happiness have I ever had so great as being with y o u — since I was a l i t t l e g i r l — t h e days Tom was good to me" (MF, 3 7 2 ) . At l e a s t temporarily Maggie can bring her two worlds together. However, i t i s c l e a r that the escape to the Red Deeps i s not a r e a l one; even f o r g e t t i n g f o r a moment the c o n f l i c t with her family that i t must necessitate, t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p 50 with P h i l i p o f f ers her very l i t t l e true freedom and w i l l only, l i k e her other 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 her even more. Her attitude to P h i l i p i s as romantic as her f a n c i f u l dream that "she would go to some great man—Walter Scott, perhaps—and t e l l him how wretched and how clever she was, and he would surely do something fo r her" (MF, 3 2 0 ) , She immediately places 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 of mentorJ "And you would teach me everything—wouldn't you? Greek and everything?" (MF, 2 1 2 ) . "Your mind i s a sort of -world to me« you can t e l l me a l l I want to know" (MF, 3 7 2 — a foretaste here of Dorothea, Esther Lyon, Gwendolen). And P h i l i p ' s response f a l l s i n t o the same pattern. For him, t h e i r meetings mean f a r more than simple, good companionship. While Maggie earnestly t a l k s of aesthetics, r e l i g i o n , novels and painting, P h i l i p searches her face f o r signs of love. In her emotional and i n t e l l e c t u a l deprivation he sees an advantage fo r himself. ...he clutched passionately the p o s s i b i l i t y that she might love him: perhaps the f e e l i n g would grow i f she could come to associate him with that watch-f u l tenderness which her nature would he so keenly a l i v e to. I f any woman could love him, surely Maggie was that woman: there was such a wealth of love i n her, and there was no one to claim i t a l l . Then—the p i t y of i t , that a mind l i k e hers should be withering i n i t s very youth, l i k e a young for e s t tree, f o r want of the l i g h t and space i t was formed to f l o u r i s h i n ! (MF, 241) In an odd sense, Maggie and P h i l i p are too s i m i l a r f o r eit h e r of them to be of much r e a l help to the other. They are both caught up i n the "feminine" predicament of r e j e c t i o n : 51 "I'm f i t to speak to something better than you--you poor s p r i t i e d imp!" said Tom, l i g h t i n g up im-mediately at P h i l i p ' s f i r e . "You know I won't h i t you because you're no better than a g i r l . But I'm an honest man's son and your father's a r o g u e — everybody says so! (MF, 201) Consequently, l i k e Maggie, P h i l i p suffers from a "womanish" o v e r - s e n s i t i v i t y . The s l i g h t spurt of peevish 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 interview was a symptom of a perpetually r e c u r r i n g mental a i l m e n t — h a l f of i t nervous i r r i t a b i l i t y , h a l f of i t the heart-bitterness produced by the sense of his deformity. In these f i t s of s u s c e p t i b i l i t y every glance seemed to him to be charged e i t h e r with of-fensive p i t y or with i l l - r e p r e s s e d d i s g u s t — a t the very l e a s t i t was an i n d i f f e r e n t glance, 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 of the south f e e l s the c h i l l a i r of a northern spring. (MF, 194) Far from providing an escape f o r her, P h i l i p increases Maggie's i s o l a t i o n . He i s not leading her toward anything. He merely wants to make her an a l i e n , l i k e himself. Maggie's s i t u a t i o n at t h i s point i s of course compli-cated by a more e a s i l y recognizable moral dilemma. In meeting P h i l i p , the son of the man on whom her father has sworn r e -venge, she w i l l bring very r e a l d i s t r e s s to her f a m i l y — "cause new misery to those who had the primary n a t u r a l claim on her" (MF, 365). The a t t r a c t i o n of her father's love and her domestic t i e s are very strong and understandable. I f the choice were simply between her father's a f f e c t i o n and her re l a t i o n s h i p with P h i l i p we might c l e a r l y say that Maggie made the wrong choice, f o r as I have shown, her afternoons i n the Red Deeps w i l l not bring her close to the kind of freedom she seeks—no c l o s e r than, f o r instance, did her childhood 5 2 adventure with the gypsies. Yet i n the shadows of her a f f e c -t i o n f o r her father (and as we s h a l l see l a t e r i n her t i e s to Lucy and P h i l i p ) 'lurks* the presence of Tom, who has "his t e r r r i b l e c l u t c h on her conscience and her deepest dread" (MF, 380)• Choosing Tom over P h i l i p may mean the recognition from him that she has always wanted, but i t also means com-plete submission to his masculine authority and resignation^ to the feminine r o l e that Tom finds acceptable. As Tom puts i t i n a l a t e r interview when Maggie asks permission to see P h i l i p at Lucy Deane's, I wished my s i s t e r to be a lady, and I would always have taken care of you, as my father desired, u n t i l you were well married...you might have sense enough to see that a brother who goes out i n t o the world and mixes with men n e c e s s a r i l y knows better what i s r i g h t and respectable f o r his s i s t e r than she can know h e r s e l f . (MF, 429) Thus, under the circumstances, Maggie's decision to con-tinue her meetings with P h i l i p constitutes the h e a l t h i e r choice. Her options are acceptance of the feminine stereo-type or the continuation of her search f o r some kind of iden-t i t y beyond that r e s t r i c t i v e pattern of behaviour; 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 of her actions? "We'll, " said Tom, with cold scorn, " I f your fee-l i n g s are so much better than mine, l e t me see you show them i n some other way than by conduct that's l i k e l y to disgrace us a l l — t h a n by r i d i -culous f l i g h t s i n t o one extreme and then i n t o another. Pray, how have you shown your love that you t a l k of, eithe r to me or my father? 3y di s o -beying and deceiving 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 inthe world." "Then, i f you can do nothing, submit to those that can." (MF, 383) 5 3 M a g g i e u l t i m a t e l y w i l l " s u b m i t t o t h o s e t h a t c a n " b u t a t t h i s p o i n t h e r n e e d 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 t h a t r e s p e c t s t h e r i g h t s o f o t h e r s , b u t i n s i s t s u p o n o n e ' s 17 own r i g h t s a s w e l l " ' a s B e r n a r d P a r i s p u t s i t , i s v e r y much a l i v e . F o r t h e f i r s t t i m e , a n d a l s o t h e l a s t , s h e r e a l l y s e p a r a t e s h e r s e l f f r o m Tom's v a l u e s y s t e m s 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 e v e n t o w h a t 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 ) ( v i i ) M a g g i e ' s d e t e r m i n a t i o n , a f t e r h e r f a t h e r ' s d e a t h t o be • i n d e p e n d e n t o f Tom o f c o u r s e h a s n o c h a n c e o f s u c c e s s . She c a n n o t make h e r f o r t u n e i n t h e b u s i n e s s w o r l d a s Tom h a s ; n o r c a n s h e l a n g u i s h i n E u r o p e l i k e P h i l i p . The o n l y o p t i o n o p e n t o a y o u n g woman i s g o v e r n e s s i n g . B u t t h e d r e a r y w o r l d o f t e a c h i n g a n d p o v e r t y o n l y f u r t h e r d u l l s h e r s e n s i b i l i t i e s . When s h e a r r i v e s a t L u c y D e a n e ' s f o r a s h o r t . h o l i d a y M a g g i e ' s " h i g h l y - s t r u n g , h u n g r y n a t u r e — j u s t come away f r o m a t h i r d -r a t e s c h o o l r o o m , w i t h a l l i t s j a r r i n g s o u n d s a n d p e t t y r o u n d o f t a s k s " (MF, 4 2 0 — a r e s p o n s e w h i c h E l i o t d o e s n o t c r i t i c i z e ) i s b o u n d t o r e s p o n d t o t h e f i r s t s e e m i n g e s c a p e t h a t p r e s e n t s i t s e l f . E s c a p e i n t h i s i n s t a n c e i s S t e p h e n G u e s t . T h o u g h we c a n a g r e e w i t h c r i t i c s who c l a i m t h a t he i s n o t w o r t h y o f M a g g i e , t o s o l i m i t t h e j u d g m e n t o f S t e p h e n ' s r o l e i s t o f a i l t o u n d e r s t a n d M a g g i e ' s h i s t o r y up t o t h i s p o i n t . H e r ' 5 k d e s i r e f o r s e l f - a s s e r t i o n i s s t i l l v e r y r e a l but i t has had few o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r development. Nor has Maggie been a b l e to a c q u i r e any of t h a t "prudence and self-command" (MP, 3 0 7 ) which might temper her p a s s i o n s and enthusiasms i n t o r a t i o n a l judgment. What we may see as p u r e l y s e x u a l a t t r a c t i o n to Stephen seems to Maggie a way out of a l l her d i f f i c u l t i e s . Stephen's l o v e seems to g i v e h e r a sense of s e l f t h a t she has never e x p e r i e n c e d b e f o r e . There were admiring eyes always a w a i t i n g her now; she was no l o n g e r an unheeded person, l i a b l e t o be c h i d , from whom a t t e n t i o n was c o n t i n u a l l y claimed and on whom no one f e l t bound t o c o n f e r any. (MF, 43 U n l i k e her f e e l i n g f o r P h i l i p , her a t t r a c t i o n to Stephen i s not mixed up w i t h p i t y or s e l f - i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . But u n f o r -t u n a t e l y , Maggie confuses masculine a d o r a t i o n f o r t r u e r e s -p e c t . Stephen has no p a r t i c u l a r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of Maggie beyond the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t she i s a r a t h e r unusual young wo-man. That i n c r e a s e s h i s d e s i r e , n ot t o h e l p Maggie or t o sympathize w i t h her, but to put i t b l u n t l y , to master her: To see such a c r e a t u r e subdued by l o v e f o r one would be a l o t worth"having. (MP, 448) Again, as w i t h her s e c r e t r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h P h i l i p , t h i s r a t h e r second-rate o p t i o n f o r freedom i s balanced by v e r y s i n c e r e t i e s t o Lucy and P h i l i p from whom, l i k e her f a t h e r , she w i l l be a l i e n a t e d by choosing to f o l l o w her own immediate d e s i r e s . And, as noted e a r l i e r , i f the c h o i c e were t h i s s i m p l the r i g h t a c t i o n would be c l e a r . But once more i t i s Tom who i s the c o m p l i c a t i n g factor-. Though o f f - s t a g e d u r i n g most o f t h i s a c t i o n , he i s c e r t a i n l y h o v e r i n g i n the wings. When 55 Maggie v i s i t s him at Bob Jakin's her simultaneous fear of Tom and need for h i s approval are reinforced. Maggie had hardly f i n i s h e d speaking i n that c h i l l , defiant manner before she repented and f e l t the dread of a l i e n a t i o n from her brother. (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 to him. To be accepted by Tom means t o t a l submission—renunciation of any r i g h t to self-determination outside of the female stereo-t y p e — " I wished my s i s t e r to be a lady." I f we understand her choice 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 recognition, running away with Stephen contains at l e a s t a germ of healthy s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . In f a c t , eloping with Stephen i s the most defiant step Maggie has ever taken. This i s no adventure to Dunlow Common to take refuge with the gypsies, no short walk to the Red Deeps to snatch a few hours with P h i l i p . F l o a t i n g down the Floss with Stephen marks the severance of the t i e s which bind her to a l l she knows—to Lucy, P h i l i p , her mother, the memory of her father and her home. But most of a l l i t i s separation from Tom, not by mere defiant words t h i s time, but through concrete action. And she cannot do i t . 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 strongly, i t i s her fear of Tom, her dread of defying the s o c i a l conventions he represents, that f i n a l l y s e t t l e s the matter f o r her. Maggie's breaking point (and E l i o t ' s too, i n terms of the consistency of her main character) comes with the nightmare that awakes her a f t e r the f i r s t night on the boat. The dream i s a perfect representation of Maggie's c o n f l i c t as i t has 56 been described above. I t i s not Lucy and P h i l i p who are the main figures i n the dream, but Tom "who rowed past without looking at her" (MF, 516); and with him, accepted by him, i s Lucy i n the epitome of the female r o l e — t h e V i r g i n . However believable her arguments with Stephen may be a f t e r this point, we f e e l that i t i s the image of Tom's anger and the desire f o r his forgiveness which draws her back to St. Ogg's. The tension has f i n a l l y been broken; Maggie has been defeated and a l l that i s l e f t i s to convince Tom that he has won. ( v i i i ) In keeping with the pattern of her dream, Maggie f i r s t goes on her return from the t r i p with Stephen not to Lucy or P h i l i p but to Tom, and she goes with the hope that he w i l l punish her; She almost desired to endure the severity of Tom's reproof, to submit i n patient silence to that harsh disapproving judgment against which she had so often rebelled; i t seemed no more than just to her now—who was v/eaker than she was? She craved that outward help to her better purpose which would come from complete, submissive confession—from being i n the presence of one whose looks 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 conscience" the neurotic g u i l t which has been b u i l t up i n her by her f a i l u r e or r e f u s a l to conform to Tom's image of what she should be, the ending of the novel might possibly work. The M i l l on the Floss could then be read as a story that talks not of the "wrong-57 ness" but of 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 renunciation would be i n perfect keeping with each other. Furthermore, from Maggie's experience we would discover something about the supposedly inherent f e -male q u a l i t i e s of submission and p a s s i v i t y — t h a t they are not at a l l inherent, but a posture often acquired out of fear of male ostracism. Although with a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t emphasis,.Bernard Paris suggests that the l a s t chapters can be read i n such a way to make them work with the r e s t of the novel. For him the main pattern of the novel i s Maggie's neurotic search f o r recognition. The recrimination that Maggie heaps upon h e r s e l f during the period of "waiting" at St. Ogg's i s c l e a r l y masochistic and her rescue of Tom i s a f i n a l attempt to j u s t i f y h e r s e l f i n h i s eyes, and f i n d glory through s u f f e r i n g . But I think to i n t e r p r e t the l a s t book t h i s way, or i n the manner I suggest i n the preceding paragraph means we have to read so much between the l i n e s we might as well be dealing with another novel. In the incident of Maggie's renunciation there was some abiguity, but there can be no question of E l i o t ' s intentions i n the l a s t chapters. She c l e a r l y means us to think Maggie has done the " r i g h t " thing. This i s a happy ending and there i s no d i s t i n c t i o n disco-verable between the author's and the character's f e e l i n g s . By returning to St. Ogg's, by w i l l i n g l y submitting to, and i n fact embracing, misery and s o c i a l ostracism, Maggie has 58 f i n a l l y conquered that wilfulness which marred her previous period of "renunciation." She has discovered that i t was her own destructive egoism which brought her int o c o n f l i c t with Tom. Now, purged of that selfishness, she can return to him ready to accept j o y f u l l y the duties of "sisterhood." The fortunate a r r i v a l of the flood gives her that opportuni-ty* Along with the sense of danger and possible r e s -cue f o r those long-remembered beings at the old home, there was an undefined sense of r e c o n c i l e -ment with her brother; what quarrel, what harsh-ness, what unbelief i n each other can subsist i n the presence of a great calamity, when a l l the ar-t i f i c i a l vesture of our l i f e i s gone, and we are a l l one with each other i n primitive mortal needs? (MF, 566) And the example of the s i s t e r who chose to lose her l i f e i n t r y i n g to save that of her brother's w i l l l i v e on l i k e the legend of the V i r g i n of the Floss who "sat i n the prow, shedding a l i g h t around as of the moon i n i t s brightness so that the rowers i n the gathering darkness took heart and pulled anew" (MF, 141). The problem of course i s that E l i o t has told the story of Maggie T u l l i v e r i n such a way that the l a s t chapters can only make us think that the novel has completely l o s t i t s d i r e c t i o n . Her return to St. Ogg's and her ultimate s a c r i -f i c e f o r Tom do not appear to be an example of abandonment of s e l f but of defeat of s e l f . E l i o t may have meant to tal k about Maggie i n terms of her personhood but what she did was to t a l k about her i n terms of her "womanhood." Maggie's choice i s supposed to be between s e l f i s h rebelliousness and 59 recognition of her t i e s and consequent duties to her family and community. But i n every instance we discover i t to be between healthy self-determination and submission to the most extreme of feminine r o l e s . The variable, as I have t r i e d to show, i s Tom. Maggie's r e l a t i o n s h i p to him i s c l e a r l y conditioned by more than simple family bonds. He represents not only the t i e s of a f f e c t i o n but society's r e f u s a l to allow women the r i g h t of s e l f - d i s c o v e r y . And Maggie i s drawn towards him not merely out of s i s t e r l y love, but also out of her fear of defying that male-oriented sys-tem of values. I t i s completely understandable that she should be drawn towards the s o c i a l l y approved role he offers? that she capit u l a t e s so completely, with the f u l l approval of her creator, i s not. George E l i o t suddenly p u l l s an about-face. She presents a struggle which she refuses (or i s a f r a i d ) to see to i t s end. I am not suggesting that Maggie should have run away with Stephen nor that she should have made any u n r e a l i s t i c speeches about feminine r i g h t s . But the urge f o r s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n was too strong i n Maggie, and too much of a theme i n the novel, to be dealt with at the end i n terms of egoism versus altruism. To the questions raised by Maggie's struggle against patriarchy, E l i o t ans-wers that she has found happiness and peace i n submission to Tom. This makes the l a s t book of the novel a mockery of i t s beginning. George E l i o t f a l l s back in t o her " a l l s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s good" theory but forgets the q u a l i f i c a t i o n she h e r s e l f put on 60 that statement made i n commenting on Rochester's l o y a l t y to his mad wife-r-"but one would l i k e i t to be i n a somewhat nobler cause than that of a d i a b o l i c a l law which chains a 1 8 man soul and body to a putrefying carcass." Though .Mag-gie's r e l a t i o n s h i p to P h i l i p and Lucy cannot be ignored, i s that a cause noble enough to j u s t i f y such complete submission to Tom's d i a b o l i c a l law, that "anything i s more endurable than to change our established formulae about women...to admit them to be s t r i c t l y fellow-beings to be treated, one 19 and a l l , with j u s t i c e and sober reverence?" 7 (ix) There are many possible reasons f o r E l i o t ' s complete loss of her g r i p on~the novel i n "The F i n a l Rescue." I have already discussed at length her almost b l i n d adhe-rence to the Feuerbachian i d e a l s of renunciation and r e s i g -nation. But there i s also her own contradictory f e e l i n g s about the p o s i t i o n of women as outlined i n the introduction to t h i s t h e s i s . E l i o t may understand how a woman's l i f e i s l i m i t e d by the rule of male supremacy. But she does not at the same time r e a l i z e that the image of woman as s e l f -s a c r i f i c i n g martyr with which she leaves us i s just another, more subtle, aspect of patriarchy. Thus f o r her there i s no seeming contradiction between Maggie's s i t u a t i o n as a female revealed i n her childhood and her f i n a l submission to Tom. 61 E l i o t ' s a t t i t u d e s t o t h e f a m i l y a r e a l s o w o r t h c o n s i -d e r i n g . To h e r , a n y t h r e a t t o t h e s t a b i l i t y o f f a m i l y l i f e was d e p l o r a b l e . When t h e s t o r y o f 3yron's a f f a i r w i t h h i s h a l f - s i s t e r was made p u b l i c s h e p l e a d e d t h a t news o f s u c h i n c i d e n t s , e v e n i f t r u e , be s u p p r e s s e d , A s 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 y o u n g m i n d s 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 u g l y m a r k s . 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 be l o s t w h i c h i t h a s b e e n t h e . w o r k o f a g e s t o p r o d u c e , i n t h e r e f i n e m e n t a n d d i f f e r e n c i n g o f t h e a f f e c t i o n a t e r e l a t i o n s . 2 0 A g a i n a n d a g a i n t h r o u g h o u t The K i l l s h e t a l k s a b o u t t h e i m -p o r t a n c e o f t h o s e b o n d s o f m u t u a l d u t y a n d l o v e f o r m e d b e -t w e e n f a t h e r a n d s o n , m o t h e r a n d d a u g h t e r , b r o t h e r a n d s i s -t e r . 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 w h a t s he h e r s e l f makes s o c l e a r , t h a t i t i s o f t e n t h e f a m i l y u n i t w h i c h i s t h e 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 . A s L a w y e r Wakem s a y s , "We do n o t a s k w h a t a woman d o e s , we a s k who s h e b e l o n g s t o " (MF, 4 6 6 ) . M a g g i e ' s m o t h e r was a D o d -s o n . Now s h e i s a T u l l i v e r , a n d m u s t s u b m i t t o h e r h u s b a n d ' s w i s h e s . M a g g i e i s a s i s t e r a n d a d a u g h t e r a n d s h e m u s t be n o t h i n g e l s e . The i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e f a m i l y t o E l i o t l i e s i n i t s r o l e a s a n i n s t i t u t i o n i n w h i c h p e o p l e c a n l e a r n much a b o u t t h e i r d u t i e s a n d r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s t o o t h e r s . B u t s h e d o e s n o t s e e t h a t f r o m f a m i l y 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 t h e p o -s i t i v e b u t a l s o t h e n e g a t i v e l e s s o n s o f t h e l a r g e r w o r l d . 62 Here men can more e a s i l y assert t h e i r mastery and women have no choice but to accept t h e i r r o l e of submission. To bring i n biographical information to support a c r i -t i c a l argument i s always questionable, but there i s such an obvious p a r a l l e l between Maggie's and Marian Evans' experi-ence that I think some reference to the author's personal l i f e might be h e l p f u l i n explaining the weakness of the l a s t chapters of The M i l l on the Floss. In the young l i v e s of both the f i c t i o n a l and the r e a l g i r l one finds an o v e r a l l s i m i l a r i t y . Both have a strong emotional attachment to an affectionate father, both go through a period of r e l i g i o u s renunciation and, most important, both come int o c o n f l i c t with a strong-willed brother. On one occasion Marian r e -ports to Mrs. and Mrs. Bray how Isaac flew i n t o a v i o l e n t passion over her decision to leave home, and stated that 2 i she should never "apply to him f o r anything whatever." As young women, both Maggie and Marian become involved with men whose si t u a t i o n s were complicated by the presence of a-nother woman. Both Maggie and Marian r i s k s o c i a l ostracism to be with the men they loved. The s i m i l a r i t y extends to the manner of t h e i r departure with t h e i r l o v e r s : Marian and George boarding 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 essel heading down the Floss towards Mudport. And both couples spend the whole, night on deck. This i s , however, where the s i m i l a r i t y ends. Marian stayed with George; Maggie returned to face the consequences of her action. 63 Although Marian Evans may have stood her ground she was often t e r r i b l y depressed, as I pointed out i n the i n -troduction, by the common-law nature of her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Lewes, and she f e l t strongly the public condemnation of her action. She knew that she had followed her own s t r i c t moral code, since no one else had been adversely affected by her union with Lewes, but her g u i l t was s t i l l tremendous. In The M i l l on the Floss she t e l l s very much the story of Marian Evans' l i f e with the s i g n i f i c a n t exception of her 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 complicated i n that Maggie's elopement with Stephen i s o f ' d i -r e c t consequence to Lucy and P h i l i p (though, as Joan Bennett points out, "she cannot go back and save Lucy and P h i l i p 2 2 from the misery of knowing that they are not loved" ). But I think the consequence we see the novel most d i r e c t l y con-cerned with i s the s o c i a l one, represented by Tom's anger. And by having Maggie return to Tom we can perhaps say that George E l i o t v i c a r i o u s l y absolves Marian Evans of the g u i l t that she f e e l s over her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Lewes. Tom i s very much her brother Isaac Evans, who broke a l l association with her when she decided to l i v e with Lewes. By means of the f i n a l reunion of Tom and Maggie she can f u l f i l l her wish for reunion with her own brother, which came only many years l a t e r when she was o f f i c i a l l y and respectably married. In a l l the restrained tones of Tom T u l l i v e r , Isaac formally accepted her r e l a t i o n s h i p to him, 64 My dear S i s t e r , I have much pleasure i n a v a i l i n g myself of the present opportunity to break the long silence which has existed between u s . 2 3 In her answer one cannot help hearing the w i s t f u l voice of Maggie T u l l i v e r i n The M i l l on the Floss, Our long silence 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 ones. 2^ Whether out of g u i l t or not, i t i s always to t h i s V i c -t o r i a n image of "the angel i n the house" that E l i o t returns. This never destroys a novel, except perhaps Romola, but i t always diminishes i t s force. The M i l l on the Floss i s not by any means ruined by the l a s t chapters, but i t c e r t a i n l y i s weakened. In Middlemarch and Daniel 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. Dorothea, Rosamond and Gwendolen a l l s u f f e r from E l i o t ' s i n a b i l i t y to see t h e i r struggles to a s a t i s f y i n g conclusion. In each case, the novel could 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 ideas about women. Instead, each turns i n t o a Ruskinian lecture on the need f o r women to accept the d e f i n i t i o n of themselves provided 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 Floss, 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 Discus-sions of George E l i o t , ed. Richard Stang (Boston: D.C. Heath and Co., I960), p. 6 . 3 F.R. Leavis, The Great T r a d i t i o n (Penguin Books, 1948), p. 58. 4 Joan Bennett, George E l i o t : Her Mind and Her Art (Cambridge: University Press, 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 1 3 0 . 5 The George E l i o t Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight (New Haven: Yale University Press), I I I , 3 7 4 . George E l i o t to Francois d'Albert-Durade, London, 2 9 January 186l Haight, Letters, I I I , 269 [George Henry Lewes to John Blackwood, Wandsworth, 5 March I860] Ibid ., 269-70. [George Henry Lewes to Mme. Eugene Bodichon, Wandsworth, 6 March I86g 8 I b i d . , 270, n. 1. Ib i d . , 278 [George E l i o t to John Blackwood, Wands-worth, 22 March i860] 10 Gordon S. Haight, George E l i o t : A Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), p. 412. 11 Bernard Paris, "George E l i o t ' s Religion 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 Essays, ed. George R. Creeger (Englewood C l i f f , N. J . t Prentice-Hall, 1970), p. 66 12 George E l i o t , "Westward Ho! and Constance Herbert," Westminster Review, LXIV ( 1 8 5 5 ) , r p t . i n Essays^ of George  E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney (New York: Columbia University Press, 1 9 6 3 ) , pp. 13^-5• Haight, Letters, V, 403. George E l i o t to John Black-wood, London, 21 A p r i l I 8 7 3 14 Haight, Letters, I I I , 299. George E l i o t to William Blackwood, Florence, 2? Kay i 8 6 0 15 Here Paris adds the folowing footnote: "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 not to the author as a person e x i s t i n g outside of the work, but to the "implied author," the " o f f i c i a l s c r i b e , " the author's "second s e l f . " For a discussion of these terms, see Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n (Chicago, 1 9 6 1 ) , pp. 70-75. Stated i n Booth's terms, my argument here i s . t h a t the implied author of The M i l l on the Floss i s not i n har-mony with himself: there i s a d i s p a r i t y between George E l i o t as analyst and judge and George E l i o t as i m i t a t o r of cha-r a c t e r and a c t i o n . " 16 Bernard J . Paris, "The Inner C o n f l i c t s of Maggie T u l l i v e r : A Horneyan Ana l y s i s , " Centennial Review, XIII ( 1 9 6 9 ) , p. 167. 17 Ib i d . , p. I83. 18 Haight, Biography, p. 65. 19 George E l i o t , "Margaret F u l l e r and Mary Wollstone-. c r a f t " , i n Essays of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney. Haight, Letters, V, 56. [George E l i o t to Sara Hennell, London, 21 September 186§J Haight, Letters, I I , 75. (George E l i o t to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bray and Sara Hennell, London, 31 December 1852]] 67 22 Joan Bennett, George E l i o t t Her Mind and Her A r t , p. 127. 23 Haight, L e t t e r s , VIT. 280 [isaac Pearson Evans to George E l i o t , G r i f f , 17- May 1880] I b i d . . 287. [George E l i o t t o Isaac Pearson Evans, M i l a n , 26 May 1880J I l l Middlemarch ( i ) In terms of Geroge E l i o t ' s treatment of women, Middle-march i s not her most e x c i t i n g novel. The M i l l on the Floss and Daniel Deronda both explore the inner landscape of wo-manhood with greater i n t e n s i t y and accuracy. Dorothea's rather genteel b a t t l e against Middlemarch values does not have nearly the power of Maggie's long and t r a g i c struggle with Tom, and f o r a de t a i l e d examination of the b i t c h cha-r a c t e r Rosamond can hardly compare to Gwendolen. But i f Middlemarch does not a t t a i n the heights of the other two novels i n i t s dramatization of 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 piece of work. There are no f a i r y - t a l e floods or rhapsodic paeans to Zionism to up-set the balance of t h i s study of p r o v i n c i a l l i f e . I t i s by no means a flawless novel, however, and i n many ways the e ssnential weakness of The M i l l — i t s inconsistent cha-r a c t e r i z a t i o n of a female f i g u r e — i s also present i n Middlemarch. There i s nothing p a r t i c u l a r l y o r i g i n a l i n suggesting that one of the weak points of Middlemarch i s E l i o t ' s ten-dency to i d e a l i z e Dorothea (as opposed to her s a t i r i z a t i o n of Dorothea's tendency to 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 to have worked out a r e l a t i o n s h i p between that part of the chara c t e r i z a t i o n which f a i l s and that which i s highly suc-c e s s f u l . In f a c t , E l i o t succeeds and f a i l s with Dorothea i n the same way as she does with Maggie i n The M i l l a l -though to a much l e s s e r degree. We have seen that Maggie has v i t a l i t y as a character l a r g e l y because she i s esta-blished e a r l y i n the novel as a woman struggling against the l i m i t s of a p a t r i a r c h a l system. Dorothea i s not watched as c l o s e l y or examined as minutely as Maggie, but the basis of our acquaintance with, and a t t r a c t i o n to her i s much the same. Dorothea i s asking e s s e n t i a l questions about her re l a t i o n s h i p as a woman to the society around her. However naively, even i n some cases stupidly, she i s , l i k e Maggie, t r y i n g to 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 world which E l i o t takes c a r e f u l pains to show does not welcome women as other than d u t i f u l daughters, f a i t h f u l wives or l o v i n g mothers. But as with Maggie, E l i o t cannot always maintain t h i s feminist perspective. Too often the woman who i s s e r i o u s l y confronting the prejudiced values of a male-dominated society i s replaced by the complacent V i c t o -r i a n v i s i o n of the i d e a l woman as s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g s a i n t or ministering angel. Thus one of the main problems with Middlemarch as t h i s chapter w i l l t r y to demonstrate i s the ^  whole St. Theresa theme which by i t s "rather breathless, uncontrolled, even embarrassing emotional q u a l i t y " 1 often \ 70 weakens the stronger more r e a l i s t i c character analysis which i s established. That there are at l e a s t some "problems" worth c o n s i -dering about the chara c t e r i z a t i o n of Dorothea ought to be r e a d i l y accepted. That the same kind of c r i t i c i s m should be made of the characterization of Rosamond may r a i s e more argument. However, i t i s just because E l i o t makes Rosamond more than the commonplace figur e of the f a m i l i a r temptress or e v i l woman that the character does to some extent f a i l . E l i o t cannot stay with and develop her new three-dimensional and sympathetic v i s i o n of the t r a d i t i o n a l b i t c h character that she begins to achieve with her i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Rosa-mond. By the end of Middlemarch the sense of Rosamond that was previously hinted a t — t h a t she he r s e l f was at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y a v i c t i m — i s gone, leaving only the f l a t p i cture of the manipulative, cold-hearted woman who has "flourished 2 wonderfully on a murdered man's brains." ( i i ) The t h i r d female figure who must be considered i n any discussion of the young women of Middlemarch i s Mary Garth. There c e r t a i n l y does not seem to be any problem with incon-sistency of characterization here. Mary never seems to f a l l i n t o stereotype; she i s not, nor does she at any time be-come e i t h e r the "bi t c h " or the meekly obedient "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 of those she loyes and i s not a f r a i d of objecting openly to Fred's 7 1 m a t e r i a l i s t i c ambitions. Having great regard f o r family t i e s , and w i l l i n g to make almost any s a c r i f i c e f o r those at home, at the same time she leaves no doubt about her d i s l i k e of going out as a teacher. F i n a l l y , Mary i s witty and speaks her mind d i r e c t l y without being e i t h e r catty or apologetic. E l i o t makes Mary an i n t e l l i g e n t , responsible and i n t e r e s t i n g adult and creates a credible and s a t i s f a c -tory p o r t r a i t of a woman. The question then i s why, i f E l i o t can be so co n s i s t e n t l y successful with one character, does she f a l t e r i n her depiction of the other two? I would suggest that part of the answer i s that E l i o t does not place Mary Garth as completely i n the "woman's s i t u a t i o n " as she does e i t h e r Dorothea or Rosamond. Mary Garth i s not a stereotyped picture of a woman, but neither i s she presented as one who i s trapped i n or stru g g l i n g a-gainst the repressive s t r i c t u r e s of patriarchy. Thus with Mary, E l i o t does not come up against the problems presented by Dorothea and Rosamond; with them she must adjust her "revolutionary" analysis of a woman's po s i t i o n to the demands of the Feuerbachian creed of "submission" and her own grow-in g p o l i t i c a l conservatism and doubts about the "woman question." By p o s i t i n g a combination of circumstances— Mary's phy s i c a l plainness, her unusually healthy family . s i -tuation, and the necessity of her working, which means she must to some extent experience the world as a man does--Mary i s not nearly so much i n c o n f l i c t with the usual s o c i e t a l 72 pressures put on a woman. Although given her family's f i n a n -c i a l i n s e c u r i t y Mary might seem to be i n a le s s fortunate p o s i t i o n than the other two, a comparison of t h e i r " s i t u a -t i o n s " shows that i t i s Dorothea and Rosamond for whom c i r -cumstances are and have been most f r u s t r a t i n g i n t h e i r de-velopment towards adulthood. E l i o t makes i t very c l e a r how much, due to the prevalent s o c i a l attitudes 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 retarded. I t i s perhaps a minor point, but i n introducing a l l these young women, E l i o t does underline that while Dorothea and Rosamond are each i n t h e i r own way i d e a l s of feminine beauty, Mary Garth "on the contrary had the aspect of an ordinary s i n n e r i she was brownj her cu r l y dark h a i r was rough and stubbornj her stature was low." Although as E l i o t points out i n the next phrase, " i t would not be true to declare i n s a t i s f a c t o r y a n t i t h e s i s , that she (Mar^j had a l l the v i r t u e s " (MM, 83) at l e a s t she does not have' that d i s t o r t e d view of h e r s e l f or the world which many b e a u t i f u l women, because- of the way others treat them, cannot avoid. In Rosamond's case i t i s her beauty which i s the deter-mining f a c t o r i n how other people, p a r t i c u l a r l y men, regard herV Only a few chi l d r e n i n Middlemarch looked blond by the side of Rosamond, and the slim figure d i s -played by her ri d i n g - h a b i t had d e l i c a t e undula-t i o n s . In f a c t , most men, except her brothers, held that Miss Vincy was the best g i r l i n the world, and some c a l l e d her an angel. (MM, 83) 73 Consequently, because her beauty has such high s o c i a l value, Rosamond h e r s e l f does not have to look inwardly, at l e a s t consciously, and examine her own motives and actions—"What she l i k e d to do was to her the r i g h t thing" (MM, 4 2 7 ) . Lyd-gate of course only reinforces t h i s a t t i t u d e . He has no use fo r p l a i n women, regarding them "as he did the other severe fa c t s of l i f e , to be faced with philosophy and investigated by science" (MM, 7 0 ) , and simply assumes with a b e a u t i f u l woman l i k e Rosamond that her character w i l l be i n perfect accordance with her physical appearance, Miss Vincy...had just the kind of i n t e l l i g e n c e one would desire i n a woman—polished, re f i n e d , d o c i l e , lending i t s e l f to f i n i s h i n a l l the d e l i c a c i e s of l i f e , and enshrined i n a body which expressed t h i s with a force of demonstration that excluded the need f o r other evidence. (MM, 1 2 1 ) By r e f e r r i n g to t h i s a t t i t u d e of Lydgate's as one of h i s "spots of commonness," E l i o t i s i n d i r e c t l y suggesting that the a t t i t u d e s of men are p a r t i a l l y responsible f o r making so many women l i k e Rosamond such vain and self - c e n t r e d creatures. As long as a woman's worth i s e x c l u s i v e l y asso-cia t e d with her ph y s i c a l beauty, she w i l l remain i n most cases morally undeveloped. Unlike Rosamond, Dorothea i s to some extent conscious of her beauty as a burden. With her wealth, i t puts her so completely i n the r o l e of the very marriageable young woman that others, l i k e her uncle and s i s t e r C e l i a , w i l l not take her i n t e l l e c t u a l ambitions s e r i o u s l y . She i s of course rather melodramatic and, as E l i o t i s quick to point out, 7^ s i l l y i n her determination to ignore the " s o l i c i t u d e s of feminine fashion" (MM,. 6), to refuse any of her mother's jewels and to give up the sensuous pleasure of r i d i n g . But a l l these attempts to scourge he r s e l f show that Dorothea does understand that as a b e a u t i f u l woman her freedom to act i n any other way than the prescribed manner f o r young l a d i e s i s severely l i m i t e d . E l i o t i s amusedly c r i t i c a l of Dorothea's excessive s e l f - d e n i a l — " i f Miss Brooke ever a t -tained perfect meekness, i t would not be f o r lack of inward fire"(MM, 10) — b u t on another l e v e l she obviously p a r t i -cipates i n her heroine's f r u s t r a t i o n and c a l l s attention to the absurdity of a society which denies to a b e a u t i f u l woman the use of her i n t e l l e c t . With perfect mimicry she l e t s the reader know what the average Middlemarch male thinks of Dorothea's "mindt" And how should Dorothea not marry?—a g i r l so handsome and with such prospects? Nothing could hinder i t but her love of extremes, and her i n -sistence on regulating l i f e according to notions which might cause a wary man to hesistate before he made her an offer....Such a wife might awaken you some f i n e morning with a new scheme f o r the a p p l i c a t i o n of her income which would i n t e r f e r e with p o l i t i c a l economy and the keeping of saddle horses i a man would n a t u r a l l y think twice before he risked himself i n such fellowship. Women were expected to have weak opinions i but the great safeguard of society and of domestic l i f e was, that opinions were not acted on. Sane people did what t h e i r neighbours did, so that i f any l u n a t i c s were at large, one might know and avoid them. (MM, 7) I t i s not only her plainness which distinguishes Mary from Rosamond and Dorothea. As Mrs. Farebrother says at 75 one point to Mary, young women...don't f e e l the stress of action as men do, though perhaps I ought to make you an exception there. (MM, 379) Mary has had to work, and thus to grapple with the world on a l e v e l of which Dorothea and Rosamond can scarcely con-ceive. One can hardly suggest that her work has been e i t h e r s a t i s f y i n g or rewarding. In her r o l e as housekeeper to Peter Featherstone she was constantly humiliated, and as f o r the l i f e of a teacher or governess that (as Jane F a i r -fax suggests i n Emma) i s not much d i f f e r e n t from slavery. But Mary's v i s i o n of r e a l i t y , l i k e Jane Fairfaxes, i s bound to be much c l e a r e r than that of the other two women who, l i k e Emma Woodhouse, are c l o i s t e r e d i n the very l i m i t e d world of feminine experience. Dorothea seeks work, but she l i v e s i n "the s t i f l i n g oppression of that gentlewoman's world, where everything was done f o r her and none asked f o r her a i d " (MM, 202), and i s not forced i n t o action as Mary i s by her family's economic s i t u a t i o n . The f a c t o r that c l a s s plays i n determining to what extent a woman w i l l be forced 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 case. A great part of the pride of the V i c t o r i a n bourgeoisie was i t s women's i d l e n e s s — t h e i r existence as creatures of com-plete l e i s u r e . At the same time, there was i n s t i l l e d i n every daughter the ambition to capture a man who would r a i s e her s t i l l f urther i n rank. As Mary Wollstonecraft put it» 76 In the middle rank of life...men, i n t h e i r youth are prepared f o r professions, and marriage i s not considered as the grand feature i n t h e i r l i v e s j w h i l s t women, on the contrary, have no other scheme to sharpen t h e i r f a c u l t i e s . I t i s not business, extensive plans, or any of the excursive f l i g h t s of ambition, that engross t h e i r attention; no, t h e i r thoughts are not employed i n rearing such noble structures. To r i s e i n the world, and have the l i b e r t y of running from pleasure to pleasure, they must marry advantageously, and to t h i s object 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 often l e g a l l y p r o s t i t u t e d . A man, when he enters any profession, has his eye s t e a d i l y f i x e d on some future advantage (and the mind gains great strength by having a l l i t s ~ e f f o r t s directed to one point) and, f u l l of h i s business, pleasure i s considered as mere rel a x a t i o n ; w h i l s t women seek f o r pleasure as the main purpose of existence. In f a c t , from the education which they receive from society, the love of pleasure may be said to govern them a l l . 3 Thus a Rosamond's "work" was cut out f o r her, For Rosamond...was industrious, and now more than ever she was active i n sketching her land-scapes and market-carts and p o r t r a i t s of f r i e n d s , i n p r a c t i s i n g her music and i n being from morning t i l l night her own standard of a perfect lady. (MM, 124) And E l i o t understands that although 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 corruption of female i n t e l l i g e n c e she i s s t i l l a v i c t i m of ideas about the proper place and inte - r r e s t s of woment For Rosamond never showed any unbecoming know-ledge, and was always that combination of correct sentiments, music, dancing, drawing, elegant note-writing, private album f o r extracted verse, and perfect 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 that date. (MM, 198) Perhaps the most important d i s t i n c t i o n between Mary and the other two women i s that 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 world of male values but s t i l l r e t a i n her i n d i v i d u a l i t y and personal d i g n i t y . Though Mrs. Garth may mouth the conventional o p i -nions about the proper r o l e of woman who "i n her opinion was framed to be e n t i r e l y subordinate" i t i s not a doctrine which she practices to any great extent t On ninety-nine points Mrs. Garth decided, but on the hundredth she was often aware that she would have to perform the s i n g u l a r l y d i f f i c u l t task of carrying out her own p r i n c i p l e and to make her-s e l f subordinate. (MM, 411) That i s not to suggest that Mrs. Garth i s any kind of Amazon i n disguise, but simply that she has a strong and healthy sense of her own i n d i v i d u a l i t y . Of course, the a b i l i t y to exercise t h i s freedom i s l a r g e l y dependent on her husband who recognizes h i s wife as another human being and not as a hired secretary (MM, 2 0 5 ) , nurse (MM, 2 3 1 ) , or item of domestic decoration t She [Mrs. Garth] went and stood behind him, putting her hand on h i s shoulder, while they read the l e t t e r together. (MM, 294) Mary thus experiences i n her family a l i f e of male-female equality which frees her from the f r u s t r a t i o n s that both Dorothea and ( i n d i r e c t l y ) Rosamond experience as among the major determinants of r e a l i t y . Mary's family background gives her a sense of sec u r i t y and healthy s e l f - r e s p e c t which neither of the other two women possesses. Dorothea and Rosamond of course have no such su i t a b l e female models, l e t alone male helpmates, who might give 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 pleasant woman, i s much more l i k e Mrs. T u l l i v e r than Mrs. Garth. The strongest impression Mrs. Vincy leaves i s of her "pink st r i n g s always f l y i n g , " her devoted love f o r her son, and her desire that Rosamond derive the best value from her good looks, I t i s a thousand p i t i e s you haven't patience to go and see your uncle more, so proud of you as he i s , and wanted you to l i v e with him. There's no knowing what he might have done f o r you as w e l l as f o r Fred. God knows, I'm fond of having you at home with me, but I can part with my c h i l d r e n f o r t h e i r good." (MM, 75) As f a r as Mrs. Vincy i s concerned Mrs. Garth i s the l a s t person who might serve as a feminine model, f o r that lady was "a woman who had had to work f o r her bread" (MM, 1 7 0 ) . As f o r Dorothea, her mother i s dead, and though she loves C e l i a greatly, she cannot expect much guidance from a younger s i s t e r whose ambitions do not go further than marriage and b l i s s f u l motherhood. As f o r Mr.,Brooke, he f e e l s that h i s duty as a surrogate father l i e s i n c o n t i -n u a l l y reminding Dorothea that she must learn to submit to her proper feminine placet Young l a d i e s don't understand p o l i t i c a l economy, you know.(MM, 12) I cannot l e t young l a d i e s meddle with my docu-ments. Young l a d i e s are too f l i g h t y . (MM, 14) The only i n t e l l i g e n t woman with whom Dorothea has any con-t a c t i s Mrs. Cadwallader who has turned a l l the energies of her powerful mind, "a mind, active as phosophorus, b i t i n g 79 everything that came near i n t o the form that suited i t " (MM, 4 5 ) , i n t o f r i v o l o u s match-making. Although Middlemarch may be small i n area i t includes many worlds and these three women obviously experience t h e i r womanhood i n very d i f f e r e n t ways. Mary, as a part of her family, has had to f i g h t f o r economic s u r v i v a l , but she has never had to struggle within a male-dominated world to es t a b l i s h a basic sense of i d e n t i t y f o r h e r s e l f i n the way that both Dorothea and Rosamond must. Thus i n Mary's world, i n the world of the Garths and the Farebrothers, E l i o t never r e a l l y has to deal with any serious questions about the r o l e of women. But the necessary f a c t o r i s that kind of w o r l d — one more i d e a l than real—where sexual stereotyping i s not so pervasive, where there i s a near equality between men and women. When E l i o t moves to another world, 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 . B r i l l i a n t l y portraying the ways that these two are trapped by the op-pressive r u l e s of patriarchy, she poses a number of ques-tions about s o c i e t a l attitudes and i n s t i t u t i o n s that i n the end she h e r s e l f cannot answer, or perhaps refuses to ans-wer. This i s why the characterizations, at c e r t a i n places i n the novel, f a l t e r . At the point of re s o l u t i o n E l i o t abandons her complex v i s i o n of both women f o r the s t a t i c images of femininity that V i c t o r i a n morality provides. The questions that Rosamond's experience r a i s e are ignored? she 80 i s j u s t one of th o s e " e v i l women." And as f o r Dorothea, her perfect goodness and s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g altruism i s sure-l y the answer to any problem between the sexes that might e x i s t . Although the story of 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 not much more than that. As sugges-ted above, there i s a note of idealism about the whole Garth world. They are j u s t a l i t t l e b i t too good, too happy, and too sensible f o r t h e i r part of the book to be t r u l y moving, and consequently, the tensions of the Fred/Mary passages are considerably lower than those i n the Dorothea/ Casaubon or Rosamond/Lydgate passages of the novel. Mary and the Garth family may be supposed to es t a b l i s h , as David Daiches suggests, the moral " c r i t e r i a to which most other actions are r e f e r r e d " but Mary has never had to f i g h t a thorough-going b a t t l e with the p a t r i a r c h a l values of Middle-march. Thus, despite the overly sentimental treatment E l i o t often gives Dorothea, and the b l i n d vengeance she occasio-n a l l y d i r e c t s at Rosamond, i t i s s t i l l these two women rather than Mary who hold our att e n t i o n . With a l l the seeming "normalcy" of Mary Garth, i t i s i n the exploration of 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 that E l i o t comes c l o s e s t to the realism which i s her greatest strength as an a r t i s t . Far c l o s e r to the truth of a woman's s i t u a t i o n than the story of Mary Garth, whose circumstances allow and even encourage her growth i n t o responsible a d u l t -81 hood, i s the two beauties' struggle with the s o c i a l pressures of patriarchy which retard any development of an i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y . ( i i i ) In Thinking About Women Mary Ellman suggests that there i s enough evidence i n Middlemarch to show that E l i o t sees many of Rosamond's actions as p o s i t i v e , i f badly misdirected attempts to attack the male value system. The n o v e l i s t deplores Rosamond's responses and yet takes a small b i t t e r pleasure i n her mulish s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y . 5 Ellman f a l l s i n t o the trap of many popular feminist c r i t i c s who i n s i s t on imputing to any female n o v e l i s t a r a d i c a l f e -minist consciousness. E l i o t i s no Ibsen nor i s Rosamond a p o t e n t i a l Nora Helmer. But what one does f i n d i n the story of Rosamond i s that a s i g n i f i c a n t part of her character i s revealed as we are l e d to see how much she i s trapped i n a ce r t a i n destructive behaviour pattern because of her p o s i -t i o n as a female. That E l i o t intends us to see Rosamond as at l e a s t par-t i a l l y a product of her environment i s obvious from our f i r s t i n t r o d u c t i o n to her at the end of a long discussion about changing s o c i a l conditions, In f a c t , much the same sort of movement and mixture went on i n old England as we f i n d i n older Herodotus, who also, i n t e l l i n g what had been, thought i t well to take a woman's l o t f o r his starting-point...(MM, 71) Bourgeois at t i t u d e s towards marriage, Rosamond's unusually 82 perfect beauty, and her lack of a p o s i t i v e female model have been mentioned above as factors which to some extent have influenced Rosamond's development. The point E l i o t most d i r e c t l y dwells upon, however, i s Rosamond's education. The 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 favourite subject of both E l i o t ' s personal l e t t e r s and her f i c t i o n , and i n Middlemarch almost the f i r s t piece of information that we have about Rosamond i s that she "was a sylph caught young and educated at Mrs. Lemon's" (MM, 118). "Caught" i s the operative term. Regardless of what the c h i l d ' s own i n -s t i n c t s may be, t h i s young beauty must be moulded i n t o the image of the perfect young l a d y — " p o l i s h e d , refined, d o c i l e " (MM*: 212). And at Mrs. Lembn's, "the c h i e f school i n the county, where the teaching included a l l that was demanded i n the accomplished female" (MM, ?1) Rosamond isrjio doubt l i t e r a l l y as we l l as v i r t u a l l y " f i n i s h e d . " An i n s t i t u t i o n which, as E l i o t notes i n mock-solemnity, stakes i t s repu-t a t i o n on being able to provide those l i t t l e "extras, such as the get t i n g i n and out of a carriage" w i l l r a r e l y attach much importance to the e t h i c a l or i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a c i t i e s of a young woman. Rosamond's moral consciousness remains at the in f a n t i n e l e v e l of the elaborate but empty s o c i a l personality which she has acquired at Mrs. Lemon's. Again Mary Wollstonecraft can be looked to f o r a de s c r i p t i o n of the corruption that i s often bred i n young l a d i e s of Rosa-mond's type. 83 I t would be an endless task to trace the va-r i e t y of meannesses, cares, and sorrows, i n t o which women are plunged by the p r e v a i l i n g opinion, that they were created rather to f e e l than reason, and that a l l the power they obtain, must be obtained by t h e i r charms and weakness; "Fine by defect, and amiably weak!" And, made by t h i s amiable weakness e n t i r e l y dependent, excepting what they gain by i l l i c i t sway, neglecting the duties that reason alone points out, and shrinking from t r i a l s c a l c u -lated to strengthen t h e i r minds, they only exert themselves to give t h e i r defects a graceful covering, which may serve to heighten t h e i r charms i n the eyes of the voluptuary, though.it sink them below the scale of moral excellence? 0 As well as being "caught young," part of Rosamond's tragedy i s that she has been too good a student; with the "execu-tant's i n s t i n c t " she has learned to act out the feminine r o l e to almost r i d i c u l o u s p e r f e c t i o n . I f Rosamond had been a l i t t l e l e s s clever h e r s e l f , or preferably i f young women.were l e f t alone to develop i n a manner s i m i l a r to "the raw coun-tr y g i r l s " (MM, 118) who "betray themselves unawares, and whose behaviour i s awkwardly d r i v e n by t h e i r impulses i n -stead of being steered by wary grace and propriety," E l i o t suggests that both her and Lydgate's h i s t o r i e s could have been much d i f f e r e n t . This "placing" of Rosamond i n the s o c i a l milieu, the attempt to show that she i s not simply the born b i t c h , but that her character and behaviour have been p a r t i a l l y deter-mined by V i c t o r i a n attitudes towards women means very l i t t l e unless E l i o t c a r r i e s i t through i n her cl o s e r analysis of Rosamond as an i n d i v i d u a l . F.R. Leavis does not believe t h i s happens: 84 I f one judges that there i s l e s s of sympathy i n George E l i o t ' s presentment of Rosamond that i n her presentment of any other of her major charac-ters (except Grandcourt i n Daniel Deronda) one goes on immediately to note that Rosamond gives sym-pathy 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 that the destructive and de-moralizing 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 to us i f there had been any animus i n the presentment. We are, from time to time, made to f e e l from within the circumference of Rosamond's egoism—though we can't of course at any time be confined to i t , and, there being 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 that t h i s case can hardly, by any triumph of com-passion, be f e l t as tragic.7 Although we may not discover any "potential n o b i l i t y " i n Rosamond, Leavis c e r t a i n l y underestimates the e f f e c t of being "from time to time, made to f e e l from within the c i r -cumference of Rosamond's egoism." Very early i n our ac-quaintance with Rosamond we enter her consciousness and d i s -cover the p e c u l i a r kind of schizophrenia that she l i v e s with. In the scene with Mary at Stone Court we are made aware of the two nymphs—the one i n the glass, and the one out of i t , who looked at each other with eyes of heavenly blue, deep enough to hold the most exquisite meanings an ingenious beholder could put i n t o them, and deep enough to hide the meanings of the owner i f these should happen to be l e s s exquisite. (MM, 83) ' The i n t e r a c t i o n of these two s e l v e s — t h e public and the p r i v a t e e - i s quite often a part of E l i o t ' s method of d e s c r i -bing Rosamond 1 (Every nerve and muscle i n Rosamond was adjusted to the consciousness that she was being looked at. She was by nature an actress of parts that entered i n t o her physique t she even acted her own character and so well, that she did not know i t 85 to be p r e c i s e l y her own.) (MM, 87) Cert a i n l y small feet and p e r f e c t l y turned shoul-ders aid the impression of refined manners, and the r i g h t thing said seems quite astonishingly r i g h t when i t i s accompanied with exquisite curves of l i p and e y e l i d . And Rosamond could say the r i g h t thing1 f o r she was clever with that s o r t of cleverness which catches every tone except the humorous. Happily she never attempted to joke, and t h i s perhaps was the most decisive mark of her cleverness. (MM, 117) Rosamond, with the executant's i n s t i n c t , had seized hi s manner of playing, and gave f o r t h h i s large rendering of noble music with the p r e c i s i o n of 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, 119) I f we do not get any of Leavis' n o b i l i t y , there i s at l e a s t a pathetic q u a l i t y to Rosamond's d i s t o r t e d personality that one cannot avoid being affected by. The c r u c i a l question, however, i s the nature of that second s e l f , the s e l f that watches, that i s aware of having to act out to perfection the r o l e of the perfect lady. Cer-t a i n l y much of i t i s pure ego, and one could quote extensive-l y to substantiate t h i s . However, on several occasions E l i o t does go fur t h e r than that rather s i m p l i s t i c a n a l y s i s . Be-ginning with our very f i r s t meeting with Rosamond where E l i o t mentions her boredom, the suggestion i s often made that the i n t e n s i t y of Rosamond's egoism, her extreme self-centredness, comes from the lack of v a r i e t y i n the outlets a v a i l a b l e to young women of any energy or cleverness. Since the horizon of a Rosamond's world i s marriage, a l l her l e i s u r e time (of which she has a great deal) i s spent i n mental or ph y s i c a l a c t i v i t y directed towards that goali 86 Rosamond, whose basis f o r her structure had the usual a i r y slightness, was of remarkably d e t a i l e d and r e a l i s t i c imagination when the foundation had been once presupposed! and before they had ridden a mile she was f a r on i n the costume and introductions of her wedded l i f e . (MM, 88) I t had not occured to Lydgate that he had been a subject of eager meditation to Rosamond, who had neither any reason f o r throwing her marriage i n t o distance perspective, nor any pathological studies to d i v e r t her mind from that ruminating habit, that inward r e p e t i t i o n of looks, words and phrases, which makes a large part i n the l i v e s of most g i r l s . (MM, 123) Furthermore, because the only r o l e Rosamond has a v a i l a b l e to her i s the s o c i a l one of the perfect young lady, any expression of s e l f she makes must be acted out through that d o c i l e , passive character. Perhaps that i s why some of Ro-samond's actions appear to be so e s p e c i a l l y ugly. Her anger or f r u s t r a t i o n i s never (cannot ever be) expressed d i r e c t l y but i s always cloaked i n seeming p a s s i v i t y and imperturbationo Hoever, i t i s not necessary here to speculate j there i s enough i n the text i t s e l f to show that E l i o t has gone beyond the s i m p l i s t i c analysis of Rosamond and given us something more. Among the most s t r i k i n g images of Rosamond are those when E l i o t catches her i n "moments of naturalism." The f i r s t eomes at the point of her engagement to Lydgate when we see her as vulnerable t But as he raised h i s eyes now he saw a c e r t a i n helpless quivering which touched him quite newly, and made him look at Rosamond with a questioning f l a s h . At t h i s moment she was as natural as she had ever been when she was f i v e years old. (MM, 222) 87 And near the end of the novel, when Ladislaw turns on her, we see that she can be se n s i t i v e to the fe e l i n g s of others: a l l her s e n s i b i l i t y was turned i n t o a bewildering novelty of 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 lash never experienced before. What another nature f e l t i n opposition to her own was being burnt arid b i t t e n i n t o her consciousness. (MM» 571) And f i n a l l y when she i s confronted by Dorothea i t i s c l e a r that Rosamond does have the p o t e n t i a l of breaking through the i l l u s i o n s that have so blinded her to the workings of the r e a l world i I t was a newer c r i s i s i n Rosamond's experience than even Dorothea could imagine: she was under the f i r s t great shock that had shattered her dream-world i n which she had been e a s i l y confident of h e r s e l f and c r i t i c a l of o t h e r s . . . i t made her soul t o t t e r . . . with a sense that she had been walking i n an unknown world which had ju s t broken i n upon her. (MM, 5 8 3 ) I t i s t h i s added depth, t h i s attempt to f i n d some cause f o r Rosamond's egoism other than the e v i l of the feminine nature 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 stereotype. Even i f E l i o t had not allowed f o r t h i s kind of sympa-t h e t i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Rosamond herself, i t would have been e a s i l y seen from E l i o t ' s a ttitude towards Lydgate that Rosamond should not be seen as the. t o t a l l y " e v i l " character she i s sometimes taken f o r . E l i o t ' s documentation of Lyd-gate 's male chauvinism i s superb from the moment of our f i r s t i ntroduction to him, when we learn that "the d i s t i n c t i o n of mind which belonged to h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l ardour, did not 88 penetrate his f e e l i n g and judgment about f u r n i t u r e or women" (MM. I l l ) , u n t i l one evening before his marriage when he muses on h i s future with Rosamond» ...Ideal happiness (of the kind known i n the Arabian Nights, i n which you are i n v i t e d to step from the labour and discord of the st r e e t i n t o a paradise where everything i s given to you and nothing claimed) seemed to be an a f f a i r of a few weeks waiting. (MM, 257) I t i s i n t e g r a l to our understanding of Lydgate that we see him as one of that company of men (and t h i s i s h i s touch of "commonness") whose attitude towards women support the pro-l i f e r a t i o n of Rosamond-like creatures. As long as he, a man of good looks, good b i r t h and good prospects, f e e l s sure "that i f he ever married his wife would have that feminine radiance, that d i s t i n c t i v e womanhood which must be classed with flowers and music" (MM, 121), Mrs. Lemon w i l l continue to turn out polished, refine d and highly f r u s t r a t e d young women l i k e Rosamond. During the weeks of t h e i r f l i r t a t i o n Lydgate only reinforces Rosamond's b e l i e f i n a l l the roman-t i c myths of woman's a b i l i t y to enslave men. He t e l l s her that "an accomplished woman almost always knows more than we men" (MM, 118) and declares that he i s "her captive." Rosamond of course does not understand that these are merely the conventional endearments of courtship and that Lydgate simply assumes that he, not she, w i l l be the powerful par t -ner i n the marriage t Lydgate thought...he had found perfect womanhoods-f e l t as i f already breathed upon by exquisite wedded a f f e c t i o n such as would be bestowed by an 89 accomplished creature who venerated his high musings and momentous labours and would never i n t e r f e r e with them; who would create order i n the home and accounts with s t i l l magic, yet keep her f i n g e r s ready to touch the l u t e and transform l i f e i n t o romance at any moment; who was instructed to the true womanly l i m i t and not a hair's breadth beyond— d o c i l e , therefore, and ready to carry out behests which came from beyond that l i m i t . (MM, 258 ) A f t e r seeing how other p e o p l e — e s p e c i a l l y men—have helped b u i l d up Rosamond's d i s t o r t e d sense of her own personal power we are prepared at l e a s t to understand why l a t e r she so obstinately defies Lydgate. (i v ) U n t i l the time of Lydgate's f i n a n c i a l troubles the treatment of Rosamond and Lydgate i s f a i r l y w e ll balanced. Largely a "noble" f i g u r e , he i s nevertheless s t i l l c r i t i c i z e d by E l i o t f o r his a r i s t o c r a t i c snobbishness, h i s unfortunate pragmatism over the Farebrother 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 regards as a means of elegant recreation and at most also objects of continuing o protective tenderness." S i m i l a r l y , Rosamond's basic r o l e i n the novel i s that of the b l i n d and destructive egoist, but as I have demonstrated above, she i s not presented without sympathy. From the moment of t h e i r engagement however, when E l i o t introduces the image of the "chained" Lydgate, that c a r e f u l balance i s thrown o f f , her blush had departed and she assented c o l d l y , without adding an unnecessary word, some t r i v i a l chain-work which she had i n her hands enabling her to avoid looking at Lydgate higher than h i s chin...Rosamond, made nervous by her struggle 90 between m o r t i f i c a t i o n and the wish not to betray i t , dropped her chain as i f s t a r t l e d and rose too, mechanically. Lydgate instantaneously stooped to pick up the chain. (MM, 222) As Lydgate leaves the house, "an engaged man whose soul was not h i s own, but the woman's to whom he had bound h i m s e l f (MM, 223) a l l sympathy goes out towards him and from being a complex l i v i n g character Rosamond changes int o a one-dimensional, stereotyped b i t c h . The easiest way to discuss E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e to maintain a complex analysis of Rosamond's character i s to examine our o v e r a l l sense of Rosamond i n the second part of the novel, a f t e r she has married Lydgate. We are not involved with Rosamond any more 1 she i s no longer "one of us." We simply watch her as she goes about performing her s l i g h t l y horrendous a c t s i revoking Lydgate's order to rent the house, w r i t i n g to S i r Godwin, sending out the dinner i n v i t a t i o n s . When we do get "i n s i d e " Rosamond i n the second h a l f of the novel i t i s r a r e l y with any attempt to understand, l e t alone sympathize. E l i o t ' s descriptions of Rosamond's inner thoughts are usually given i n a voice which very much sets us apart and tends to make us unquestioningly accept her as the unregenerate e v i l woman. In f a c t , one might even suggest that E l i o t , during the period of the Lydgates' money troubles, does t r e a t Rosamond with j u s t that "animus" which Leavis says she avoids. As the passages quoted below demonstrate, there i s no attempt s e r i o u s l y to s c r u t i n i z e Rosamond's po-91 s i t i o n — t o show us how desperately f r u s t r a t e d and frightened she might be by the turn her marriage has taken. She s t i l l said nothing; but under that quietude was hidden an intense e f f e c t : she was i n such en-t i r e disgust with her husband that she wished she had never seen him. S i r Godwin's rudeness towards her and u t t e r want of f e e l i n g ranged him with Dover and a l l other 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 of themselves, and did not mind how annoying they were to her. Even her father was unkind, and might have done more f o r them. In f a c t there was but one person i n Rosamond world whom she did not regard as blameworthy, and that was the gr a c e f u l creature with blond p l a i t s and with l i t t l e hands crossed before her, who had never expressed h e r s e l f unbecomingly, and had a l -ways acted f o r the b e s t — t h e best n a t u r a l l y being what she best l i k e d . (MM, 4 8 7 ) There was s i l e n c e . Lydgate thought, "If she has any t r u s t i n me—any notion of what I am she ought to speak now and say that she does not believe I have deserved disgrace." But Rosamond on her side went on moving her f i n -gers languidly. Whatever was to be said on the subject she expected to come from T e r t i u s . What did she know? And i f he were innocent of any wrong, why did he not do something to c l e a r him-s e l f ? (MM, 555) However, once again i t i s E l i o t ' s a ttitude to Lydgate i n the second part of the novel that most reveals how she \ would have us think of Rosamond. Almost always we are with Lydgate from the i n s i d e and made to f e e l with him as he s u f f e r s . Lydgate 1s discontent was much harder to bears i t was the sense that there was a grand existence i n thought and e f f e c t i v e action l y i n g around him, while h i s s e l f was being narrowed i n t o the mise-rable i s o l a t i o n of e g o i s t i c fears, and vulgar anxieties f o r events that might a l l a y such f e a r s . (MM, 4 7 3 ) Although on occasion attention might be directed to Rosamond' 92 f e e l i n g s , i t i s often patronizing and any sympathy i s negated by the immediate tra n s f e r of i n t e r e s t to Lydgate*s greater misery and nobler nature t Rosamond obeyed him, and he took her on h i s knee, but i n her secret soul she was u t t e r l y aloof from him. The poor thing saw only that the world was not ordered to her l i k i n g , and Lydgate was part of that world. But he held her waist with one hand and l a i d the other gently on both of hersi f o r t h i s rather abrupt man had much tenderness i n h i s manners towards women, seeming to have always present i n hi s imagination the weakness of t h e i r frames and the d e l i c a t e poise of t h e i r health both i n body and mind. (MM, 4?4) The implications of this l a s t statement reveal E l i o t ' s inconsistency i n her treatment of Lydgate's at t i t u d e to women. Though i n the f i r s t parts of the novel she i s very c r i t i c a l of h i s lack of respect f o r women, she seems to f e e l "the chivalrous kindness which helped to make him morally lovable" (MM, 112) i s adequate compensation. I t i s t h i s a t t i t u d e which seems to take precedence i n her l a t e r analy-s i s of Lydgate and Rosamond's marital c o n f l i c t . To E l i o t , Lydgate's error i s not so much that he demanded submission from Rosamond but that he was too b l i n d to see that she would not obey hi s wishes. The f a c t that he i s "mastered" c a r r i e s the i m p l i c a t i o n that by r i g h t s he should be masters . . . I t would assuredly have been a vain boast i n him to say that he was her master. (MM, 488) "I s h a l l set up a surgery," he said, "I r e a l l y think I made a mistaken e f f o r t i n that respect. 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 things, 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 to begin withi that w i l l make the small rubs 93 seem easy. Poor Lydgate! the " i f Rosamond w i l l not 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 part of his thought, was a s i g n i f i c a n t mark of the yoke he bore. (MM, 52k) That the man should be master i n marriage i s not a f e e l i n g which r e a l l y squares with her previous c r i t i c i s m s of Lydgat His a t t i t u d e s towards marriage and the r o l e s of men and -women have supposedly matured during h i s time of c o n f l i c t % he was beginning now to imagine how two creatures who loved each other, and had a stock of thoughts i n common, might laugh over t h e i r shabby f u r n i -ture, and t h e i r c a l c u l a t i o n s how f a r they could a f f o r d butter and eggs. (MM, 512*) But a l l h i s actions b e l i e any conception of equality i n marriage. For him a wife i s s t i l l someone who provides a kind of mindless sanctuary 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 observing that Rosamond was more l i v e l y than she had usually been of l a t e , and even seemed i n t e -rested i n doing what would please him without being asked... He was so much cheered that he began to search f o r an account of experiments which he had long ago meant to look up, and had neglected out of that creeping s e l f - d e s p a i r which comes i n the t r a i n of petty a n x i e t i e s . He f e l t again some of the old d e l i g h t f u l absorption i n far-reaching inquiry, while Rosamond played the quiet music which was as h e l p f u l to h i s meditation as the plash of an oar on the evening lake. (MM, ^79) I t i s d i f f i c u l t to believe that there i s any s u b s t a n t i a l difference between t h i s Lydgate and the Lydgate who several months previously had t o l d Farebrother that marriage must be the best thing f o r a man who wants to work s t e a d i l y . He has everything at home then—no teasing with personal speculations-he can get calmness and freedom. (MM, 256) 94 There i s none of the understanding 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 t h i s kind of at t i t u d e towards women may account f o r much of t h e i r f r u s t r a t i o n and consequent egoism. In fa c t , by the i n c l u s i o n of the i n c i -dent, when, before t h e i r money troubles r e a l l y begin Rosa-mond defies Lydgate over the matter of horseriding with S i r Godwin's son and brings on a miscarriage, E l i o t seems to suggest the root of the couple's c o n f l i c t i s i n Rosamond's deni a l of her womanhood or true femininity. There are occasions when E l i o t appears to recover the sense of how the p o s i t i o n of women may be a f f e c t i n g some-one l i k e Rosamond, When he l e f t her to go out again, he t o l d himself that i t was ten times harder f o r her than f o r him i he had a l i f e away from home, and constant appeals to h i s a c t i v i t y on behalf of others. (MM.489) But what could have been a c r u c i a l part of our understanding (not f o r g i v i n g ) of Rosamond's behaviour i s not c a r r i e d any fur t h e r . The comment comes at the end of a chapter when Lydgate i s leaving the house a f t e r one of t h e i r arguments and the next chapter opens with attention f i r m l y directed at Lydgate once again. In addition to the passage quoted above, there are also the c r u c i a l scenes hear the end of the novel between Ladis-law and Rosamond, and Dorothea and Rosamond, when something f i n a l l y breaks through the layers of Rosamond's egoism, when her schizophrenic state i s shattered and she i s alone with her "bewildered consciousness" (MM, 5 7 2 ) . That there i s 95 something to "break through to," that Rosamond i s something besides pure ego, i s most important. I t reinforces the sense which E l i o t showed i n her attitude towards Rosamond before her m a r r i a g e — t h a t she was more complicated a character than the usual b i t c h stereotype. But Rosamond does not change. The epilogue makes i t c l e a r that Rosamond was and always w i l l be the e v i l woman who "flourished wonderfully on a murdered man's brains." In t h i s way, E l i o t ' s materialism becomes a kind of f a t a l determinism. The r e a l b r i l l i a n c e of her cha-r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Rosamond—what l i f t s her above s t e r e o t y p e — 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 conditions. But the c o r o l l a r y , that a change i n s o c i a l environment could bring about a change i n character, seems to be ignored. v The above discussion i s not intended as an apology or defence of Rosamond. I t would be r i d i c u l o u s to suggest that she i s not an egoist or that her actions are not highly destructive. Rosamond i s ignorant, vain, s e l f - c e n t r e d . However, that does not mean we regard her without sympathy. By placing her squarely i n Middlemarch society, with i t s bourgeois notions of femininity, and by allowing us to enter Rosamond's consciousness to see how t h i s has affected both her view of h e r s e l f and the world, E l i o t gives us room, not to forgive Rosamond, but at l e a s t to begin to understand her. Although E l i o t does not go very f a r i n her i n i t i a l p o rtrayal of Rosamond (not nearly as f a r as she w i l l go i n 96 a l a t e r novel with Gwendolen Harleth) her f a i l u r e to main-t a i n even that l e v e l of understanding indicates an impor-tant break i n the perspective of the novel. (v) There are several reasons, i n addition to the break-down of E l i o t ' s m a t e r i a l i s t world view, which may account f o r her inconsistency i n dealing with Rosamond. The f i r s t i s purely s t r u c t u r a l . In the broad scheme of the novel Ro-samond i s not so much a character i n h e r s e l f as a f o i l f o r both Dorothea and Lydgatej she acts f i r s t as an e v i l oppo-s i t e against which we are to see the merits 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 of commonness" and h i s consequent f a l l from n o b i l i t y . Thus when these two are i n the midst of t h e i r " c r i s e s " Rosamond must remain a f a i r l y stable charac-t e r i that i s , her actions must be predictable, black and white, conventional, so that our i n t e r e s t and sympathy w i l l not be deflected from Lydgate and Dorothea. I f E l i o t had f u l f i l l e d the p o t e n t i a l complexity of Rosamond as a charac-te r the c a r e f u l balance of the novel could have been upset. As we w i l l see l a t e r , t h i s i s exactly what happens with Gwendolen i n Daniel Deronda. E l i o t ' s personal intellectual'ambiguity about the pro-per place of women i n society may be a second reason f o r her f a i l u r e to carry through the analysis of Rosamond. On the one hand, E l i o t had a very sincere fellow f e e l i n g f o r w 97 trapped within 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 other she was attracted to 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 goddess-like aspect of the V i c t o r i a n feminine mystique. The a t t r a c t i o n to the l a t t e r i s under-standable, given her Peuerbachian philosophy. The pic t u r e of the passive, other-oriented female coincides p e r f e c t l y with her i d e a l s of resignation of personal w i l l . The prob-lem i s that by being so enamoured of the "good woman" she has very l i t t l e sympathy f o r the "bad woman," Rosamond. Too often E l i o t can see her only as the opposite of Dorothea, and not as a woman i n s u b s t a n t i a l l y the same "female" d i -lemma. In Qohn Stuart) M i l l one encounters the realism of sexual p o l i t i c s , i n Ruskin i t s romance and the benign aspect of i t s myth. Much of the other ~-portion of V i c t o r i a n sexual myth i s included i n Ruskin by implication, f o r his virtuous matron r e l i e s f o r her very existence on that s p e c t r a l f i g u r e of the temptress, her complement i n the period'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 classes of women, wife and whore, account f o r the socio-sexual d i v i s i o n under the double standard.9 I t i s revealing that as a model to Rosamond, E l i o t c o n t i -n u a l l y holds up Dorothea at her most s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g rather than the more sensible, down-to-earth Mary Garth. At t h e i r f i r s t meeting, E l i o t ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of t h e i r p hysical appea-rances establishes c l e a r l y her i r r e s i s t a b l e a t t r a c t i o n to the image of Dorothea as goddess, the grace and d i g n i t y were i n her limbs and neckj and about her simply parted h a i r and candid eyes the large round poke which was then i n the fate of women, seemed no more odd as a head-dress than 98 the gold trencher we c a l l a halo. (MM, 316) Her consequent antagonism to Rosamond i s evident from the next few l i n e s 1 her small hands duly set o f f with rings, and that controlled self-consciousness of manner which i s the expensive substitute f o r s i m p l i -c i t y . (MM, 316) Here we see how E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e to make Rosamond a three-dimensional character may be r e l a t e d to the aesthetic weakness of the novel recognized by most c r i t i c s — t h e i r r i t a t i n g aura of sentimentality and idealism which i n t e r - . feres with the portrayal of Dorothea. Had Rosamond been a l i t t l e l e s s demonic, perhaps Dorothea would not have had to be so angelic. ( v i ) The consideration of 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 lands us back i n the middle ' of the discussion of E l i o t ' s inconsistent treatment of Dorothea, outlined i n the introduction to t h i s chapter. The nature and meaning of that i n c o n s i s t e n c y — t h e f a l l i n g away from realism i n t o idealism and s e n t i m e n t — i s as I suggested, the problem inherent i n the Saint Theresa theme, f i r s t introduced i n the "Prelude.*' Though there i s a tinge of humour i n the f i r s t paragraph with the image of the two young childre n seeking martyrdom " u n t i l domestic r e a l i t y met them i n the shape of uncles and turned them back from t h e i r great resolve" (MM, 3) the r e s t of the 99 "Prelude" seems to be e n t i r e l y serious. We read that t h i s w i l l be the story not of a sa i n t but of one who could have been a s a i n t save f o r the lack of a "coherent s o c i a l f a i t h and order which could perform the function of knowledge f o r the ardently w i l l i n g s o u l " (MM, 3). But the bulk of the novel denies t h i s impression completely. The Dorothea to whom we are introduced does not s t r i k e us as " s a i n t l y " at a l l , despite her own attempts to create that impression. She 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 , but neither her physical appearance nor her mental a b i l i t y s t r i k e us as having any ethereal q u a l i t y . She i s not a swan among the ducklings, but simply one of the more fortunate ducklings. The strongest images i n the f i r s t chapter portray a healthy, blooming young g i r l enjoying a very worldly horse-back r i d e and applying her mind to p r a c t i c a l problems of arc h i t e c t u r e . Of course we qui c k l y discover that Dorothea's s i t u a t i o n i s complex and that she i s going through a c r i t i c a l period i n her own development, but I do not think we ever f e e l that the c o n f l i c t i n which she i s involved allows any but a purely secular i n t e r p r e t a -t i o n . Dorothea's i s not the story of a s a i n t searching f o r her c a l l i n g but of a woman t r y i n g to f i n d a place f o r her-' s e l f i n a world which refuses to admit that females may have aspirations beyond the joys of home and hearth. Part of the excitement of the chara c t e r i z a t i o n of Rosamond i s i n discovering how much she has been affected 100 by the popular notions of femininity. This i s even more so the case with Dorothea. The f i r s t chapters of Book I are laced with comments about, references to, and descrip -tions of, a society which i s t o t a l l y dominated by male values. I t does not take much of Mr. Brooke's s i l l y a n t i -feminism, There_is a lightness about the feminine mind— a touch and go—music, the f i n e a r t s , that kind of t h i n g — t h e y should study those up to a cer t a i n point, women should: but i n a l i g h t way, you know. A woman should be able to s i t down and play you or sing you a good old English tune, (MM, 48) or S i r James' b l u s t e r i n g assumptions of male s u p e r i o r i t y , A man's mind—what there i s of i t — h a s always the advantage of being masculine—as the smallest birch-tree i s of a higher kind than the most soaring palm—and even h i s ignorance i s of a soun-der q u a l i t y (MM, 17) or many descriptions of the Middlemarchian i d e a l i n feminine behaviour , Yes but not my s t y l e of woman i I l i k e a woman who lays h e r s e l f out a l i t t l e more to please us. There should be a l i t t l e f i l i g r e e about a woman— something of the coquette. A man l i k e s a sort of challenge. The more of a dead set she makes at you the better (MM, 66 ) to make i t c l e a r that the basis f o r understanding Dorothea i s to see her as an i n t e l l i g e n t , vibrant woman caught within tiie l i m i t a t i o n s of a p a t r i a r c h a l society. True, i n Dorothea's case i t i s a s i l l y patriarchy that she has to confront. But E l i o t ' s humorous presentation of Mr. Brooke or S i r James i s never intended to lessen our sympathy with Dorothea's f r u s t r a t i o n s . In t h i s case she uses humour to 101 reveal how ludicrous many of the usual assumptions of male s u p e r i o r i t y are. However, E l i o t often d i r e c t s her s a t i r e at Dorothea and I w i l l discuss the purpose and e f f e c t of t h i s l a t e r i n the chapter. Although Rosamond has c e r t a i n l y been affected by a pa-t 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 uncon-scious of i t s powerful influence. She has only the c l e v e r -ness to adapt h e r s e l f completely to the popular v a l u e s — not the i n t e l l i g e n c e to see how s t u l t i f y i n g and destructive to personal development they may be. Dorothea, on the other hand, f e e l s d i r e c t l y the pressures to conform to a c e r t a i n "feminine" stereotype. While Rosamond simply remains trapped, Dorothea struggles to f i n d more meaning and a wider scope f o r action than i s usually permitted a woman» For a long time she had been oppressed by the in d e f i n i t e n e s s which hung i n her mind, l i k e a thick summer haze, over, a l l her desire to make her l i f e g r e a t l y e f f e c t i v e . What could she do, what ought she to do?—she, hardly more than a budding woman, but yet with an active conscience and a great mental need, not to 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 to the nibblings and judgments of a d i s c u r s i v e mouse. With some endowment of conceit, she might have thought that a C h r i s t i a n young lady of fortune should f i n d her i d e a l of 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 clergy, the perusal of *Female Scripture Characters,* unfolding the private ex-perience of Sara under the Old Dispensation and Dorcas under the New, and the care of her soul over her embroidery i n her own boudoir...From such contentment poor Dorothea was shut out. (MM, 20-1) However—and t h i s i s very important i n understanding Dorothea— the l i m i t e d nature of her woman's experience w i l l determine how she t r i e s to 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 . Dorothea 102 may desire a l i f e of her own, concerned with more than "the s o l i c i t u d e s of feminine fashion", but she i s both naive and ignorant, "after that toy-box history of the world adap-ted to young la d i e s which had made the c h i e f part of her education" (MM, 6 3 ) . I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that instead of discovering some ro l e to play i n the r e a l world (she simply does not have the mental freedom to see h e r s e l f as a doctor or business person as Lydgate of Caleb Garth can) Dorothea fi n d s her way out i n a kind of r e l i g i o u s enthusiasm. Like many other f r u s t r a t e d young women she s a t i s f i e s her ambitions i n imagining 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 theoretic, and yearned by i t s nature a f t e r some l o f t y conception of the world which might fran k l y include the parish of Tipton and her own r u l e of conduct there; she was enamoured of i n t e n s i t y and greatness and rash i n embracing whatever seemed to her to have those aspects; l i k e l y to seek martyrdom a f t e r a l l i n a quarter where she had not sought i t . (MM, 6) Leaving aside f o r the moment that l a s t phrase, sug-gesting E l i o t ' s own a t t r a c t i o n to the female martyr i d e a l (which i s , a f t e r a l l , only the reverse side of the feminine mystique of which Rosamond's v i c i o u s coquettishness i s the obverse) the problem with Dorothea's altruism i s that i t i s f i r s t a way of s a t i s f y i n g her own needs and only secon-d a r i l y directed towards serving others. Thus when she f i n d s out S i r James' double motive i n supporting her cottage-b u i l d i n g she abandons not only the unfortunate baronet but also the cottages themselves and the peasants f o r whom they were intended. Although E l i o t ' s c r i t i c i s m of Dorothea, 103 i n t h i s instance and others, i s always gentle and often humorous, the development of this e g o i s t i c side of her search f o r s e l f w i l l s t i l l be one of the main concerns of the novel. Although Dorothea's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Casaubon may be concerned on one l e v e l with the c o n f l i c t between a woman's desire f o r personal s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t I t was not e n t i r e l y out of devotion to her future husband that she wished to know L a t i n and Greek. Those provinces of masculine knowledge seemed to her a standing-ground from which a l l t r u t h could be seen more truly...she had not reached that point of renunciation at which she would have been s a t i s f i e d with having a wise husband i she wished, poor c h i l d , to be wise h e r s e l f . (MM , W and a man's r e f u s a l to recognize that r i g h t , the great charm of your sex i s i t s c a p a b i l i t y of an ardent 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 herein we see i t s f i t n e s s to round and complete the existence of our own. (MM, 37) at t h i s stage of Dorothea's development E l i o t i s more con-cerned that Dorothea must recognize and deal with her own egoism. Dorothea has entered marriage with the most roman-t i c i d e a l s of service and devotion i Dorothea said to h e r s e l f that Mr. Casaubon was the most i n t e r e s t i n g man she had ever seen, not excepting Monsieur L i r e t , the Vaudois clergyman who had given conferences on the h i s t o r y of the Waldenses. To reconstruct a past world, doubtless with a view to the highest purposes of t r u t h — what a work to be i n any way present at, to a s s i s t i n , though only as a lamp-holderI (MM, 13) She now must learn the r e a l meaning of the vow to "cherish" someone i n sickness and i n health t 104 She was as b l i n d to his inward troubles as he to hersj she had not yet learned those hidden c o n f l i c t s i n her husband which claim our p i t y . She had not yet l i s t e n e d p a t i e n t l y to his heart-beats but only f e l t that 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 never was i n the s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n between Maggie and Tom i n The M i l l on the Floss that Dorothea i s not 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 rather simply accepting the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s that one human being has towards another. ( v i i ) Dorothea's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Casaubon could e a s i l y have been a r e p e t i t i o n of the Tom and Maggie story. But several important f a c t o r s change the perspective from which we i n t e r p r e t t h i s male-female ass o c i a t i o n . F i r s t , Casaubon i s treated with much more depth than Tom; there i s nothing i n The M i l l on the Floss to compare with Eliot•'s famous prelude to her analysis of Casaubon's s i t u a t i o n , but why always Dorothea? Was her point of view the only possible one with regard to t h i s marriage? (MM, 205) We r a r e l y see much more i n Tom than aggressive i n s e n s i t i v i t y to Maggie but we enter f a r enough i n t o Casaubon's mind to understand that 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 hi s own powers, both i n t e l l e c -t u a l and sexual t Suspicion and jealousy of W i l l Ladislaw's i n t e n -tions, suspicion and jealousy of Dorothea's im-105 pressions, were constantly at t h e i r weaving work. I t would be quite unjust to him to suppose that he could have entered i n t o any coarse misinter-pretation of Dorothea i his own habits of mind and conduct quite as much as the open elevation of her nature, saved him from any such mistake. What he was jealous of was her opinion, the sway that might be given to her ardent mind i n i t s judg-ments and the future p o s s i b i l i t i e s to which these might lead her. As to W i l l , though u n t i l h i s l a s t defiant l e t t e r he had nothing d e f i n i t e which he would choose formally to allege against him, he f e l t himself warranted i n b e l i e v i n g that he was capable of any design which could fascinate a r e b e l l i o u s temper and an undisciplined impulsive-ness. (MM, 307) Thus Dorothea can respond to Casaubon's personality at a more complex l e v e l than Maggie can with Tom. I t i s also because of t h i s in-depth p o r t r a i t of Casaubon that we can accept more e a s i l y E l i o t ' s c r i t i c i s m of Dorothea's egoism. In The M i l l i t was d i f f i c u l t to f e e l that Maggie's egoism was anything but a healthy reaction to her unrelieved oppression at the hands of Tom. On a more basic l e v e l , there i s a great difference i n tone between the two s t o r i e s . E l i o t presents Dorothea's s i t u a t i o n f a r l e s s melodramatically than she did Maggie's. There i s none of Maggie's rather nauseating I have received the Cross, I have received i t from thy hand: I w i l l bear i t , and bear i t t i l l death, as Thou hast l a i d i t upon me. (MF, 563) Dorothea makes her choice to submit to Casaubon with f u l l knowledge that she i s saying "'yes* to her own doomt" She saw c l e a r l y enough the whole s i t u a t i o n yet she was f e t t e r e d i she could 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 I t i s cl e a r , as i t was not i n The M i l l on. the Floss, that Dorothea t r u l y submits to the t i e s of a f f e c t i o n and sympathy. She i s not, l i k e Maggie being forced by both the male character and E l i o t i n t o the ro l e of female martyr. Neither the law nor the world's opinion compelled her to t h i s — o n l y her husband's nature and her own compassion, only the i d e a l and not the r e a l -yoke of marriage. (MM, 353) I f Dorothea had been saying "'yes', to her own doom" for the r e s t of her l i f e i t would have been d i f f i c u l t not to i n t e r p r e t her submission to Casaubon as E l i o t ' s appro-v a l of the t r a d i t i o n a l i d e a l of feminine martyrdom. But fortunately f o r both Dorothea and the novel, Casaubon dies before she can t e l l him of her decision. And so, just at* the point where Maggie's story ends, Dorothea's l i f e be-gins again. ( v i i i ) During the eighteen months of her marriage to Casaubon, Dorothea has to come to terms with her egoism, but the prob-lem of the other side of her search f o r s e l f - i d e n t i t y , the need f o r some greater meaning i n her l i f e than i s usually allowed to women, s t i l l remains to be resolved. When she discovers the terms of Casaubon's w i l l , Dorothea f e e l s r e -leased from the t o t a l self-suppression which he had demanded of h e n Bound by a pledge given from the depths of her pi t y , she would have been capable of undertaking a t o i l which her judgment whispered was vain f o r a l l uses except that consecration of f a i t h f u l n e s s 107 which i s a supreme use. But now her judgment, instead of being controlled by duteous devotion, was made active by the embittering discovery that i n her past union there had lurked the hidden a l i e n a t i o n of secrecy and suspicion. (MM, 362) She i s now more mature, having learned something of the r e a l i t y of a woman's l i f e , I used to despise 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 doing better things. I was very fond of doing as I l i k e d , but I have almost given i t up. (MM, 397) But she i s once more anxious f o r a l i f e of action and pur-pose, Dorothea's native strength of w i l l was no longer a l l converted i n t o resolute submission. (MM, 391) Here, however, Dorothea runs up against exactly the same b a r r i e r s to her freedom she encountered before her marriage. In the second phase of her story we are back to the context and the themes that so c o n t r o l l e d the f i r s t chapters of Book I . There i s s t i l l nothing f o r Dorothea to doj she has to face a l i f e of "motiveless ease" (MM, 39*0 where shfc plays d r a s t i c a l l y l i m i t e d r o l e s . One i s the adoring aunt to her nephew Arthur 1 A f t e r three months F r e s h i t t had become rather oppressive, to s i t l i k e a model f o r Saint Catherine looking rapturously at C e l i a ' s baby would not do f o r many hours i n the day, and to remain i n that momentous babe's presence with p e r s i s t e n t d i s r e -gard was a course that could not have been t o -lerated 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 recognize her i n f a n t nephew as Bouddha, and has nothing to do f o r him but to admire, h i s behaviour i s apt to appear monotonous, and the i n t e r e s t of watching him exhaustible. (MM, 390) Another i s the widow i n search of a husband, and Mrs. Cadwal-108 ladder i s more than w i l l i n g to give her assistance. I t w i l l be well f o r her to marry again as soon as i t i s proper, i f one could get her among the r i g h t people. Of course the Chettams would not wish i t . But I see c l e a r l y a husband i s the best thing to keep her i n order. I f we were not so poor I would i n v i t e Lord T r i t o n . He w i l l be mar-quis some day, and there i s no denying that she would make a good marchioness: she looks handsomer than ever i n her mourning. (MM, 392) S i r James would not allow her even t h i s freedom, and i n his sentimental way he prefers to imagine her as pure and un-touched i To his secret f e e l i n g , there was something r e p u l -sive i n a woman's second marriage, and no match would prevent him from seeing i t a sort of dese-c r a t i o n f o r Dorothea. He was aware that the world would regard such a sentiment as preposterous, e s p e c i a l l y i n r e l a t i o n to a woman of one-and-twenty: the practice' of "the world" being to t r e a t of a young widow's second marriage as c e r t a i n and probably near, and to smile with meaning i f the widow acts accordingly. But i f Dorothea did choose to espouse her solitude, he f e l t that the r e s o l u -t i o n would well become her. (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 Ladislaw and a second marriage. Although t h i s creates d e f i n i t e t h e o r e t i c a l and aesthetic problems i n the novel, I cannot agree with the thoughtless judgment tossed o f f by Kate M i l l e t t i n Sexual P o l i t i c s ! Dorothea's predicament i n Middlemarch i s an e l o -quent plea that a f i n e mind be allowed an occu-pation! but i t goes no further than p e t i t i o n . She marries W i l l Ladislaw and can expect no more of l i f e than the discovery of a good companion whom she can serve as secretary. l° Such a c r i t i c i s m does not take i n t o account Dorothea's h i s -tory. I f she does not gain f u l l emancipation by marrying 109 W i l l , she gains at l e a s t . a measure of personal f u l f i l m e n t she could not have had otherwise. Had she remained single her 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 too ignorant and the world of Middlemarch too narrow f o r her to accomplish anything on her own. She has only the vaguest and most romantic ideas of what she might do« I have d e l i g h t f u l plans. I should l i k e to take a great deal of land and drain 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 of 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 not f i n d much support i n a small country town were, as C e l i a puts i t of course men know best about everything, except what women know better...about babies and things. (MM. 539) Certainly, a confirmed feminist wouldranot f i n d the marriage i d e a l . In 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 -with Casaubon i n miniature. Dorothea s t i l l i n s i s t s on seeing W i l l as mentor, as someone greater and wiser than h e r s e l f . She i s attracted to him because she fancies him as somewhat of a rebel , an i d e a l i s t to whom she can devote her energies, the wrongs which she f e l t that W i l l had, received from her husband, and the external conditions which to others were grounds f o r s l i g h t i n g him, only gave the more tenacity to her a f f e c t i o n and admiring judgment. (MM, 566) But there are important differences between her marriage to Casaubon and W i l l whichimake the l a t t e r more acceptable. I f W i l l has always been somewhat of a rebel, so has Doro-thea i i t gives them a kind of equality that she never had with 110 Casaubon. Furthermore there i s i n t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with W i l l an out l e t f o r Dorothea's repressed se x u a l i t y . Though i n Kate M i l l e t ' s terms sexual f u l f i l l m e n t may have l e s s value than s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n through meaningful work, i t i s f o r Dorothea at l e a s t more than the complete s e l f - s a c r i -f i c e on which E l i o t i n s i s t s f o r Maggie T u l l i v e r . The marriage i s disturbing, however, mostly because E l i o t i n f a c t seems to be saying that therein l i e s the com-plete answer to the d i f f i c u l t i e s of Dorothea's and a woman's s i t u a t i o n . She suggests i n the Finale that many who knew her, thought i t a p i t y that so sub-stantive and rare a creature should have been absorbed i n t o the l i f e of another, and be only known i n a c e r t a i n c i r c l e as a wife and mother. (MM, 611) But the comment i s ascribed to others and not h e r s e l f . And i n the statement following the above quotation, she a d r o i t l y avoids the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of answering the questions she h e r s e l f posed at the beginning of the novel« But no one stated exactly what else that was i n her power she ought rather to have done—not even S i r James Chettham, who went no further than theinegative p r e s c r i p t i o n that she ought not to have married W i l l Ladislaw. (MM, 611) No doubt there i s l i t t l e else that Dorothea could have done? but that very f a c t implies a severe c r i t i c i s m of Middle-marchian ideas about women which E l i o t has refused to carry. to a conclusion. In the f i r s t e d i t i o n of the novel E l i o t did draw attention to t h i s very point, Among the many remarks passed on her mistakes, i t was never said i n the neighbourhood of Middlemarch I l l that such mistakes could not have happened i f the society i n t o which she was horn had not smiled on propositions of marriage from a s i c k l y man to a g i r l l e s s than h a l f h i s own age--on modes of education which make a woman's knowledge another name f o r motley i g n o r a n c e — on rule s of conduct which are i n f l a t contradic-t i o n with i t s own loudly-asserted b e l i e f s . But i n the e d i t i o n of 1874 t h i s passage was deleted. Barbara Hardy says that by t h i s change "any suggestion of a feminist moral i s con t r o l l e d and extended by the complex p l o t , which puts Dorothea i n her place as an example l e s s of a feminine 11 problem than of the f r u s t r a t i o n s of the human condition." But I think, 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 misleading one. Granted there are many aspects to Dorothea's story, but at l e a s t one of them i s her 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 feminist s o l u -t i o n . But Barbara Hardy's statement ignores the impact of both the f i r s t few chapters of Middlemarch and the s i t u a t i o n i n which Dorothea find s h e r s e l f a f t e r Casaubon's death. To Dorothea's poignant plea of "What can I do?" E l i o t i s not gi v i n g an answer to the human condition but the anti-f e m i -n i s t answer to the "woman s i t u a t i o n " — l o v e , marriage and motherhood. True, Dorothea goes through some agony before she can have W i l l Ladislaw but I would suggest that the antagonism of her family towards him and the shock of seeing W i l l with Rosamond are no more s i g n i f i c a n t i n t h e i r e f f e c t than the usual obstacles the f a m i l i a r romantic heroine has to overcome before she can "get her man" and l i v e happily 112 ever a f t e r . Though the above may be a rather s i m p l i s t i c i n t e r p r e -t a t i o n of the meaning of Dorothea and W i l l ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p , i t i s only reinforced by the tone with which E l i o t t r e a ts t h e i r romance. And romance i t i s . The meetings between the two future lovers are f i l l e d with tedious sentimentali-ty. Dorothea i s forever gushing, "Oh my l i f e i s very simple," said Dorothea, her l i p s c u r l i n g with an exquisite smile, which i r r i d a t e d her melancholy. "I am always at Lo-wick." "That i s a dreadful imprisonment," said W i l l , impetuously. "No, don't think that," said Dorothea. "I have no longings." He d i d not speak, but she r e p l i e d to some change i n h i s expression. "I mean, f o r myself. Except that I should l i k e not to have so much more than my share without doing anything f o r others. But I have a b e l i e f of my own and i t comforts me." "What i s that?" said W i l l , rather jealous of 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 quite know what i t i s and cannot do what we would, we are part of the divine power against 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 ma-king the struggle with darkness narrower." (MM, 28?) For his part, W i l l i s i n a constant state of worshipful adoration i she was not c o l d l y clever and d i r e c t l y s a t i r i c a l , but adorably simple and f u l l of f e e l i n g . She was an angel beguiled. I t would be a unique d e l i g h t to wait and watch f o r the melodious fragments i n which her heart and soul came f o r t h so d i r e c t l y and ingenuously. (MM, 1 5 5 ) And through i t a l l the author looks indulgently on: Their young d e l i g h t i n speaking to each other, and saying what no one else would care to hear, was forever ended and become a treasure of the past. For t h i s very reason she dwelt on i t 113 without inward check. That unique happiness too was dead, and i n i t s shadowed s i l e n t chamber she might vent the passionate g r i e f which she her-s e l f wondered at...She did not know that i t was Love who had come to her b r i e f l y , as i n a dream before awakening, with the hues of morning on his w i n g s — t h a t i t was Love to whom she was sobbing her farewell as his image was banished by the blameless rigour of i r r e s i s t a b l e day. (MM, 399) Even the implied sexuality of the a f f a i r i s not very s a t i s -f a c tory. I t i s hard to believe that Dorothea's needs w i l l be f u l f i l l e d i n a marriage where the partners are more often r e f e r r e d to as chi l d r e n rather than as responsible adults seeking a mature r e l a t i o n s h i p i They were looking a t each other l i k e two fond ch 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 of birds (MM, 287) W i l l followed her, s e i z i n g her hand with a spasmodic movements and so they stood, with t h e i r hands clasped, l i k e two ch i l d r e n , looking out on the storm,..(MM, (MM, 593) This second quotation, taken from the couple's engagement scene, may be a d i r e c t reference to the two children imaged -i n the "Prelude", but 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 to Dorothea's f r u s t r a t i o n s ? She may s t i l l be naive, but surely the experience of her f i r s t marriage has matured her enough that we regard her as a woman and not a mere g i r l . I f the representation of her and W i l l as chi l d r e n were s a t i r i c or i r o n i c there would be no d i f f i c u l t y ^ b u t neither of the scenes quoted above has any such overtones. On the contrary, the author-onlooker presents these incidents with a misty-eyed indulgence that completely ignores or avoids the 114 r e a l i t i e s of marriage. I f Dorothea could he c r i t c i z e d i n the f i r s t chapters of the novel f o r i d e a l i z i n g marriage, the f a u l t i s now E l i o t ' s . And I think t h i s i s one of the clues to the novel's weakness. The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Dorothea which E l i o t begins by s a t i r i z i n g — h e r naivety and desire f o r martyrdom—are the very ones she ends by i d e a l i -zing. The most d i s t r e s s i n g aspect of t h i s marriage as a res o l u t i o n to Dorothea's struggle f o r s e l f - i d e n t i t y i s the att i t u d e to Dorothea demonstrated by both W i l l and E l i o t h e r s e l f . W i l l does not see Dorothea as simply 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 kind of goddess. From the f i r s t , Ladislaw places Dorothea on a pedestal and worships her t Dorothea, he said to himself, was forever en-throned i n h i s s o u l i no other woman could s i t higher than her f o o t s t o o l . (MM, 344) Though E l i o t often views Ladislaw i r o n i c a l l y , "a kind of Shelley you know" (MM, 2 6 3 ) , she us u a l l y concurs completely i n h i s image of Dorothea as a r a r i f i e d unearthly creature 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 greatness to h e n I t was b e a u t i f u l to see how Dorothea's eyes turned with w i f e l y anxiety and beseeching to Mr. Casaubont she would have l o s t some of her halo i f she had been without that duteous preoccupation. (MM, 1 6 2 ) Sometimes when Dorothea was i n company, there seemed to be as complete an a i r of repose about her as i f she had been a picture of Santa Bar-bara looking out from her tower i n t o the cl e a r a i r . (MM, 65) 115 Such overly romantic descriptions are e a s i l y c r i t i -cized on the grounds of sentiment alone. However, the more important problem i s that they are s e r i o u s l y intended as pr e c i s e l y i l l u s t r a t i v e of one of the supposed themes of the n o v e l — t h e Saint Theresa image introduced i n "The Prelude." But regardless of what E l i o t ' s i n t e n t i o n may be, the Saint Theresa theme simply does not work and i s more than anything else an i r r i t a t i n g note that keeps cropping up as the action progresses. For those goddess-like images are i n d i r e c t contradiction to the bleak but highly r e a l i s t i c picture of Dorothea constructed as the novel p r o g r e s s e s — the i n t e l l i g e n t , enthusiastic, yet t y p i c a l woman t r y i n g to make some sense out of the p a t r i a r c h a l world i n which she i s trapped. E l i o t i n s i s t s on gi v i n g greatness to Dorothea when i t has been the main force of the novel to demand her equal i t y . Take, f o r instance, W i l l ' s attitude towards Dorothea i W i l l ' s admiration was accompanied with a c h i l l i n g sense of remoteness. A man i s seldom ashamed of f e e l i n g that he cannot love a woman so w e l l when he sees a c e r t a i n greatness i n herj nature having intended greatness f o r men. (MM, 285) Or again, comments l i k e Lydgate'SJ This young creature has a heart large enough f o r the V i r g i n Mary. She evidently thinks nothing of her own future, and would pledge away h a l f her income at once, as i f she wanted nothing f o r h e r s e l f but a chair to s i t i n from which she can look down with those c l e a r eyes at the poor mortals who pray to her. She seems to have what I never saw i n any woman b e f o r e — a fountain of frien d s h i p towards men—a man can make a f r i e n d of her. (MM, 563) 116 These words put Dorothea not "beside" but "above" the males. In passages such as the above the novel loses touch with the v e r a c i t y of the Dorothea p o r t r a i t by changing her r o l e from Woman to Madonna. I t becomes d i s t r e s s i n g l y c l e a r that E l i o t meant to c r i t i c i z e only the e g o i s t i c side of Dorothea's desire f o r martyrdom; of the martyrdom i t s e l f , as an i d e a l of feminine behaviour, she f u l l y approves. E l i o t ' s lapses i n t o idealism and sentiment i n her por-t r a y a l of Dorothea are the more obvious because e a r l i e r i n the novel these same aspects of Dorothea have been presented i n a humorous or s a t i r i c a l manner. Although, as David Daiches suggests, i t i s sometimes not c l e a r whether E l i o t i s being 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 with which the word 'poor' i s used i n 12 i t s frequent association with the main characters" ) there i s no doubt that i n the e a r l y chapters of Dorothea's h i s t o r y we are meant to view her various r e l i g i o u s posturings with some amusement. This use of humour does not mean that we lose i n t e r e s t i n Dorothea or that the motives behind her actions are any le s s v a l i d , but we are shown how f a r from her r e a l needs i s her desire 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, despite the suggestions of the "Prelude," we see Dorothea not as an extraordinary person, but as an i n t e l l i g e n t woman fr 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. To us, what she "needs" i s a l i f e of action i n the r e a l world, not a place 117 i n the heavenly ch o i r . Her naive ideas about the glorious duties of marriage, her constant desire to "give up" things and her rather grandiose schemes f o r the betterment of man-kind have the kind of humour i n them that an adult often f e e l s at remembering his or her own adolescent f a n t a s i e s . The element of egoism, Dorothea's desire f o r some personal recognition through her "good works," also of course forms part of our laughter. The problem i s E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e to see her irony as pointing up anything but t h i s element of egoism. E l i o t does not r e a l i z e the f u l l breadth of her own humour. With or without that egoism many of Dorothea's att i t u d e s would s t i l l be, i f not s i l l y , at l e a s t unbelievable. For instance, i n the f i r s t chapter, during the d i v i s i o n of her mother's jewels, we are surely meant to smile a l i t t l e at Dorothea's entrapment i n her own b e l i e f i n the necessity of renouncing a l l worldly 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 , " said Dorothea. Then, l e t t i n g her hand f a l l on the table, she said i n another tone—"Yet what miserable men f i n d such things, and work at them, and s e l l them!" She paused again, and C e l i a thought that her s i s t e r was going to renounce the orna-ments, as i n consistence she ought to do. (MM, 10) Yet near the end of the novel, a f t e r Dorothea has spent her famous night on the cold, hard f l o o r of her bedroom scourging h e r s e l f over her s e l f i s h desire to have W i l l Ladislaw's love, E l i o t does not seem to recognize how l u -dicrous Dorothea becomes i n Tantripp's expostulation on the manner i n which her mistress has passed the n i g h t i 118 "Why, madam, you've never been i n bed t h i s blessed night," burst out Tantripp, looking f i r s t at the bed and then at Dorothea's face, which i n s p i t e of bathing had the pale cheeks and pink eyelids of a mater dolorosa* "You'll k i l l yourself, you w i l l . Anybody might think now you had a r i g h t to give yourself a l i t t l e comfort." (MM, 578) Dorothea's b e a u t i f i c rejoinder i s given i n f u l l seriousness. I f there i s any joke here at a l l , Tantripp and her materia-l i s t i c concern about aches and pains are meant to be the butt of i t — n o t the s a i n t l y Dorothea. But frankly, I think we f i n d i t the other way around, and would consider i t one of the funniest scenes i n the novel were i t not that at t h i s p a r t i c u l a r moment Dorothea i s supposed to have reached true maturity 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 of humour and gushing idealism occur over and over i n the novel. I have mentioned pre-v i o u s l y the references to Dorothea and W i l l as c h i l d r e n . At the beginning of the novel they are both c h i l d r e n and references to her naivety and his romanticism are amusing, reve a l i n g the maturity each must develop. But the same comments, presented s e r i o u s l y at the end of the novel, are only d i s t r e s s i n g . These two people should not be amusing any longer, but they a r e — t h e y are laughable. W i l l ' s charming impetuosity i s wearing a b i t t h i n by t h i s point and Doro-thea's wide-eyed innocence makes her a mere caricature of the V i c t o r i a n image of pure and g u i l e l e s s womanhood. Many of E l i o t ' s descriptions of Dorothea's physical appearance f a l l i n t o the same pattern. Having been t o l d of Naumann's 119 boyish romanticism we tend to think that i t i s some of that idealism which makes him describe Dorothea i n r e l i g i o u s terms i Here stands beauty i n i t s breathing l i f e , with the consciousness of C h r i s t i a n centuries i n i t s bosom. But she should be dressed as a nun; I think she looks almost what you c a l l a Quaker; I would dress her as a nun i n my p i c t u r e . (MM, 140) But there i s no s a t i r e intended when E l i o t h e r s e l f describes Dorothea i n almost the same words, she was clad i n Quakerish grey drapery; her long cloak, fastened at the neck, was thrown backward from her arms, and one b e a u t i f u l ungloved hand pillowed her cheek, pushing somewhat backward the white beaver bonnet which made a sort of halo to her face around the simply braided dark-brown h a i r . (MM, 140) I t i s these r e l i g i o u s references to Dorothea, the sense established p a r t i c u l a r l y a f t e r Casaubon's death that Doro-thea i s not an ordinary woman but "better than anyone" (MM, 5 8 6 ) , which weaken the force of the novel. Her desire f o r martrydom, which we were led to i n t e r p r e t as a reaction to her f r u s t r a t i o n at her i n a b i l i t y to f i n d any i d e n t i t y for h e r s e l f i n a male-dominated world, i s now being presented as the answer to a l l her problems. And i f Arnold Kettle i s r i g h t when he says that one of the c r u c i a l "ideas" of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was the "growing consciousness of women of the necessity of t h e i r emancipa-t i o n (by which i s not meant mere formal emancipation, par-liamentary votes, etc.) and the i n a b i l i t y of c l a s s society to admit such freedom," and that " i t i s from the examina-t i o n of such s i t u a t i o n s that the a r t i s t makes contact 120 with 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 saint, which puts her "a-bove" or "outside of" 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 serious f a i l u r e i n both the power and meaning of the novel. (ix) In her novels George E l i o t always seems to s t a r t with the problem of egoism. When she looks i n her female charac-ters f o r the cause of egoism she most often finds that i t i s intimately r e l a t e d to t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n a repressive male-dominated society—whether the character i s a Rosamond who i s trained i n t o s e l f i s h coquetry or a Dorothea, who i n a t -tempting to make a meaningful l i f e f o r h e r s e l f , i s often blinded to the needs of others. But whatever the case, on© cannot help f e e l i n g that i n working out solutions f o r her female characters E l i o t has also made some committment to reconsider the t r a d t i o n a l concepts of the r i g h t s and needs of women as people. This, however, does not happen. The problems of her women characters demand a complete reordering of society with which E l i o t cannot r e a l l y come to terms. In her anxiety to restore s t a b i l i t y to the disrupted world she sees so c l e a r l y , E l i o t (and many other V i c t o r i a n s ) takes what can only now be c a l l e d the easy way out. She c a l l s f o r resignation, 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 to the destructive side of t h e i r egoism but which scarcely provide a s a t i s f a c t o r y 121 answer to Dorothea's attempt, and Rosamond's very observable need, to break out of the highly r e s t r i c t e d patterns of accepted feminine behaviour. 122 NOTES 1 Arnold Kettle, An Introduction to the English. Novel, volume I (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960), p. 188. 2 George E l i o t , Middlemarch, ed. Gordon S. Haight (Boston: The Riverside Press, 1968), p. 610. Subsequent references are to t h i s e d i t i o n and are contained i n the text. 3 Mary Wollstonecraft, "Observations on the State of Degrada-t i o n to Which Woman Is Reduced by Various Causes," i n Women's  Liberation and Literature, ed. Elaine Showalter (New York: Har-court Brace Jovanovich, 1971), p. 10. David Daiches, George E l i o t : Middlemarch (London: Edward Ar-nold, 1963), p. 57. 5 Mary Ellmann. Thinking About Women (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968), p. 194. 6 Mary Wollstonecraft, "Observations", p. 16. 7 F. R. Leavis, The Great Tradition (Penguin Books, 1948), p. 81. 8 Daiches, p. 27. Kate M i l l e t t , Sexual P o l i t i c s (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1970), p. 89. 10 Ibid., p. 139. 11 Barbara Hardy, The Novels of George E l i o t : A Study i n Form (London: The Athlone Press, 1959), p. 52. 12 Daiches, p. 8. 13 Kettle, p. 71. IV Daniel Deronda ( i ) I t would make a neat l i t t l e c r i t i c a l package to say-that i n her l a s t novel George E l i o t f i n a l l y achieves com-plete success i n dealing with a woman c h a r a c t e r — t h a t the t h e o r e t i c a l and a r t i s t i c problems of Maggie i n The M i l l on  the Floss and those of Dorothea and Rosamond i n Middlemarch are resolved i n the story of Gwendolen Harleth. On a f i r s t reading of Daniel Deronda we are tempted to reach t h i s conclusion. Through s u f f e r i n g Gwendolen transcends the s e l -fishness which had been so destructive to h e r s e l f and others t she was experiencing some of that peacful melan-choly which comes from the renunciation of demands fo r s e l f , and from taking the ordinary good of existence and e s p e c i a l l y kindness, even from a dog, as a g i f t above expectation.* But she does-not i n the process appear to become e i t h e r s a i n t or martyr. This,time, perhaps, E l i o t has kept one of her own basic assumptions about a l l female egoism i n c l e a r view throughout the novel i that i t s cause i s , at l e a s t par-t a i l l y , woman's repression i n p a t r i a r c h a l society. In the open-ended conclusion to Gwendolen's story E l i o t seems to suggest that the old answers fo r women—marriage, mother-hood and c h a r i t y work—are simply inadequate. As Barbara Hardy puts it» 123 124 Gwendolen i s not l i k e Maggie T u l l i v e r , whose prob-lems are solved by death, or l i k e the preceding heroines, Esther Lyon i n F e l i x Holt or Dorothea i n Middlemarch whose problems are solved by mar-riag e . She stands alone at the end of the novel, fac i n g the question-mark of the future....Gwen-dolen i s not only alone, propped up neither by death nor marriage, but has to s t a r t on a new set of expectations. She has found that what seemed l i k e a possible happy-ever-after was i n f a c t a new and p a i n f u l beginning i n which many of the things she had l e a r n t would be l o s t , retested and rediscovered. We are l e f t with a new r e f u s a l to s i m p l i f y the nature of moral development, as w e l l as with a new kind of ending to a novel. I t i s an ending which leaves us with a true 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 complexity and toughness. 2 "A new r e f u s a l to s i m p l i f y the nature of moral development"— does t h i s mean that i n Daniel Deronda we are f i n a l l y dealing with a female character who must face the world, as an adult without any easy answers, who i s not a r b i t r a r i l y manipulated i n t o one of the t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e s of her sex? Has E l i o t f i n a l l y resolved the contradiction which has flawed the pre-^ sentation of her other women characters—where so often b r i l -l i a n t analysis of the e f f e c t s of male supremacy has turned i n t o worship of the V i c t o r i a n v i s i o n of the i d e a l woman. Almost as soon as one answer "yes" to these questions, the suspicions" begin to crop up. Along with Gwendolen— a new, complex and e x c i t i n g p o r t r a i t of a woman—Eliot has created the p a i n f u l l y s t e r o t y p i c a l and highly sentimentalized figu r e of Mirah. Equally d i s t r e s s i n g are the virtuous and smug Meyrick women, constantly and uncomplainingly sacrifi-^. cing f o r the rather s i l l y and d i l e t t a n t i s h Hans and revering everything Daniel Deronda says or does. And what about 125 Deronda himself? 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 act as the agent through whom Gwendolen w i l l work out her suspicion and hatred of men? Do not the meetings between the two have a continually i r r i t a t i n g and unfinished q u a l i t y compared to the immediacy of Gwendolen's n e e d s — i s not Deronda's counselling vague? And l a s t l y , E l i o t ' s treatment of the A l c h a r i s i , Deronda's mother, i s both confusing and ambiguous. The A l c h a r i s i ' s story i s almost i d e n t i c a l to that of Armgart i n the long poem of the same name. In both cases E l i o t seems at once sympathetic and condemnatory towards these women characters. She r e -veals with great sympathy the f r u s t r a t i o n s which have forced both to r e v o l t against the repressive demands of a p a t r i a r -cahl father or l o v e r and to attempt an independent career f o r themselves. Yet she i n s i s t s that t h i s kind or " e g o i s t i c " r e b e l l i o n must be punished. Armgart rather melodramatically loses her voice and the A l c h a r i s i begins to s u f f e r from equally unbelievable "apparitions i n the darkness" (DD, 6 9 3 ) , The treatment of Mirah, the Meyrick family, the Alcha-r i s i . and Deronda's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Gwendolen a l l point to a very t r a d i t i o n a l a t t i t u d e toward women and t h e ^ r e l a -tionship between men and women. This i n i t s e l f does not n e c e s s a r i l y weaken a novel (or poem, or play) as a piece of a r t . The problem occurs when that t r a d i t i o n a l view of women d i r e c t l y contradicts a stronger and more a e s t h e t i c a l l y s a t s i f y i n g r a d i c a l a n a l y s i s . And, as i n a l l her other no-126 v e l s , t h i s i s the case with Daniel Deronda. Compared to Gwendolen, the other women characters are f l a t , uninteresting and rather d i s t a s t e f u l i n t h e i r perfect goodness and p u r i t y . Even t h i s would not matter i f , as F.R. Leavis suggests, we could separate one part of the novel from the other and concentrate on the immediate: story of Gwendolen Harleth. This i s c e r t a i n l y an appealing solution, but alas, i t i s impossible. Regardless of how i n f e r i o r the p o r t r a i t s of Fdrah and her i l k may be, the at t i t u d e informing that kind of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of woman subtly controls the r e s t of the novel and ultimately determines the d i r e c t i o n of Gwen-dolen's process of growth. As I hope to show, Barbara Hardy i s not altogether correct i n her anal y s i s ; Daniel  Deronda does not contain "a new r e f u s a l to s i m p l i f y the nature of moral development." In the f i n a l analysis, the problems that Gwendolen presents are ignored and l i k e her 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 crea-t o r . ( i i ) The contention that E l i o t turns to t r a d i t i o n a l ideas about women i n working out a soluti o n f o r Gwendolen has meaning only i f E l i o t has established that Gwendolen's po-s 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 understanding both her character and actions. Up to t h i s point I have merely stated, not proven, that t h i s i s the case. A close 127 examination i s required of the f i r s t two b i l l i a n t books, "The Spoiled C h i l d " and "Meeting Streams" to determine the frame of reference within which we come to know Gwendolen and i t s e f f e c t on our expectations of where the novel should go. In Chapter Three we saw how with Rosamond, E l i o t begins to go beneath the surface of a type of female character whose personality i s u s u a l l y accounted f o r by some f a c i l e reference to the " e v i l " side of the feminine nature. By c h a r a c t e r i z i n g Rosamond i n a c l e a r l y defined s o c i a l system which places l i t t l e value on women except as decorative objects, and by entering i n t o Rosamond's consciousness of h e r s e l f , E l i o t shows how Rosamond's egoism has the same kind of complexity, though to a much l e s s e r degree, as Maggie's or Dorothea's. In Daniel Deronda E l i o t goes much further. As Jerome Thale comments t For George E l i o t — a n d very nearly f o r English fiction—Gwendolen Harleth 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 nineteenth cen-tury even more than i n our own time i t was ex-tremely d i f f i c u l t f o r the a r t i s t to formulate and render a s a t i s f a c t o r y set of at t i t u d e s t o -wards such a character. In Middlemarch George E l i o t was learning how to triumph over her a f f e c t i o n f o r her character; she succeeded most f u l l y i n Lydgate, f o r with Dorothea there i s a c e r t a i n amount of sympathy that the a r t has not digested. She was learning also i n Middlemarch how to triumph over aversion, and she did so i n the p o r t r a i t s of Rosamond and Bulstrode. Cer-t a i n l y the presentation of Gwendolen has nothing of the harsh and a c t i n i c q u a l i t y of Hetty's i n Adam Bede. 3 The "seriousness" to which Thale points marks the difference 128 between E l i o t ' s handling of Rosamond and Gwendolen. In Rosamond there i s a tentative and unfinished i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the b i t c h character. With Gwendolen, E l i o t undertakes a f u l l exploration of the circumstances which combine to create t h i s p a r t i c u l a r kind of woman. Between the two c r u c i a l scenes of the f i r s t part of the n o v e l — a f t e r Gwendolen f i r s t encounters Grandcourt at the archery contest and before she i s singled out by him at the b a l l — E l i o t pauses f o r a moment to l e t us l i s t e n to the conversation of some of the male members of Gwendolen's s o c i a l c i r c l e t I t was the ru l e of these occasions f o r the l a d i e s and gentlemen to dine apart, so that the dinner might make a time of comparative ease and r e s t f o r both. Indeed the gentlemen had a set of archery s t o r e i s about the epicurism of the l a d i e s , who had somehow been reported to show a r e v o l t i n g l y masculine judgment i n venison, even asking f o r the f a t — a proof of the f r i g h t f u l rate at which corrup-t i o n might go on i n women, but f o r severe s o c i a l r e s t r a i n t . And every year the amiable Lord Brack-enshaw, who was something of a gourmet, mentioned Byron's opinion that a woman should 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 admitting h i s concurrence i n that sentiment of the ref i n e d poet. (DD, 150) Although t h i s i n c i d e n t i s treated humourously i t r e i n f o r c e s the strong impression given throughout the novel of the degree to which a woman's a c c e p t a b i l i t y i s determined by male ideas of femininity (and equally the degree to which male vanity i s fed by the assumption that women w i l l act exactly as men want them t o ) . This i s a f a c t o r which a f f e c t s Gwendolen p a r t i c u l a r l y . Her precarious economic p o s i t i o n — 129 not secure enough to assure independence nor poor enough to necessitate obsequiousness—forces her to 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 doing everything one can to gain male approval, 1 s t gent i What should woman be? S i r consult the taste Of marriageable men. This planet's store In i r o n , cotton, wood or c h e m i c a l s — A l l matter rendered to our p l a s t i c s k i l l , Is wrought i n shapes responsive to demand The market's pulse makes index high or low By r u l e sublime. Our daughters must be wives And to be wives must be what men w i l l choose Men's taste i s woman's tex t . . . . (DJD, 132) Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n i s further complicated i n that she i s c l e a r l y the focus f o r her whole family's hopes and dreams of greater f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y and higher s o c i a l p restige. This i s the attitude of her uncle Gascoigne, who i n doing what he f e e l s i s best f o r his wife's r e l a t i o n s , regards Gwendolen as more a marketable commodity than a human beingJ This g i r l i s r e a l l y worth some expense* you don't often see her equal. She ought to make a f i r s t -rate marriage, and I should not be doing my duty i f I spared my trouble i n helping her forward. (DD, 66) By her d e s c r i p t i o n of men l i k e the Rector—and on a much more menacing l e v e l , Grandcourt and L u s h — E l i o t shows how deeply ingrained i s the i d e a of woman as object. Of course Gwendolen does not consciously think of h e r s e l f i n t h i s way. She may accept the ultimate necessity of mar* r i a g e — " t h a t she was to married some time or other she would have f e l t obliged to admit" (DD, 6 8 ) — b u t she does not, con-s c i o u s l y at l e a s t , think of h e r s e l f as a v i c t i m of a p a r t i -c u l a r s o c i a l system. On the contrary, Gwendolen naively be-130 l i e v e s she holds a l l the power i n male/female r e l a t i o n s h i p s ! "Is i t d i f f i c u l t to make Miss Harleth under-stand her power?" Here Grandcourt had turned to Mrs. Davilow who smiling gently at her daughter, s a i d — "I think she does not generally s t r i k e people as slow to understand." "Mamma," said Gwendolen, i n a deprecating tone, "I am adorably stupid, and want everything explained to me—when the meaning i s pleasant." "I f you are stupid, I admit that s t u p i d i t y i s adorable," returned Grandcourt, a f t e r the usual pause, and without change of tone. But c l e a r l y he knew what to 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 difference i n our understanding and Gwendolen's of Grandeourt's comment about her "power" over him. What he tosses o f f as merely one of the necessary preludes to courtship, she revels i n as l i t e r a l t r u th t Gwendolen had no sense that these men were dark enigmas to her, or that she needed any help i n drawing conclusions about them—Mr. Grandcourt at l e a s t . (DD, 159) At t h i s point i n her l i f e Gwendolen operates only on the l e v e l of appearances. She does not yet understand that the f l a t t e r y and apparent power given to women i s often mere chivalrous compensation f o r the domination to which they must eventually submit. In t h i s l i g h t then, her egoism, l i k e Rosamond's, i s not r e a l l y s u r p r i s i n g . But Gwendolen i s not stnipid and she should--perhaps l i k e Catherine Arrowpoint—be able to see beneath the sur-face of such s o c i a l games to the r e a l i t y of her own s i t u -a t i o n . However, she has been given almost no assistance, and i t would be a great deal to expect of one indivdual that 131 alone she would be able to overcome the e f f e c t s of an environ-ment where " i t must be remembered that no one had disputed her power or her general s u p e r i o r i t y . " (DD, 7 0 ) . I t i s a l -most useless to argue what Gwendolen should be or should have done when again and again one sees that her natural i n t e l l i -gence and enthusiasm have been given no healthy d i r e c t i o n . As f o r formal education, Gwendolen l i k e Rosamond has gone to one of the "showy" g i r l s ' schools where any natural vanity i s only encouragedt That on a l l occasions f o r display she had been put foremost had only deepened her sense that so excep-t i o n a l a person as h e r s e l f could hardly remain i n ordinary circumstances 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, 52) Academic study f o r g i r l s i s thought of as a kind of necessary s o c i a l p o l i s h , and what l i t t l e of i t Gwendolen receives hardly prepares her f o r an adult l i f e i As to her 'education;' she would have admitted that i t had l e f t her under no disadvantages. In the schoolroom her quick mind had taken r e a d i l y that strong starch of unexplained rule s and disconnected f a c t s which saves ignorance from any p a i n f u l sense of limpnessj and what remained of a l l things know-able, she was conscious of being s u f f i c i e n t l y ac-quainted with through novels, plays and poems... who can wonder i f Gwendolen f e l t ready to manage her own destiny? (DD, 70) Far from being an advantage Gwendolen's cleverness i s only a detriment i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n . She has absorbed a l l too completely the shallow teachings of a Miss Lemon's and her understanding of the " r e a l " world remains at a highly ego-c e n t r i c , i n f a n t i n e l e v e l . At the beginning of the novel, Gwendolen i s know-132 ledgeable enough i she does not have or manages not to display, the inexperience of the g i r l of twenty. I f she exaggerates her own knowledge and competence, she i s quick enought to keep from being caught. But her notions of e v i l ' i n the world and others are i m p e r f e c t — a t once sophisticated and g i r l i s h . Least of a l l can she see e v i l i n h e r s e l f , or even see h e r s e l f i n the wrong. As she goes through much of the world she finds that i t scarcely squares with a clever and h i g h - s p i r i t e d young g i r l ' s idea of i t . k Gwendolen could perhaps have been saved from the disastrous e f f e c t s of such a formal education had she found a conscien-tous moral guide elsewhere. In Middlemarch Rosamond's parents are only vague figures i n the background, but i n Daniel Deronda we are from the f i r s t aware that Gwendolen's uncle and her mother, who might have exerted a p o s i t i v e influence on her, f a i l miserably i n meeting t h e i r parental obligations and instead only encourage Gwendolen's van i t y and s e l f i s h n e s s . The Rector has already been mentioned. As a surrogate father to Gwendolen he merely makes i t more d i f -f i c u l t f o r her to overcome the b a r r i e r s leading to responsible adulthood. The Rector i s not an e v i l man by any recognizable s o c i a l standards? i n f a c t to contemporary V i c t o r i a n obser-vers he would appear to be quite ordinary« I t would be a l i t t l e hard to blame the Rector of Pennicote that i n the course of looking at things from every point of view he looked at Gwendolen as a g i r l l i k e l y to make a b r i l l i a n t marriage. Why should he be expected to d i f f e r from h i s con-temporaries i n t h i s matter, and wish h i s niece a worse end of her charming maidenhood than, thev would approve as the best possible? I t i s rather to be set down to h i s c r e d i t that h i s f e e l i n g s on the subject were e n t i r e l y good-natured. And i n considering the r e l a t i o n of means to ends, i t 133 would have been mere f o l l y to have been guided by the exceptional and i d y l l i c . . . M r . Gascoigne's ca l c u l a t i o n s were of the kind c a l l e d r a t i o n a l . (DD, 6?-8) Yet as E l i o t reveals i n t h i s passage of damning praise i t i s h i s very normalcy which i s so a p p a l l i n g . He sees c l e a r l y that Gwendolen lacks any moral substance, but f a r from edu-cati n g her, h i s actions on her behalf usually only r e i n f o r c e her egoism. For example, he intends to chastise Gwendolen f o r her behaviour at the fox-hunt, but when he learns that Lord Brackenshaw admired her daring, he cannot r i s k any c r i t i c i s m that might lower her marketability, the prudential Rector did f e e l himself i n a s l i g h t d i f f i c u l t y , f o r at that moment he was par-t i c u l a r l y sensible that i t was h i s niece's serious i n t e r e s t to be well-regarded by the Brackenshaw's and t h e i r opinion as to her following the hounds r e a l l y touched the essence of his objection. (DD, 1 0 7 ) On another occasion, at the b a l l a f t e r the archery contest, he again approves of Gwendolen's calculated cunning i n r e -fusing to dance, the l a d i e s who waltzed, n a t u r a l l y thought that Miss Harleth only wanted to make h e r s e l f p a r t i c u l a r ! but her uncle when he overheard her r e f u s a l suppor-ted her by s a y i n g — "Gwendolen has usually good reasons." He thought she was c e r t a i n l y more distinguished i n not walt-zing and he wished her to be distinguished. (DD, 152) Gascoigne's m a t e r i a l i s t i c a ttitude towards Gwendolen i s most obvious i n the stance he takes towards his niece's r e -l a t i o n s h i p with Grandcourt. He genuinely cares f o r her wel-fare but he has no conception of what her i n d i v i d u a l needs and desires might be. He lumps her together with a l l marriage-13^ able women and assumes that a successful match i s the only-requirement. And "success" i s so much the key that he w i l l turn a b l i n d eye to Grandcourt's rumoured i n d i s c r e t i o n s instead of r i s k i n g the loss of the status and s e c u r i t y t h i s s u i t o r can o f f e r both Gwendolen and her family: This match with Grandcourt presented i t s e l f to him as a so r t of public a f f a i r ; perhaps there were ways i n which i t might even strengthen the e s t a b l i s h -ment. ..Grandcourt, the almost c e r t a i n baronet, the probable peer, was to be ranged with public per-sonages, and was to be accepted on broad general grounds national and e c c l e s i a s t i c a l . . . o f the f u -ture husband personally Mr. Gascoigne was disposed to think the best. Gossip i s a sort of smoke that comes from the d i r t y tobacco-pipe of those who d i f f u s e i t : i t proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker...there was every reason to believe that a woman of well-regulated mind would be happy with Grandcourt. (DD, l ? 6 - 7 ) But despite his own " p o l i t i c a l "^machinations Gascoigne i s si n c e r e l y shocked when Gwendolen expresses the same kind df pragmatic view towards her marriage i "I am not f o o l i s h . I know that I must be married some time—before i t i s too l a t e . And I don't see how I could do better than marry Mr. Grandcourt. I mean to accept him i f possible."... But the Rector was a l i t t l e s t a r t l e d by so bare a version of his own meaning from those young l i p s . He wished that i n her mind h i s advice should be taken i n an in f u s i o n of sentiments pro-per to a g i r l , and such as are presupposed i n the advice of a clergyman, although he may not consider them always appropriate to be put forward. He wished h i s niece parks, carriage, a t i t l e — b u t he wished her not to be c y n i c a l — t o be, on the con-t 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 simply does not understand that a young woman who i s en-couraged to see marriage as a way of r a i s i n g her s o c i a l status or ensuring her economic s e c u r i t y w i l l hardly at the same time 135 have very mature ideas about love or r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Her mother has been l i t t l e more help to Gwendolen. She does sense the destructive power of Gwendolen's egoismJ Mrs. Davilow, who, even i f she had not wished her da r l i n g to have the horse, would not have dared to by lukewarm i n t r y i n g to get i t f o r her. (DD, 65) But her attempts to teach her daughter any sense of duty are weak and e a s i l y abandonnedj One night under an attack of pain she found that the s p e c i f i c r e g u l a r l y placed:by her bedside had been forgotten, and begged Gwendolen to get out of bed and reach i t f o r her. That healthy young lady snug and warm as a rosy i n f a n t i n her l i t t l e couch, objected to step out i n the cold, 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 with-out the medicine and never reproached her daughter. (DD, 53) Mrs. Davilow's actions towards Gwendolen usually only r e -a f f i r m her daughter's sense of her own supremacy. The only s o l u t i o n Mrs. Davilow can provide i s the old c u r e - a l l f o r women—marriage. And regardless of her own misgivings about Gwendolen's chances of f u l f i l l m e n t , along with her brother-in-law, she also assures Gwendolen of the f i t n e s s of a mar-riage with Grandcourt, Is he a man she would be happy with?"—was a question which i n e v i t a b l y arose i n the mother's mind. "Well perhaps as happy as she would be with anyone e l s e — o r as most other women are"—was the answer with which she t r i e d to quiet h e r s e l f . (DD, 167) In a l l of these s i t u a t i o n s — a t school, at home with her uncle and mother—the f a c t of Gwendolen's perfect beauty only draws her more inexorably i n t o the trap of female egotism. I f a woman i s b e a u t i f u l , usualy l i t t l e else i s required from her than that she e f f e c t i v e l y display h e r s e l f 136 at a l l times. I f , l i k e Gwendolen she i s clever enough, she can give her beauty a c e r t a i n personality as when she "gets h e r s e l f up as a sort of serpent" (DD, 40). But the develop-ment of "character" i s regarded as, and i n f a c t i s , unneces-sary; her physical appearance alone guarantees success i n p l y i n g the woman's trade. However,this reasoning almost guarantees her moral corruption. Unless counteracted by p o s i t i v e family influences or an enlightened education (both 6f which are conspicuously absent i n Gwendolen's l i f e ) or some exceptional g i f t of s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m , she i s quickly 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 to accede) to her every whim simply because she i s a b e a u t i f u l and s t y l i s h woman. Though she cannot be held e n t i r e l y blameless, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to understand why Gwendolen would be so vain and put such great stock i n her own beauty. A f t e r a l l , she i s only following the example of the r e s t of the world when she meditates on her own image i n the mirror and sees her beauty as g i v i n g her power over others i Her b e a u t i f u l l i p s curled i n t o a more and more . decided smile, t i l l at l a s t she took o f f her hat, leaned forwards and kissed the cold glass which had looked so warm. How could she believe i n sorrow? I f i t attacked her, she f e l t the force to crush' i t , to defy i t , or run away from i t , as she had done already. Anything seemed more possible than that she could go on bearing miseries, great or small. (DD, 47) U n t i l she encounters Klesmer and Deronda, no one has ever taken Gwendolen a t anything but, l i t e r a l l y , "face value." 137 The two men demand a great deal from h e r — t h a t she peel o f f the layers of egoism to take an accurate reading of her own s e l f . In order to do t h i s , and so to begin the struggle f o r s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n , Gwendolen w i l l somehow have to deal with those huge obstructing s o c i a l forces which can do so much toward determining c e r t a i n types of female character. Her bitch-character egoism, which must go, i s l a r g e l y rooted i n s o c i a l conditions and r e l a t i o n s . E i t h e r she w i l l have to meet head-on the f a c t s of her p o s i t i o n as a woman—her econo-mic impotence, the b a r r i e r s to education, the c u l t u r a l l y de-termined r o l e s — a n d struggle f o r her own freedom within that understanding; or the whole problem can be avoided. Gwen-dolen can simply be moved out of one female r o l e , the b i t c h , i n t o another, the good woman. I f Gwendolen's education takes the l a t t e r course there i s a consequent f a i l u r e of both ideology and a r t i s t r y . I t i s the large impression of the f i r s t two books of Daniel Deronda to prepare us f o r something very d i f f e r e n t . ( i i i ) Although she paints a very c l e a r backdrop of V i c t o r i a n s o c i a l conditions, against which one can understand Gwendolen's development (or non-development), E l i o t makes the reader,more than an observer. As she did with Rosamond, E l i o t goes "i n s i d e " her character and explores Gwendolen's own conscious-ness of her s e l f . We 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 with the l i m i t a t i o n s of the female r o l e that 138 she plays. In a conversation with Grandcourt she t r i e s to understand her own behaviourt We women can't go i n search of adventures--to 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 East. We must stay where we grow or where gardeners l i k e to transplant us. We are brought up l i k e the flowers, to look as pretty as we can, and be d u l l without complaining. That i s my notion about the plants i they are often bored and that i s the reason why some of them have got poisonous. (DD, 171) Unfortunately, Gwendolen has no solu t i o n to o f f e r other than the p o s s i b i l i t y of women going on "adventures" l i k e men, or as i n her own case becoming a rather risquee debutante. Gwen-dolen does not have a p a r t i c u l a r l y f i n e mind, or any great creative ta l e n t , but whatever she may have i n the way of pos-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 feminine fur-.a n i t u r e " (DD, 69) with which her mind has always been c l u t t e r e d . Like Rosamond, Gwendolen's natural cleverness, eagerness and enthusiasm.is concentrated e n t i r e l y on the shallow games of" feminine coquetry1 She r e j o i c e d to f e e l h e r s e l f exceptional but her horizon was that of the genteel romance where the heroine's soul poured out i n her journal i s f u l l of vague power, o r i g i n a l i t y and general r e b e l l i o n while her l i f e moves s t r i c t l y i n the sphere of fashion. (DD, 83) Gwendolen may think she i s something other than the d u l l flower that simply l i v e s "to look as pretty as she can," but she i s i n exactly the same po s i t i o n , her i n t e l l e c t have never had the opportunity to develop beyond an intense con-centration on her own beauty and i t s e f f e c t on other people. 139 Becuase Gwendolen i s so s e l f - i n v o l v e d , she has l i t t l e knowledge of, l e t alone concern f o r , others. She regards her family as convenient agents f o r the f u l f i l l m e n t of her own desires. Part of t h i s s elfishness stems from t h e i r having r a r e l y made any demands on Gwendolen. Not only have they l e t her r u l e , they have p o s i t i v e l y encouraged the sense of her own supremacy, Having always been the pet and pride of the house-hold waited on by mother, s i s t e r s , governess, and maids as i f she had been a princess 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 to think her own pleasure l e s s important than others made i t . (DD, 53) As the members of her own family are objects rather thanjy persons to Gwendolen, so i s anyone else who i s a part of her w o r l d — p a r t i c u l a r l y men. The irony here i s supreme, a l -though scarcely unusual. Women who are trained to a t t r a c t men as a kind of business venture usually end up seeing them as objects f o r capture rather than as human beings. In Rosa-mond's view of men " i t was not necessary to imagine much about the inward l i f e of the hero, or of h i s serious business i n the world" (MM, 1 2 3 ) . So i t i s with Gwendolen. Both women are incapable of developing any r e a l a f f e c t i o n f o r men be-cause they are never allowed to see them apart 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. Not only does she have very l i t t l e r e a l regard f o r menj she i s p o s i t i v e l y a f r a i d of them. And i t i s at t h i s l e v e l , seeing Gwendolen's i n a b i l i t y to r e l a t e to men as fear rather than 140 hatred, that E l i o t triumphs as a r e a l i s t . She "takes the b i t c h s e r i o u s l y . " With great delicacy she shows how Gwendolen suspects the s o c i a l dance that she h e r s e l f performs so w e l l . Though she seeks and accepts the homage of men, she i s at the same time vaguely aware of another darker side of male/female re l a t i o n s h i p s wich i s the root of her sexual f r i g i d i t y . What she has seen and understood of marriage so f a r has only con-vinced her that i t i s an i n s t i t u t i o n where a woman trades i n freedom f o r slavery. ...the mother even said to h e r s e l f , " I t would not s i g n i f y about her being i n love, i f she would only accept the right person. 1 For whatever marriage had been f o r h e r s e l f , how could she the l e s s desire i t f o r her daughter? The difference her own misfor-tune made was, that she never dared to dwell much to Gwendolen on the desirableness of marriage, dreading an answer something l i k e that of the f u -ture Madame Roland, when her gentle mother, ufging the acceptance of a s u i t o r , said, "Tu seras heu-reses, ma chere.* *0ui, rnaman, comme t o i . ' (DD, 126) So Gwendolen i s determined neither to give nor to receive a f -f e c t i o n i she objected, with a sort of physical repulsion to being d i r e c t l y made love to. With a l l her ima-ginative d e l i g h t i n being adored, there was a cer-t a i n fierceness of maidenhood i n her. (DD, 157) In the l a s t phrase of the above quotation E l i o t seems to be coming very close to 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 sug-gested by Kate M i l l e t t i n Sexual P o l i t i c s , where she discusses the V i c t o r i a n womant Under the demands of a s o c i a l l y coercive or e x p l o i -t a t i v e sexuality such as patriarchy had i n s t i t u t e d where sexual a c t i v i t y implied 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 sexuality took on something of the character 141 of a " p o l i t i c a l " response to the conditions of sexual p o l i t i c s . While c h a s t i t y or even the negative attitudes toward coitus 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 psychological " s t r a t a -gems" to l i m i t or p r o h i b i t woman's pleasure i n sexuality, they could also be transformed i n t o pro-tec t i v e feminine "stratagems" i n a r e f u s a l ' t o ca-p i t u l a t e to p a t r i a r c h a l force t physical, economic or s o c i a l . 5 For Gwendolen any serious male advances appear as a threat to what l i t t l e independence she has. Since she cannot d i s -tinguish between honest a f f e c t i o n and a man's desire to mas-ter her the unfortunate r e s u l t i s that coldness i n a s u i t o r appeals to her» Gwendolen thought that a man of extremely calm, cold manners might be l e s s disagreeable as a husband than other men, and not l i k e l y to i n t e r f e r e with h i s wife's preferences. (DD, 147) I t i s t h i s kind of 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 area of V i c t o r i a n ideas about female sexuality, that makes the p o r t r a i t of Gwendolen so new and e x c i t i n g . The b i t c h here i s c l e a r l y not j u s t a cold-blooded v i c i o u s man-hating home-breaker, but a woman moulded by s o c i a l attitudes and i n s t i t u -tions and driven by fears and f r u s t r a t i o n s to become what she i s . There i s more to Gwendolen's inner consciousness than her fear of men. The greatest r e v e l a t i o n i n the f i r s t two books of Daniel Deronda i s the complexity of Gwendolen's persona-l i t y . The kind of schizophrenia that E l i o t began to develop i n her characterization of Rosamond i s with Gwendolen f u l l y rea-l i z e d . Though Gwendolen may appear on the surface vain, 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 states e x p l i c i t l y -142 that Gwendolen has another s e l f — o r more properly s e l v e s — which must be considered i n forming a judgment of her charc-te r . For example, during the weeks of her courtship with Grandcourt she fin d s a part of her does not accept the most acceptable Kenleigh Grandcourt but i n s i s t s on questioning and r e s i s t i n g , almost as i f she subconsciously senses that the coldness which a t t r a c t s her to him i s r e a l l y a disguise f o r a kind of e v i l power i the subjection to a possible s e l f , a s e l f not to be absolutely predicted about, caused her some as-tonishment and t e r r o n her favourite key of l i f e — doing as she liked—seemed to f a i l her, and she could not foresee what at a given moment she might l i k e to do. (DD, 173) This same "other" s e l f has also been revealed over the i n c i -dent with Rex. Gwendolen l i k e s to think of h e r s e l f as i n -dependent and f e a r l e s s . But not very f a r beneath t h i s care-free surface her sexual f r i g i d i t y and her i n a b i l i t y to form intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p s with other people t e r r i f i e s h e n she [Mrs. Davilow] pressed her cheek against Gwen-dolen's head, and then t r i e d to draw i t upward. Gwendolen gave way, and l e t t i n g her head r e s t against her mother, c r i e d out sobbingly, "Oh, Mamma, what can become of ;my l i f e ? there i s nothing worth l i v i n g f o r ! ' . . . ' I s h a l l never love anybody. I can't love people. I hate them.' (DD, 115) At the Arrowpont's dinner party 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 fulness of nature enough to f e e l the power of t h i s playing, and i t gradually 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 her f o r the moment in t o a desperate i n d i f f e r e n c e about her own doing. (DD, 80) 143 Given t h i s glimpse of Gwendolen i t i s impossible to dismiss her as eithe r i n s e n s i t i v e or hopelessly e g o i s t i c . In a l a t e r encounter with Klesmer the sense of Gwendolen's egoism as only the outer and not the inner d e f i n i t i o n of her personality i s r e i n f o r c e d i When he had taken up his hat and was going to make h i s bow, Gwendolen's better s e l f , conscious of an ingratitude which the c l e a r seeing Klesmer must have penetrated, made a desperate e f f o r t to f i n d I t s way above the s t i f l i n g layers of e g o i s t i c disappointment and i r r i t a t i o n . (DD, 306) However the schizophrenic nature of Gwendolen's character i s perhaps most powerfully revealed i n the two incidents with the death's head, where we see how suddenly and t o t a l l y Gwendolen's public s e l f can give way to a s e l f which, though f r i g h t e n i n g to her, i s an acknowledgement by the author of her basic humanity. Everyone was s t a r t l e d , but a l l eyes i n the act of turning towards the opened panel were r e c a l l e d by a p i e c i n g cry from Gwendolen, who stood without change of attitude but with a change of expression that 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 statue i n t o which a soul of Fear had entered» teer p a l l i d l i p s were parted; her eyes, usually narrowed under t h e i r long lashes, were d i l a t e d and f i x e d . (DD, 9 1 ) Related to t h i s f e a r of death i s Gwendolen's t e r r o r of s o l i -tude, of suddenly being confronted with a sense of the world f o r which neither her background nor her education has pre-pared h e n She was ashamed and frightened...when, f o r example she was walking without companionship and there came some rapid change i n the l i g h t . Solitude i n any wide scene impressed her with an undefined f e e l i n g of immeasurable existence aloof from her, 144 i n the midst of which she was h e l p l e s s l y incapable of a s s e r t i n g herself...but always when someone joined her she recovered her i n d i f f e r e n c e to the vastness i n which she seemed an e x i l e . (DD, 95) This c a r e f u l i n t e r i o r examination of Gwendolen, which reveals how much more there i s to her than j u s t pure ego, corrobo-rates that measure of environmental determinism indicated by E l i o t ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of Gwendolen's s o c i a l p o s i t i o n as a woman. (i v ) What E l i o t does i n the f i r s t two books of Daniel Deronda by her e x t e r i o r and i n t e r i o r analysis of Gwendolen i s to change r a d i c a l l y our pattern of response to a p a r t i c u l a r female type. And t h i s i s important, f o r as much*.as Gwendolen i s an i n d i v i -dual, she i s s t i l l a recognizable type. By g i v i n g us a new understanding of that type E l i o t has opened up a whole d i f f e r e n t dimenstion of human experience to which only the man or woman completely ignorant of the workings of sexual p o l i t i c s can reamin b l i n d . While the reader may be i n complete sympathy with Gwen-dolen 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 pa-t r i a r c h y , i t i s questionable whether E l i o t h e r s e l f i s . Even though she creates the conditions f o r that sympathy, she does not seem to understand how much i t controls our reactions to the novel. In a l e t t e r to Barbara Bodichon she complains of the "laudation of readers who cut the book up i n t o scraps and t a l k of nothing i n i t but Gwendolen."^ Moreover E l i o t ' s correspondence with Blackwood makes i t apparent that her 145 r e a l a f f e c t i o n and concern was f o r the Jewish part of the novel. But that of course i s the basic problem with Daniel Deronda. E l i o t i s so concerned with presenting Judaism i n a p o s i t i v e l i g h t that she i s unable to achieve any aesthetic distance from the characters involved i n that theme. With Mirah (Deronda's case i s the same, but he w i l l be discussed more f u l l y l a t e r ) she discards complexity and realism f o r exagge-r a t i o n and i d o l a t r y . Mirah i s a wearisome and usually i n c r e -di b l e catalogue of V i c t o r i a n womanly vir t u e s ("her voice, her accent, her l o o k s — a l l the sweet purity...clothed her as with a consecrating garment"DDD, 247). P r i s t i n e , worshipful, complaint, passive, l o v i n g and innocent she lacks a l l depth. I f she has ever come int o c o n f l i c t with the demands of a pa-t r i a r c h y (as with her father's insistence that she marry the count) we are assured that she possessed enough innate good-ness to r e s i s t such assaults on her character, 'It w i l l hardly be denied that even i n t h i s f r a i l and corrupted world, we sometimes meet persons who, i n t h e i r very mien and aspect, as w e l l as i n their whole habit of l i f e , manifest such a signature and stamp of v i r t u e , as to make our judgment of them a matter of i n t u i t i o n rather than the r e s u l t of continued examination.' (DD, 248) But however d u l l and uninspiring we f i n d Mirah to be, the important thing i s that she i s there and that. E l i o t completely approves of the model of womanhood that she r e p r e s e n t s — "impossible to see a creature 'freer at once from embarrass-ment and boldness" (DD, 266). The question then i s , given her a t t r a c t i o n to this s i m p l i s t i c c h aracterization of woman, how can she at the same time maintain her complex and r a d i c a l 146 analysis of Gwendolen? The answer i s that she cannot or that she does not. As much as the f i r s t two books of Daniel Deronda may reveal • the b i t c h character as a product of a complex set 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 , there i s another voice i n "The Spoiled C h i l d " and "Meeting Streams" which corresponds to her one-dimensional view of Mirah. I f Mirah i s p e r f e c t l y good, then Gwendolen i s p e r f e c t l y bad. We are not to see Gwendolen as a v i c t i m of patriarchy but rather as one who has denied her true womanhood. Gwendolen's salva t i o n w i l l come not i n a reordering of s o c i a l values but i n learning the lessons of femininity that Mirah exemplifies. This side of E l i o t ' s response to Gwendolen i s i n f a c t apparent i n the very f i r s t paragraph of the novel. Was she b e a u t i f u l or not b e a u t i f u l ? and what was the secret of form or expression which gave the dynamic q u a l i t y to her glance? Was the good or e v i l genius dominant i n those beams? Probably the e v i l f else why was the e f f e c t that of unrest rather than that of undisturbed charm? Why was the wish to look again f e l t as coercion and not as a longing i n which the whole being consents? (DD, 35) "Undisturbed charm" i s the key here. The phrase i s sexually loaded and represents p e r f e c t l y what Victorian' society, and E l i o t would require from women—meekness, obedience and conformity. That these q u a l i t i e s are to be developed i n r e s -ponse to masculine needs i s c l e a r l y underlined by the f a c t that the questioner here i s Deronda, a man who t o t a l l y exem-p l i f i e s the nineteenth century's chivalrous and sentimental att i t u d e towards women. Gwendolen, he decides, i s " e v i l " 147 because she i s not properly feminine. There i s a "dynamic q u a l i t y " to her glance which does not accord with perfect womanly repose. I r o n i c a l l y Gwendolen's dynamism i s what E l i o t goes on to explore and reveal, not as " e v i l , " but as a r e f l e c t i o n of Gwendolen's struggle, whether conscious or not, with the forces that go to determine a woman's l i f e . But the note of feminine e v i l has been struck and w i l l be played again i n the f i r s t books of the novel. For example, E l i o t shows c l e a r l y how women come to r e a l i z e that t h e i r sole business as women i s to a t t r a c t men, and that the economic impulse towards personal r e l a t i o n s h i p s often r e s u l t s i n t h e i r emotional and sexual f r i g i d i t y , but she s t i l l cannot r e s i s t the old myth of the sexual 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 got h e r s e l f up as a sort of s e r -pent now, a l l green and s i l v e r , and winds her neck about a l i t t l e more than usual." "Oh, she must always be doing something extra-ordinary. She i s that kind of g i r l , I fancy. Do you think her pretty, 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." x "You l i k e a nez retrousse then, and long narrow eyes?" "When they go with such an ensemble." "The ensemble du serpent?" "If you w i l l . Woman was tempted by a serpents why not man?" (DD, 40-1) There is no attempt here (eit h e r i n the dialogue i t s e l f or i n the tone with which i t i s presented) to see below the sur-face of Gwendolen's behaviour. She i s only what she appears to others to b e — t h e i n s a t i a b l e seductress who w i l l lead the innocent male to destruction. E l i o t indicates no awareness 148 of what, her own a r t w i l l l a t e r demonstrate—that Gwendolen's dangerous and destructive coquetti.shne.ss i s not innate but rather a technique that she has been encouraged (by men l i k e her Uncle Gascoigne) to adopt i n order to capture and hold male att e n t i o n . The same negative at t i t u d e to Gwendolen i s apparent during the a f f a i r with Rex Gascoigne. He has a l l the author's sympathyi ...for i n h i s handsome face there was nothing corres-ponding to the undefinable s t i n g i n g q u a l i t y — a s i t were a trace of demon ancestry—which made some beholders hesitate i n t h e i r admiration of Gwendolen. (DD, 99) Gwendolen i s reduced to the blank stereotype of the e v i l woman. She i s s e l f i s h , capable of "stinging^" and therefore refuses to accept her proper feminine r o l e i she r u t h l e s s l y plays havoc with the d e l i c a t e male a f f e c t i o n s of "sweet-natured Rex" (DD, 100). "Can you manage to f e e l only what pleases you?" said he. "Of course not? that comes from what other people do. But i f the world were pleasanter, one would only f e e l what was pleasant. G i r l s ' l i v e s are so stupid: they never do what they l i k e . " "I thought that was more the case of men. They are forced to do hard things, and are often dread-f u l l y bored, and knocked to pieces too. And then, i f we love a g i r l very dearly, we want to 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 believe i t . I never saw a married woman who had her own way." "What should you l i k e to do?" said Rex, quite g u i l e l e s s l y and i n r e a l anxiety. "Oh, I don't know—go to the North Pole, or r i d e steeplechases, or go to be a queen i n the East l i k e Lady Hester Stanhope," said 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 at a loss to give an answer of deeper o r i g i n . 149 "You don't mean you would never be married." "No? I didn't say that. Only when I married, I should not do as other women do." "You might do just as you l i k e d i f you married a man who loved you more dearly than anything else i n the world," said Rex. (DD, 101) But i t does not work, a t l e a s t not i n the way i t i s supposed to. Undoubtedly we are supposed to favour Rex i n t h i s ex-change (he i s the innocent, the " g u i l e l e s s " one, the "poor youth") but we hear Gwendolen's impatience and f r u s t r a t i o n most c l e a r l y . As E l i o t ' s version of the i d e a l man, Rex i s a f a i -lure? he i s vague, overly sentimental, l i f e l e s s when compared to Gwendolen. Gwendolen cannot come up with any more con-s t r u c t i v e goal than "to go to the North Pole," but we know enough of a woman's f r u s t r a t i o n s to know that Rex does not give an acceptable answer e i t h e r . His statement that men "are forced to do hard things and.are often dreadfully bored" while l i t e r a l l y true, appears i n \ t h i s instance to be merely a g l i b way of avoiding the question of the r i g h t s , l e t alone the needs, of women to a choice of l i f e s t y l e s whether they be hard or boring or not. Furthermore h i s "love conquers a l l " a t t i t u d e to marriage i s r i d i c u l o u s l y naive and ignores en-t i r e l y the l e g a l and economic p o s i t i o n of the married woman i n V i c t o r i a n England. Even though Rex's words are not p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e i t i s c l e a r E l i o t intends us to f e e l that i f only Gwendolen would accept Rex's philosophy about the proper r o l e of women a l l her problems would.be solved. Thinking of them i n these moments one i s tempted 150 to the f u t i l e sort of w i s h i n g — i f only things could have been a l i t t l e otherwise then, so as to have been greatly otherwise a f t e r ! — i f only these two b e a u t i f u l young creatures could have pledged them-selves to each other then and there, and never through l i f e have swerved from that pledge! f o r some of the goodness which Rex believed i n was there. (DD.. 9 9 ) However, even without Rex, E l i o t ' s obvious preference f o r the sweet compliant homebody Anna Gascoigne over Gwendolen— "my Anna, i s worth two of her, with a l l her beauty and t a l e n t " (DD, 111)—would be enough to indicate wherein she sees Gwendolen's s a l v a t i o n . Anna's l i f e may be l i m i t e d , he \Rex\ returned Anna's a f f e c t i o n as f u l l y as could be expected of a brother whose pleasures apart from her were more than the sum t o t a l of hers. (DD, 87) But E l i o t s t i l l approves u n c r i t i c a l l y of^keeping women i n the r o l e of wife, mother or daughter. This impression i s reinforced by a passage at'the end of the chapter where Gwendolen f i r s t encounters Grandcourt1 What i n the midst of that 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 that good f o r which men are enduring and f i g h t i n g . In these d e l i c a t e vessels i s borne onward through the ages the treasure of human a f -f e c t i o n s . (DD, 160) This statement repeats one of the oldest ideas i n the world about women—that i t i s t h e i r c h i ef r o l e to succour and nur-ture, to stand by worshipfully while men f i g h t out l i f e ' s great moral b a t t l e s . I t i s , to 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 of the apparent d i r e c t i o n of Gwendolen's story i n the f i r s t part of Daniel Deronda where she sppears headed f o r something other than the usual h i s t o r y of female 151 characters. C e r t a i n l y she must learn warmth towards others, c e r t a i n l y her " a f f e c t i o n s " must he developed, and i d e a l l y she might f i n d great s a t i s f a c t i o n i n some healthy male-female r e l a t i o n s h i p . But what about the l a r g e r questions that Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n i n the novel have posed? Does such a statement consider the economics of marriage, which makes a woman servant more often than helpmate? Does i t consider an educational system which breeds vanity and egoism i n beauti-f u l women? Does i t consider the p a t r i a r c h a l c o n t r o l over women which makes true a f f e c t i o n almost impossible?. And where, f i n a l l y , are the men who could make the r o l e E l i o t suggests f o r Gwendolen a f u l f i l l i n g one? I f Rex i s unbelievable, Deronda i s not much more so. The men i n the novel who are convincingly portrayed—Grandcourt, Lush, Gascoigne, S i r Hugo—could at t h e i r very best hardly help Gwendolen to de-velop a high degree of s e l f - r e s p e c t or s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Yet again, as i n the scene with Rex, E l i o t i s undoubtedly serious. Placed where the passage i s at a c r u c i a l point i n the action of the novel, we can only b e l i v e that the author's own answer f o r Gwendolen would be s i m i l a r to John Ruskin's reply to the threat of contemporary feminisms Now t h e i r separate characters are b r i e f l y these. The man's power i s active, progressive, defensive. He i s eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender. His i n t e l l e c t i s f o r speculation and invention; his energy f o r adventure, f o r war, and for conquest wherever war i s just, 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 -vention or creation, but f o r sweet ordering, arrange-ment, and d e c i s i o n . She sees the q u a l i t i e s of things, 152 t h e i r claims, and t h e i r places. Her great function i s P raisei she enters i n t o no contest but i n f a l -l i b l y adjudges the crown of contest. By her o f f i c e , and place, she i s protected from a l l danger and temptation. The man...guards the woman from a l l t h i s i within his house, as ruled by her, unless she h e r s e l f has sought i t , need enter no danger, no temptation, no cause of error or offence........... This, then, I believe to b e , — w i l l you not admit i t to b e , — the woman's true place and power? But do not you see that, to f u l f i l t h i s , she must—as f a r as one can use such terms of a human creature—be incapable of error? So f a r as she r u l e s , a l l must be r i g h t , or nothing i s . She must be enduringly, incorrup-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 wise—wise, not for 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 that she may set h e r s e l f above her hus-band, but that she may never f a l l from his s i d e i wise, not with the narrowness of i n s o l e n t and love-l e s s pride, but with the passionate gentleness 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 -cable, modesty of s e r v i c e — t h e true changefulness 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 to "take the b i t c h s e r i o u s l y " to step back and e i t h e r describe or judge Gwendolen according to the narrow standards usually applied: to female behaviour. But t h i s i s exactly what she does. Instead of following to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion her enlightened analysis of Gwendolen, she p u l l s from those f i r s t books the t h i n voice of t r a d i t i o n a l opinion and allows i t to c o n t r o l the r e s t of the novel. Despite her b r i l l i a n t exposure of the l i m i t i n g e f f e c t s of patriarchy on woman's s e l f -development, she ignores that f a c t o r i n her programme f o r Gwendolen's growth from egoism to knowledge and appreciation of others. What the novel demands i a Gwendolen's serious confrontation 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 novel gives i s 153 corollary, to the other side of the feminine mystique. Gwen-dolen's education, as I hope to demonstrate, depends e n t i r e l y on recognition of he r s e l f as the prime agent of a l l her ac-tions and consequent acceptance of a g u i l t which to some ex-tent ought to be placed on the society which has moulded her character. What she learns then i s not healthy s e l f - c r i t i c i s m but neurotic masochism. There i s nothing wrong with the world, only with her. She has been "bad" (the bitch) and she must become "better" (the good woman). I t i s the kind of easy personal or i n d i v i d u a l s o l u t i o n which avoids e n t i r e l y the la r g e r question of how much afperson, and e s p e c i a l l y a woman, i s the product of her or his environment. Because E l i o t f a i l s to carry through her i n i t i a l r a d i c a l analysis of 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 of her atory 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 chapter but on a p o l i t i c a l l e v e l one can turn to Marx's argument, mentioned i n the introduction to t h i s thesis, with Feuerbach's discussion of the causes of s e l f -a l i e n a t i o n i n r e l i g i o n , Feuerbach s t a r t s out from the f a c t of r e l i g i o u s s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n , the duplication of the world i n t o a r e l i g i o u s , imaginary world and a r e a l one. His work consists i n the d i s s o l u t i o n of the r e l i g i o u s world i n t o i t s secular basis. He overlooks the f a c t that a f t e r completing t h i s work, the c h i e f thing s t i l l remains to be done. For the f a c t that the secular foundation detaches i t s e l f from i t s e l f and establishes i t s e l f i n the clouds as an inde-pendent realm i s r e a l l y only to be explained 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 of t h i s secular b a s i s . The l a t t e r must i t s e l f , there-fore, f i r s t be understood i n i t s contradiction and then, by removal of contradiction be revolu-154 tion i z e d i n p r a c t i c e . E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e i s even more serious than Feuerbach's because she goes a step farther than him by describing c l e a r l y the "contradictoriness of t h i s secular b a s i s , " but then stops short where r e a l action i s required and w i l l not attempt any "revolution of 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 not i n learning to understand and grapple with r e a l i t y but i n r i s i n g above the problems of 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 implied sugges-tion i n the e a r l i e r books, that the Gwendolens can only r e a l l y change when society changes, i s abandonned. Now society i s undynamic and salva t i o n becomes a personal a f f a i r . Because i t neglects the d i a l e c t i c s of s o c i a l struggle, 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 not to say Daniel Deronda would be a successful novel i f a l l the male characters confessed to t h e i r chauvinism and the women ran o f f and became molecular b i o l o g i s t s . Cer-t a i n l y the novel does not possess that kind of p o s s i b i l i t y . But i t does have the p o s s i b i l i t y that Gwendolen w i l l come to understand the world as her creator does, that instead of b l i n d l y acting and reacting, Gwendolen w i l l come to understand some of the s o c i a l dynamics that E l i o t has made so obvious. The gap between author and subject i n the f i r s t books i s never bridged and the whole question of how much society has deter-mined Gwendolen's egoism i s l e f t hanging while the terms of reference s h i f t completely. In the second h a l f of the novel 1 5 5 E l i o t has stopped describing the world dynamically and i s accepting i t as given. Thus there i s no r e a l v i c t o r y f o r Gwendolen—or f o r the type of 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 values of a s e x i s t society. Several c r i t i c s have pointed out .how s i m i l a r the method of Gwendolen's regeneration i s to the techniques used i n o modern p s y c h i a t r i c a n a l y s i s . This i s very true. But exact-l y the c r i t i c i s m s that are now being l e v e l l e d against the treatment of women i n analysis can also be applied to Gwen-dolen's s i t u a t i o n . What a woman i s too often taught by her p s y c h i a t r i s t (Usually male and not neces s a r i l y Freudian) i s not objective s e l f - c r i t i c i s m ? she learns instead to apply to her own s e l f the standards of female behaviour set by soc i e t y . Woman i s nurturance...anatomy decrees the l i f e of a woman...when women grow up without dread of b i o l o g i c a l functions and without subversion by feminist doctrine and therefore enter upon mother-hood with a sense of 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 goal of a good l i f e and a secure world i n which to live.l° Consequently a woman l i k e Gwendolen comes to understand that . her own misery and the misery she has caused others stems from her f a i l u r e to accept her feminine i d e n t i t y , exactly the f a u l t that E l i o t , i n those i r r i t a t i n g parts of Book I and I I , has suggested. The soluti o n of course l i e s i n Gwendolen's becoming more "womanly." But t h i s merely removes Gwendolen from one female r o l e (the bitch ) d i r e c t l y i n t o another. 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 productive than the f r u s t r a t i n g r o l e of the 156 b i t c h but i t i s s t i l l based i n the same pervasive oppression of a woman's natural growth and does not adequately f u l f i l l the promise of a new attitude to women toward which E l i o t seemed i n i t i a l l y to be prgressing. As Walter Houghton points 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 an e s s e n t i a l e l e -ment of V i c t o r i a n s o c i a l philosophy. As untouched v i r g i n or nurturing mother, she was the source of moral goodness to protect society 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 s p i r i t , the growing doubts about orthodox C h r i s t i a n i t y and the undeniable increase i n p r o s t i t u t i o n . E l i o t and many of the other 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 to look f o r the roots of t h i s growing s o c i a l chaos—because i t would mean an entire revolution of 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 ! instead, they t r i e d to shore up the system against collapse by promoting the image of the good woman, "the angel i n the house," as society's saving grace i "Mr. Deronda, you must enlighten my ignorance. I want to know why you thought i t wrong f o r me to gamble. Is i t because I am a woman?" "Not altogether; but I regretted i t the more because you were a woman," said Deronda,. "But why should you regret i t more because I am a woman?" "Perhaps because we need that you should be better than we are." (DD, 3 8 3 - 4 ) Although E l i o t c l e a r l y saw how h u r t f u l the oppression of women was to personal self-development, she could not 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 of Daniel Deronda and the f i n a l v i c -tory of the old values. Houghton's conclusion to hi s chapter e n t i t l e d "Love" suras up the reason why many otherwise progres-sive V i c t o r i a n s found themselves taking a conservative view on the p o s i t i o n of woment To r e f l e c t f o r a moment on the preceding d i s -cussion i s to r e a l i z e with s p e c i a l force how much and how curiously the dynamics of an age a f f e c t the human mind. That V i c t o r i a n ideas about r e l i g i o n or p o l i t i c s or education should have been c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to the environment i s only what we should expect. But offhand, we might not have supposed that such personal and elemental f e e l i n g s as those about love and women would have been so strongly influenced by the hard competitive world of b u s i -ness or by the pressure of 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 Revolution creates the large, imper-sonal c i t y and makes considerable wealth a require-ment as well as a sanction f o r marriage. These fa c t o r s contribute to;an alarming increase of pro-s t i t u t i o n ! a f a c t which, i n turn, contributes to a strong protective movement i n morals ( a code of puri t y , censorship, and prudery) and an e f f o r t to i d e a l i z e love and women, inc l u d i n g the mother, i n the cause of purer conduct. And that i s only one pattern, and an oversimplified one. I t i s equally true that the I n d u s t r i a l Revolution created a psychological and amoral atmosphere f o r which an i d e a l i z e d home with i t s high pri e s t e s s offered a compensating sense of humanity and moral d i r e c t i o n . And s t i l l , to a l l that must be added the p a r a l l e l impulse to exalt the feminine nature and f i n d a " d i v i n i t y " i n love which sprang from the needs of the b a f f l e d i n t e l l e c t . Our most personal a t t i t u d e s are deeply affected by elements i n the environment which seem to have no connection with them at a l l . i 2 (v) The r e a l meaning of Gwendolen's f i n a l s a l v a t i o n i s foreshadowed i n the att i t u d e E l i o t takes towards her i n Book I I I , which covers the events of the few days between Gwen-dolen's return from Lebronn and her acceptance of Grandcourt*s 158 proposal. Although E l i o t again makes hideously r e a l the conditions which force Gwendolen to make the decisions she does, the tone i s r a r e l y sympathetic; we seem almost now to be dealing with two E l i o t t s — t h e a r t i s t who s t i l l draws us sym-p a t h e t i c a l l y i n t o the circumference of Gwendolen's experience, and the commentator who continually implies that a "good" woman would be able to r e s i s t the temptation to marry Grand-court, much as the irreproachable Mirah did when faced with the same s i t u a t i o n (the story of which, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , comes immediately before t h i s part of Gwendolen's s t o r y ) . The point i s that the woman who did r e s i s t i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n would have to be a saint, someone unaffected by, or who had "risen above", s o c i a l conditioning and economic necessity, as w e l l as some-one who 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 sins of the r e s t of society. But that i s what the dispassionate commentator seems to expect of Gwendolen. The realism which made the f i r s t two books so compelling i s under-mined i n "Maiden's Choosing" by a basic r e f u s a l to accept the power s o c i a l circumstances have over the i n d i v i d u a l . E l i o t ! i d e a l i z e s poverty, refusing to admit that i t more often des-troys than bui l d s character: she sentimentalizes over gover-nessing i n a way that would only bring sneers from a Jane Eyre, a Jane F a i r f a x or even a Mary Garthj and f i n a l l y , i n the case of Gwendolen's "promise" to Lydia Glasher, she creates f o r Gwendolen a moral problem which though apparently s i g n i -f i c a n t i s a c t u a l l y meaningless giventhat Gwendolen has i n f a c t 159 no choice but to marry Henleigh Grandcourt. When Gwendolen returns from Lebronn she faces an i n c r e a -s i n g l y untenable s i t u a t i o n . But where E l i o t would previously have been sympathetic or at l e a s t a n a l y t i c a l , she i s now f l i p p a n t and c r i t i c a l . To be dropped s o l i t a r y at an ugly, i r r e l e v a n t -looking spot with a sense of no income on the mind, might well prompt a man to discouraging speculation on the o r i g i n of things and the reason of a world where a subtle thinker found himself so badly o f f . How much more might such t r i a l s t e l l on a young lady equipped f o r society with a f a s t i d i o u s taste, an Indian shawl over her arm, some twenty cubic feet of trunks by her side, and a mortal d i s l i k e to the new consciousness of poverty which was stimulating her imagination of disagreeables? (DD, 269-70) The d i s t i n c t i o n made between men and woman i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s perhaps worth considering. Gwendolen has been trained to have higher expectations from the world than a man. But f o r the same reason, because of her sex, when any catastrophe s t r i k e s she can do nothing about the f a i l u r e of those expectations to 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 that perhaps no one should have such expectations). This r a i s e s an i n t e r e s t i n g problem with regard to E l i o t ' s idea of the proper course of action f o r Gwendolen. A constant play on the words "submit" and " r e s i s t " occurs i n the next few chapters and obviously i n E l i o t ' s eyes Gwendolen i s at f a u l t f o r her f a i l u r e to sub-mit to her new-found poverty and to leave the management of a f f a i r s to her uncle« At f i r s t , Gwendolen remained s i l e n t , p a l i n g with 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 haughtiness— "That i s impossible. Something else than that i 6 o ought to have been thought of. My uncle ought not to allow that. I w i l l not submit to i t . " (DD, 273) Tom T u l l i v e r went out to recoup the family fortunes, and that was considered manly. The suspicion begins to grow that the r e a l reason f o r the p r e s c r i p t i o n of submission i s that i t i s the "womanly" thing to do. However, despite her mother's dictim (and here Mrs. Davilow I think speaks f o r E l i o t ) that "We must resign ourselves to the w i l l of Providence, my c h i l d , " (DP, 274) Gwendolen i s determined to r e s i s t , to do what she can about t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . One cannot help admiring her s p i r i t , despite her " p r a c t i c a l ignorance, c o n t i n u a l l y exhibited" (DP, 2 7 6 ) . This ignorance i s one of the consequences of a young g i r l ' s t o t a l l y inadequate preparation f o r l i f e , by v i r -tue of which Gwendolen's attempts to act f o r h e r s e l f are doomed, and her r e f u s a l of Grandcourt*s proposal i s made impossible. Gwendolen's " f a u l t " of course i s that 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 avoid her own po-verty and sense of s o c i a l humiliation. This i s true enough, but Gwendolen's whole h i s t o r y has led her to have other ex-pectations from the world; t h i s E l i o t seems to remove from consdieration. The words of her mother's l e t t e r announcing the family's f i n a n c i a l r u i n are p a r t i c u l a r l y revealing of the attitude towards h e r s e l f which Gwendolen has absorbed, I always f e e l i t impossible that you can have been meant f o r poverty. (DD, 44) Further we must remember that Gwendolen's decision to marry Grandcourt i s the l a s t choice she would wish to make but circumstances close i n on her so t i g h t l y that 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 responsible f o r her choices, i t i s V i c t o r i a n England that nourishes her i n the expectations which only a Grandcourt can f u l f i l and creates the s i t u a t i o n i n which her r e f u s a l of him i s almost impossible.13 Besides Gwendolen's own ambitions which have been i n c u l -cated by the society i n which she l i v e s , there are also the demands which her family place on her..-.As well as being the household pet, Gwendolen, i r o n i c a l l y enough, has also always been looked to as the strength of the family. Consequently her mother and her s i s t e r s expect Gwendolen to do something to r e l i e v e t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . Her welcome home i s r e v e a l i n g i Behind, of course, were the sad faces of the four superfluous g i r l s , each, poor t h i n g — l i k e those other 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 of no importance to any one else, but a l l of them f e e l i n g Gwendolen's presence to 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 hurried submission to t h e i r kisses, and 'Now go away, g i r l s , • c a r r i e d the sort of com-f o r t which a l l weakness finds i n decision and authoritativeness. (DD, 271) Gwendolen reacts as strongly to her mother's tearfulness as she does to her own misery; regardless of her own obvious i n a -b i l i t i e s she i s sincere enough i n her determination to save not only he r s e l f but her family as wellt "Never mind, mama dear," said Gwendolen, ten-derly pressing her handkerchief against the tears that 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 w i l l 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 glad because I am here." (DD, 271) However, Gwendolen's attempts to rescue her family from poverty are as determined by her background as any of her 162 other actions. Her notions of going on the stage, while pathetic i n t h e i r ignorance and egoism, are impossible to r e a l i z e because of the manner i n which a young English lady's talents 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 ease—you have done what you would—you have not said to yourself, "I must know t h i s exactly," "I must understand t h i s exactly," "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 three long fingers i n succession. "In sum, you have not been c a l l e d upon to be any-thing but a charming young lady, whom i t i s an im-politeness to f i n d f a u l t with." 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 r e a l future l i e s s The gods have a curse f o r him who w i l l i n g l y t e l l s another the wrong road. And i f I misled one who i s so young, so beautiful—who, I t r u s t , w i l l f i n d her happiness along the r i g h t road, I should regard my-s e l f as a —Bosewicht. (DD, 297) Klesmer i s obviously not r e f e r r i n g to Grandcourt; neverthe-le s s Gwendolen i s pushed inc 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 marriage—the sing l e career f o r which she has any t r a i n i n g at a l l . Gwendolen's other choice i s of course to take up the p o s i t i o n of governess to Mrs. Mompert's c h i l d r e n . That E l i o t 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 her reference to the "supreme worth of the teacher's vocation" (DD, 3 1 7 ) . Yet, at the same time the e f f e c t of a l l the pre-vious chapters has been to show why, because of her back-ground, t h i s i s an impossible alternatives George E l i o t has led us to see that becoming a governess is. a h o r r i b l e fate f o r Gwendolen, even 163 though i t need not 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 of the homage that the novel exacts f o r Gwendolen from us. So we are with Gwen-dolen i n f e e l i n g her choice to be a very d i f f i c u l t one, i n which moral and material questions are f i n e l y balanced and i n e x t r i c a b l y linked.14 Yet even given Gwendolen's egoism i t i s d i f f i c u l t to believe that her repulsion to governessing i s purely s e l f i s h . Any student of the period knows that governessing was very r a r e l y rewarding work: ...paid companion, in f a n t nurse, governess, school-teacher. As they are arranged, each i s but another name f o r servant. Each involves starvation wages which only a l i f e t i m e of saving could ever convert to ransom...Furthermore, these occuptions involve " l i v i n g - i n " and a twenty-four hour sur v e i l l a n c e tantamount to imprisonment.12 We can only agree with Gwendolen when she "saw the l i f e before her [at the Bishop 'Is] as an entrance i n t o a penitentiary'* (DD, 3 1 5)• I t i s E l i o t , rather than Gwendolen, who does not seem to be fa c i n g up to r e a l i t y . Although her tone i s not nearly so understanding i n t h i s section of the novel E l i o t s t i l l gives the reader the oppor-tun i t y to sympathize with 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 dissociated hap-piness from personal pre-eminence and e c l a t . That where these threatened to forsake her, she should take l i f e to be hardly worth the having, cannot make her so unlike the r e s t of us, men or women, that we should cast her out of compassion? our moments of temptations to a mean opinion of things i n general being usually dependent on some suscepti-b i l i t y about ourselves and some dulness to subjects which everyone else would consider important. Surely a young creature 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 before her 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 her good fortune has come as a sudden shock, l i k e a rent across the path she was treading so c a r e l e s s l y . (DD, 317) 164 The voice of the objective and t r a d i t i o n a l moralist however rings even louder and more c l e a r l y . The sentences immediately preceding the above quotation are c l e a r l y spoken i n judgment of Gwendolen's actions and E l i o t ' s antagonism to the " s e l f i s h woman" i s obvioust No r e l i g i o u s view of trouble helped her: her troubles had i n her opinion a l l been caused by other people's disagreeable or wicked conduct; and there was r e a l l y nothing pleasant to be counted on i n the world; that was her f e e l i n g ; everything else she had heard said about trouble was mere phrase-making not a t t r a c t i v e enough f o r her to have caught i t up and repeated i t . As to the sweetness of labour and f u l f i l l e d claims; the i n t e r e s t of inward and outward a c t i v i t y ; the impersonal delights of l i f e as a perpetual discovery; the dues of courage, f o r t i t u d e , industry, which i t i s mere baseness not to pay towards the common bur-then; the supreme worth of the teacher's v o c a t i o n ; — these, even i f they had:been eloquently preached to her, could have been no more than f a i n t l y appre-hended doctrines; the f a c t which wrought upon her was her i n v a r i a b l e observation that f o r a lady to become a governess—to 'take a sit u a t i o n ' — w a s to descend i n l i f e and to be treated at best with a com-passionate patronage. (DD., 317) Cert a i n l y these are noble, i f somewhat r h e t o r i c a l , sentiments as to the duties and rewards of responsibile adulthood. 3ut given the sexism to 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 at t h i s point i n the novel. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to believe i n the "supreme worth of the teacher" when one i s t a l k i n g about governessing; courage, f o r t i t u d e and industry are q u a l i t i e s which a woman i s allowed to exer-ci s e only i n the prescribed confines of the home, and the "per-petual discovery" of l i f e i s usually l i m i t e d to the rewards of bearing endless c h i l d r e n . A woman's labour i s r a r e l y "sweet", and " f u l f i l l i n g claims" means confining oneself to the r o l e of 165 d u t i f u l wife or daughter. E l i o t ' s image of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r Gwendolen's l i f e only have meaning i n an i d e a l society where women are allowed f u l l access to a l l human a c t i v i t i e s . I f , however, Gwendolen i s to be "educated" to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the r e a l world, then the p o l i t i c s of sex, which have so pervaded the novel u n t i l now, cannot go unchallenged. In the midst of Gwendolen's experiences i n Book I I I , E l i o t i n t e r j e c t s the story of Catherine Arrowpoint's d e c i -sion to defy her family and marry Klesmer. Although a compari-son between Gwendolen and Mirah was intended e a r l i e r i n the book i t does not succeed very well because the l a t t e r simply does not " l i v e " as a character. But with Gwendolen and Catherine the intended comparison does seem to work at f i r s t . Gwendolen supposedly rebels against 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 to accept poverty and a lowered s o c i a l s t a -tus? on the other hand Catherine'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 leading to greater personal f u l f i l l m e n t and an acceptance of exactly that which Gwendolen cannot face--poverty and s o c i a l ostracism. S u p e r f i c i a l l y the implied 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 com-pares the freedom of action of the two characters. Catherine has simply not suffered under the same pressures as Gwendolen and consequently i s not burdened with her egoism and vanity. Catherine i s very p l a i n and through e i t h e r good luck or pa-r e n t a l snobbishness has a superior education to Gwendolen's. Though her great fortune, l i k e Gwendolen's lack of wealth, 166 should make her an economic pawn, that has not been the case. Because of her plainness she knows that men are attracted by her money, not her looks. As Klesmer reminds h e n But you once said i t was your doom to suspect every man who courted you of being an adventurer, and what made you angriest was men's imputing to you the f o l l y of b e l i e v i n g that they courted you f o r your own sake. (DD, 28?) Thus she has a l e s s self-centred and consequently more r e a l i s t i c world view than Gwendolen. As each of Gwendolen's "plans" f a i l , and the i n e v i t a -b i l i t y of her own l i f e as a governess and her mother's as an inhabitant of Sawyer's Cottage closes i n , Grandcourt's proposal of marriage becomes i r r e s i s t i b l e . This i s not be-cause of the man himself, but because of the material r e l i e f he w i l l bring to her and her family. Grandcourt knows t h i s f o r he frames h i s proposal i n economic rather than romantic terms, "You w i l l t e l l me now, I hope, that Mrs. Davi-low's loss of fortune w i l l not trouble you fu r t h e r . You w i l l t r u s t me to prevent i t from weighing upon her. You w i l l give me the claim to provide against that.". "You accept what w i l l make such things a matter of course?" said Grandcourt, without any new eager-ness. "You consent to become my wife?" (DD', 347) The great complication i s of course Lydia Glashers i n E l i o t ' s mind t h i s i s Gwendolen's unforgivable s i n . By marry-in g Grandcourt, Gwendolen w i l l be d i s i n h e r i t i n g Grandcourt's natural c h i l d and sealing Mrs. Glasher's- own fate as a s o c i a l outcast. C e r t a i n l y Gwendolen can be held to blame f o r making 167 the choice she does, but i t i s not an uncommon one fo r women and i s dependent on many questions other than the purely moral one. In a world where women are t o t a l l y dependent upon men f o r economic security and s o c i a l status or f o r that matter f u l f i l l m e n t ' of any of t h e i r desires, they are natu-r a l l y t e r r i b l y competitive. Lydia Glasher i s i n such a pre-carious p o s i t i o n that to survive she must act vengefully and u t t e r l y without sympathy towards Gwendolen. Though he i s the cause of her misery, Grandcourt remains untouchable and Gwendolen has to bear h i s punishment, ...and i t was natural enough f o r Mrs. Glasher to enter with eagerness i n t o Lush's plan of hindering that 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 being sought as a b f i d e . She entered i n t o i t with an eagerness which had passion i n i t as w e l l as purpose, some of the stored-up venom d e l i v e r i n g i t s e l f i n that way. (DD, 388) But Gwendolen equally must ensure her own s u r v i v a l and t h i s forces her to si n against Lydia Glasher. I t i s Gwendolen's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that she accepts Grandcourt with f u l l know-ledge of Mrs. Glasher but i t i s due to s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s that the grotesque spectacle of Grandcourt playing the two women o f f against each other should even occur i n the f i r s t place. Gwendolen, as much as Mrs. Glasher, 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; her decision to marry Grandcourt, while regrettable, i s more than understandable. Though E l i o t provides the material f o r such an i n t e r p r e -t a t i o n of Gwendolen's po s i t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y through her b r i l -l i a n t exposure of Grandcourt's attitude towards the two 168 women, she f a i l s to sympathize with Gwendolen and instead i n s i s t s that she accept f u l l personal g u i l t , ...that she was doing something wrong—that a punishment might be hanging over h e r — t h a t the woman to whom she had given her promise and broken i t was thinking of her i n bitterness and misery with a just reproach...(DD, 401) The s p e c i f i c problem she creates f o r Gwendolen i s of course her "promise" to Lydia not to marry Grandcourt. Not only was t h i s promise made i n other circumstances when Gwendolen had a measure of economic se c u r i t y which allowed her some choice i n whom she married but as a moral dilemma i t i s a kind of red herring. Gwendolen's r e a l problem i s one which the moralists r a r e l y consider—what a woman must do to sur-vive i n a man's world. I t i s not Gwendolen's breaking of a promise which i s immoral but the s i t u a t i o n which makes that necessary. (v i ) L i v i n g under Grandcourt's awful power, combined with her g u i l t at having betrayed Lydia Glasher, leads Gwendo-len to s u f f e r h o r r i b l y . And s u f f e r i n g i s of course the f i r s t step to understanding. But what exactly does Gwendolen come to understand? Because E l i o t has previously described her circumstances so a c c u r a t e l y — s o completely defined the condi-tions under which a woman develops—the reader i s bound to expect Gwendolen's education through s u f f e r i n g to include to i some degree, as well as the knowledge of her own f a u l t s , a recognition of the circumstances which have led to them. 169. But t h i s i s not the case. For example, E l i o t h e r s e l f i s aware of Grandcourt's amoral exercise of his masculine poweri h i s soul was garrisoned against presentiments and fears« he had the courage and confidence that be-long to domination, and he was at that 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 that he held his wife with b i t and b r i d l e . By the time they had been married a year she would cease to be r e s t i v e . (DD, 7 4 4 ) But she does not f o r one moment allow Gwendolen the r e l i e f of knowing that her marital misery i s not completely s e l f -induced. On the contrary, Gwendolen's "education" consists e n t i r e l y i n accepting complete r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r a l l her actions. V/hile s e l f - c r i t i c i s m and humility can have great regenerative power, personal abasement can become neurotic 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 to see h e r s e l f as separate from the s o c i a l m i l i e u i n which she has acted. The irony here i s most i n t e r e s t i n g . E l i o t , 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 recog-nize r e a l i t y t at the same time, they recognize i t u n c r i -t i c a l l y , and instead of l e t t i n g them explore the contradic-tions of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s , she encourages the idea that i n -d i v i d u a l s can develop the moral force to r i s e above s o c i a l e v i l s . Such a s i t u a t i o n of course i s p a r t i c u l a r l y c r i t i -c a l f o r women, because i t i s just such a c a l l f o r develop-ment of t h e i r supposedly innate moral goodness which most securely binds them to t h e i r oppressive s i t u a t i o n . The c o r o l l a r y to the rul e that women must always be good and unse l f i s h i s that they must submit without complaint to i ? o the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l structure which has determined t h e i r secondary status. Gwendolen's guide through her period of s u f f e r i n g i s Daniel Deronda, and any close examination of his counsel to her reveals that E l i o t has substituted f o r a r a d i c a l analy-s i s of 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 of sexual p o l i t i c s (the p o s s i b i l i t y f o r which was suggested by the early books of the novel -)—the t r a d i t i o n a l • theory of i n d i v i -dual s a l v a t i o n and the old stereotype of woman as agent of moral goodness. In a l l t h e i r meetings together Deronda ne-ver explores with Gwendolen the p a r t i c u l a r s of her s i t u a t i o n . From the very beginning he encourages her to shoulder a l l blame. His att i t u d e i s c l e a r i n t h e i r f i r s t conversation a f t e r her marriage where, even i n a light-hearted exchange, he d i r e c t s her to look e n t i r e l y inward f o r the cause of her unhappinesst "I think what we c a l l the dulness of things i s a disease i n ourselves. E l s e how could anyone f i n d an intense i n t e r e s t i n l i f e ? And many do." "Ah, I seel The f a u l t I f i n d i n the world^is my own f a u l t , " said Gwendolen, smiling at him. Then a f t e r a moment, looking up at the ivory again, she said, "Do you never f i n d f a u l t with the world or with others?" "Oh yes. When I am i n a grumbling mood." (DD, k6k) C e r t a i n l y Gwendolen must examine her own self i s h n e s s but Deronda never takes her beyond that point; i n f a c t during the r e s t of t h e i r scenes together both he and she almost r e v e l i n her personal g u i l t . Gwendolen i s con t i n u a l l y r e f e r r i n g everything to n e r s e l f and asking what she can do. 171 I wanted to ask you something. You said I was ignorant. That i s true. And what can I do but ask you? (DD, 672) "You have saved me from worse," said Gwendolen, i n a sobbing voice. "I should have been worse, i f i t had not been f o r you. I f you had not been good, I should have been more wicked than I am." (DD, 767) "I asked you to come because I want you to t e l l me what I ought to do," she began, at once. "Don't be a f r a i d of t e l l i n g me what i s r i g h t , because i t seems hard. I have made up my mind to do i t . " (DD, 753) Deronda p a r t i c i p a t e s f u l l y i n her self-condemnation and always encourages her to accept her s u f f e r i n g u n c r i t i c a l l y as a kind of due punishment f o r her own s e l f i s h n e s s : Deronda could not u t t e r one word to diminish that sacred aversion to her worst s e l f — t h a t thorn-pressure which must come with the crowning of the sorrowful Better, s u f f e r i n g because of the Worse... There were no words of comfort that did not carry some s a c r i l e g e . I f -he had opened h i s l i p s to speak,' he could only have echoed, " I t can never be a l t e r e d — i t remains unaltered, to a l t e r other things." (DD, 762) That i s the b i t t e r e s t of a l l — t o wear the yoke of our own wrong-doing. But i f you submitted to that, as men submit to maiming or a l i f e l o n g incurable disease?—and made the unalterable wrong a reason f o r more e f f o r t towards a good that may do some-thing to counterbalance the e v i l ? One who has committed irremediable errors may be scourged by that consciousness i n t o a higher course than i s common." (DD, 506) Gwendolen, through Deronda's influence, is, completely "scourged" by the consciousness of her own e v i l , but at what cost to her i n d i v i d u a l self-development? The "higher course" that De-ronda has i n mind i s obviously nothing more than the adop-t i o n of 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 ancient one of "unfemininity." 172 Deronda's musings on the changes i n Gwendolen since her marriage give the clue to the d i r e c t i o n i n which her education i s supposed to leadi But i n seeing Gwendolen at Diplow, Deronda had discerned i n her more than he had expected of that tender appealing charm which we c a l l womanly. Was there any new change since then? (DD, 6 2 6 ) We are back to that "undisturbed charm" of the f i r s t para-graph of the novel. The changes to come a l l force Gwen-•dolen further and further i n t o the r o l e of i d e a l woman as portrayed by Mirah. The v i s i o n ; o f Mirah pervades t h i s se-cond h a l f of the novel and i t i s often to her image that Deronda r e f e r s when he encounters Gwendolen. Perhaps the most t e l l i n g instance i s h i s reaction towards Gwendolen at Mirah*s r e c i t a l ! Pray excuse Deronda that i n t h i s moment he f e l t a transient renewal of his f i r s t repulsion 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 undervaluing of Mirah as a woman. (DD, 619) I t i s obvious here that E l i o t has abandoned any c r i t i c a l a nalysis of Gwendolen and opted f o r Gwendolen as the repre-sentative of feminine e v i l who can turn a good man l i k e -Deronda against the true i d e a l of womanly p e r f e c t i o n . And i t i s c l e a r e r s t i l l that i n E l i o t ' s mind Gwendolen's "edu-ca t i o n " w i l l only be complete when she has 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, that we are most i n sympathy with. Gwendolen i s r i g h t i n her f e e l i n g that Mirah i s somehow too good to be true! 173 I have no sympathy with women who are always doing r i g h t . I don't believe i n t h e i r great 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 to Mirah's weakness both as a character and as a model f o r female behaviour. Yet i n the dialogue that follows Deronda makes i t c l e a r how appealing Mirah i s as a woman t "You admire Miss Lapidoth because you think her blameless, perfect. And you know you would des-pise a woman who had done something you thought very wrong." "That would depend e n t i r e l y on her own view of what she had done," said Deronda. "Youwould be s a t i s f i e d i f she were very wretched, I suppose?" said Gwendolen, impetuously. "No, not s a t i s f i e d — f u l l of sorrow f o r her...I did not mean to say that the f i n e r nature i s not more adorable; I meant that those who would be comparatively uninteresting beforehand may become worthier of sympathy when they do something that awakens i n them a keen remorse." (DD, 494) This speech of Deronda*s r a i s e s several points. Deronda i s again pushing Gwendolen to accept, i n f a c t embrace, g u i l t . But now there i s a new t w i s t — h e i s suggesting that s u f f e r i n g w i l l make her more a t t r a c t i v e and further implying the pos-s i b l e development of a romantic r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two of them. In part t h i s c e r t a i n l y seems to suggest the stereotype of the martyr-like good woman. Even ignoring t h i s (perhaps the point i s not strongly made here) Deronda's attitude very much changes the nature of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . The p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the dialogue have changed from two people to a man and a woman and the dynamics of sexual p o l i t i c s immediately become operative. R.T. Jones expresses t h i s sense most e x p l i c i t l y , 174 I t i s not easy to explain, i f i t needs explaining, why one f e e l s that a man could not speak to Gwen-dolen quite l i k e that. A woman much older than Gwendolen, perhaps could: perhaps t h i s i s a way of expressing a suspicion that George E l i o t her-s e l f i s speaking h e r e — u s i n g Deronda's voice to say what she would have l i k e d to say to Gwendolen. Coming from a man, the curiously generalizing speech contrives to be, at the same time, offen-s i v e l y d istant and embarrassingly intimate. (No doubt the n o v e l i s t intended i t to be f i n e l y balanced between the two.) Another way of putting i t might be to say that a man could not decently adopt that tone i n speaking to a woman unless he meant to marry her. I t can hardly 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 conversations, that Deronda's ad-v i s i n g makes Gwendolen dependent on him to an ex-tent that George E l i o t shows no sign of r e a l i z i n g ; i f he had meant to gain power over her, he could hardly have set 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 true, we may ask what Gwendolen might learn i n such a r e l a t i o n s h i p . For Gwendolen to grow out of her e-goism she must understand the world i n a new way, not j u s t from a confined "female" view. But the s i t u a t i o n with Deronda i s rooted i n sexual p o l i t i c s and so Gwendolen's whole pattern of response i s l i m i t e d . She i s now t a l k i n g to a man who might make love to her at some future time. W i l l she be able to appraise his advice o b j e c t i v e l y or w i l l she be anxious to please him, regardless of what her own r e a l i n t e r e s t s might be? But even i f one can f a u l t the "sexual" nature of ^feheir r e l a t i o n s h i p f o r f a i l i n g to allow Gwendolen a purely ob-j e c t i v e education, i t might be held that through Deronda she does learn to r e l a t e i n a p o s i t i v e way towards men and that t h i s i s compensation enough. To a c e r t a i n extent t h i s 175 i s true; by the end of the novel Gwendolen c e r t a i n l y seems to have overcome the physical revulsion towards men which marked her e a r l i e r experience with Rex Gascoigne. I t i s also obvious, however, from the nature of Gwendolen's r e -l a t i o n s h i p to Deronda, that she learns to "love" by learning to submit to the superior male. E l i o t i s c e r t a i n l y c r i t i c a l of Gwendolen's u t t e r dependence on Deronda: she did not imagine him otherwise than always within her reach, her supreme need of him . bl i n d i n g her to the separateness of h i s l i f e , the whole scene of which she f i l l e d with h i s r e l a -t i o n to her. (DD, 867) But she s t i l l approves of the general tone of t h e i r r e l a -tionship marked by passive submission on the woman's part and c h i v a l r i c generosity on the man's. He i s the open-hearted noble male; she the penitent 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 to s a t i s f y a suspicion. What he saw was Gwendolen's face of anguish framed black l i k e a nun's, and Deronda standing three yards from her with a look of sorrow such as he might have bent on the l a s t struggle of a beloved object. (DD, 673) Again, by looking at the Jewish part of the novel (s p e c i -f i c a l l y Mirah and Deronda's love r e l a t i o n s h i p ) one can confirm t h i s sense of the d i r e c t i o n i n which E l i o t i s pushing Gwendolen. Mirah unquestioningly accepts 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 quite r i g h t to you that the women should s i t behind r a i l s i n ; a g a l l e r y apart?" "Yes, I never though of anything e l s e , " said Mirah, with mild surprise. (DD, 410) She abhors her musical career and sees r e a l freedom i n g i v i n g 176 h e r s e l f over completely to the roles of d u t i f u l s i s t e r and lo v i n g wife. Deronda i s of course the perfect Ruskinian model of the chivalrous gentleman. He does not merely love Mirah, he worships her: And whatever reverence could be shown to woman, he was bent on showing to t h i s g i r l . (DD, 2 6 7 ) A man of refine d pride shrinks from making a lover's approaches to a woman whose v/ealth or rank might make them appear presumptuous or low-motived; but Deronda was f i n d i n g a more d e l i -cate 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 reverse of that—though to an ardent r e v e r e n t i a l love, the loved woman has always a kind of wealth and rank which makes a man keenly susceptible about the aspect of his addresses. (DD, 822) The weakness of t h i s kind of s o l u t i o n f o r Gwendolen i s apparent when we consider most of the other men i n the no-v e l . Deronda and Rex Gascoigne are not men as they are, but men as E l i o t would l i k e them to be. And because they are not • r e a l , 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 characters or as a r e a l i s t i c v i s i o n of the male attitudes Gwendolen w i l l encounter i n her "new" l i f e . But Grandcourt, Lush, S i r Hugo and Reverend Gascoigne are very successful male charac-t e r s at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y because, i n them, E l i o t b r i l l i a n t l y \ exposes the working of the p a t r i a r c h a l mind. However, Gwen-dolen i s not made to deal i n her education with these men and the power they they have over her and other women. A l -though Deronda may despise Grandcourt as a man, he never once discusses with Gwendolen the s p e c i f i c circumstances of her marriage. His view again i s that of the modern analyst. I f 177 there i s a problem i t i s Gwendolen's. I t i s not the man who must change but the woman. Although he never says so e x p l i c i t l y he quite c l e a r l y creates the impression that Gwendolen should stay with Grandcourt and submit to the l i f e to which her egoism has led hert Her imagination exaggerated every t y r a n n i c a l im-pulse he was capable of. "I w i l l i n s i s t on being separated from him"—was her f i r s t d a rting deter-mination! then, I w i l l leave him, whether he con-sents or not. • .And always among the images that drove her back to sumission was Deronda...And what would he say i f he knew everything? Probably that she ought to bear what she had brought on her s e l f , unless she were sure that she could make h e r s e l f a better woman by taking any other course. (DD, 665-6) This matter of r e b e l l i o n against Grandcourt i s an i n t e r e s t i n g one. E l i o t would approve Gwendolen's leaving him only i f i t i s "constructive r e b e l l i o n " (DD, 667) which i s we l l enough except that constructive r e b e l l i o n i s only under the condition that "she were sure she could make h e r s e l f a better woman" by doing so. Here again the p a r a l l e l v i s i o n of Mirah r i s e s i n t o view, as the prototype of that better kind of.woman. But equally at t h i s point we are reminded of another woman, Mrs. Glasher—an image with c l o s e r cor- 1 respondence to s o c i a l r e a l i t y . Gwendolen can sense very w e l l what a woman's l i f e i s outside of marriage. I t i s even highly doubtful whether E l i o t could have her extricate h e r s e l f from Grandcourt's cl u t c h e s i As the head of the proprietary family, the hus-band was the sole "owner" of wife and children, 178 empowered to deprive the mother of her offspring, who were his l e g a l possessions, should i t please him to do so upon divorcing-or deserting her. A father, l i k e a slaver, could order the law to reclaim his 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 l i k e d . Wives might be detained against t h e i r w i l l ; English wives who refused to return to t h e i r homes were subject to imprisonment.*° Even i f she could leave Grandcourt, her l i f e away from him would be of the kind that only a saint could bear. But E l i o t again ignores social, r e a l i t i e s and would have us i n -terpret Gwendolen's fear of leaving Grandcourt as another aspect of her egoism: Can we wonder at the p r a c t i c a l submission which hid her constructive r e b e l l i o n ? The combination i s common enough, so we know from the number of persons who make us aware of i t i n t h e i r own case by a clamorous unwearied statement of the reasons against t h e i r submitting to a s i t u a t i o n which, on inquiry, we discover to be the l e a s t disagree-able within t h e i r reach. (DD, 667) The patronizing, holier-than-thou tone of t h i s passage i s a l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t to l i s t e n to seriously, considering what we 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 don sackcloth and ashes and scourge h e r s e l f i n the streets of London, or more probably, l i k e Mirah, wander about with her l i t t l e c rust of bread and wait f o r some Deronda-angel to save her. I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g then that those "murderous impulses" grow within Gwendolen. Deronda*s f a c i l e s o l u t i o n that "she should keep her fear as a safeguard" has simply not dealt with a woman's r e a l i t y of l i v i n g with a man who does not allow her even the freedom of her own thoughts. 179 The rewards of submission i n these circumstances are as mysterious to us as they are to Gwendolen. Grandcourt does die, however, and Gwendolen i s at l e a s t saved from having to submit he r s e l f to his r u l e , as was Dorothea by Casaubon*s well-timed demise. But i t i s impor-tant to remember that i n both cases E l i o t would have had her female characters submit. In t h i s kind of s i t u a t i o n we see how her theory of resignation has a d i f f e r e n t kind of meaning when applied to women. Men resign themselves to the "eter-n a l l y " problematic s i t u a t i o n s of l i f e — t h e knowledge of t h e i r own shortcomings and the necessity of cooperating and working with the human community. The women i n George ELiot's novels resign themselves and learn to submit, not to the "Human s i t u a t i o n , " but to a s p e c i f i c man-made s o c i a l system c a l l e d patriarchy. I t i s a d i s t i n c t i o n between the s i t u a t i o n s of. men and women often overlooked and which Margaret F u l l e r describes i n Woman i n .the Nineteenth Century i V I t may be said that Man does not have his f a i r play either; his energies are repressed 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 of a r t i f i c i a l obstacles. Ay, but he himself has put them there; they have grown out of h i s own imperfections. I f there i s a mis-fortune in"Woman's l o t , i t i s i n obstacles being interposed by men which do not mark her state; and, i f they express her past ignorance, do not her present needs.1? There are of course men l i k e Lydgate who must learn to sub-mit to women l i k e Rosamond. But one should note that f o r him, as a man, E l i o t accepts as unavoidable the anger which accompanies h i s submission. Gwendolen's great f a u l t , however, 180 i s j u s t t h i s kind of anger and f r u s t r a t i o n ; her pride does remain and thus her period of suffe r i n g , according to the n o v e l i s t , i s incomplete. E l i o t ' s f a i l u r e to carry through her e a r l i e r p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l analysis of Gwendolen's s i t u a t i o n as a woman c o n t r i -butes to the a r t i s t i c weakness of the second h a l f of the novel. Although Gwendolen h e r s e l f as a character never f a i l s — because the tension of her s i t u a t i o n i s maintained u n t i l 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 with Deronda do. The weakness of the Jewish parts of the novel, f i l l e d with sentimentalism, exaggerated idealism and overblown r h e t o r i c , s p i l l over i n t o the encounters that Deronda has with Gwen-dolen. These scenes f a i l a r t i s t i c a l l y because they bring the r e a l moving force of~the novel, the consciousness of Gwendolen as a woman trapped i n a p a t r i a r c h a l society, to a dead h a l t . Each time she meets Deronda, Gwendolen i s i n great and very r e a l anguish; the immediacy of her need i s b r i l l i a n t l y apparent. Yet Deronda's response i s never nearly equal to the s i t u a t i o n . In answer to her c r i e s f o r an ex-planation of her p a r t i c u l a r circumstances, Deronda gives only s t a t i c r h e t o r i c a l speeches, I take what you said of music f o r a small ex-a 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 of a private joy i n it.;-What sort of earth or heaven would hold any s p i r i t u a l wealth i n i t f o r souls pauperised by inaction? I f one firmament has no stimulus f o r our attention and awe, I don't see how four would have i t . We should stamp every possible world with the flatness of our own i n a n i t y — w h i c h i s nece s s a r i l y impious, without f a i t h or fellowship. 181 The refuge you are needing from personal trouble i s the higher, the r e l i g i o u s l i f e , which holds an enthusiasm f o r something more than our own appetites and v a n i t i e s . The few may f i n d them-selves i n i t simply by an elevation of feeling} but f o r us who have to struggle f o r our wisdom, the higher l i f e must be a region i n which the a f f e c t i o n s are clad with knowledge. (DD, 507-8) I f such speeches sound l i k e over-worked Sunday school maxims out of context, they are even worse given the s p e c i f i c s i t u a t i o n i n the novel. His words mean nothing when con-trasted to.*.-the c h i l l i n g scenes of her l i f e with Grandcourt which are interspersed among these r e l i g i o u s l e c t u r e s . Each of Gwendolen's scenes with Deronda i s i d e n t i c a l and interchangeable. Gwendolen's needs are never r e a l l y dealt with. Perhaps the most i r r i t a t i n g of a l l are t h e i r conver-sations following Grandcourt's drowning. Deronda has never entered i n t o her s i t u a t i o n enough to understand the c o n f l i c t which i s tearing her apart; he l i s t e n s to her story as would a professor of ethics i n t r i g u e d by a moral conundrum rather than as a t r u l y concerned help-matet Gwendolen's confession, f o r the very reason that her conscience made her dwell on the determining power of her e v i l thoughts, convinced him the more that there had been throughout a counterba-lancing struggle of her better w i l l . I t seemed almost c e r t a i n that her murderous thought had had no outwards e f f e c t — t h a t , quite apart from i t , the death was i n e v i t a b l e . S t i l l , a question as to the outward effectiveness of a criminal desire dominant enough to impel even a momentary act, cannot a l t e r our judgment of the desire; and De-ronda shrank from putting that question forward i n the f i r s t instance; he held i t l i k e l y that Gwen-dolen's remorse aggravated her inward g u i l t , and that she gave the character of decisive action to what had been an inappreciably instantaneous glance of desire. (DD, ?6l-2) 182 I t i s t h i s lack of sympathy or empathy with a woman's l i f e which weakens the power of Deronda's scenes with the Alcha-r i s i which come immediately before his conversation with Gwendolen a f t e r Grandcourt's death. E l i o t i s c l e a r l y , a l -most p a i n f u l l y aware of the kind of pressures which close i n on a woman l i k e the A l c h a r i s i : "No," said the Princess, shaking her head, and f o l d i n g her.--.arms with an a i r of decis i o n . "You are not a woman. You may t r y — b u t you can never imagine what i t i s to have a man's force of genius i n you, and yet to s u f f e r the slavery of being a g i r l . To have a pattern cut 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 heart must be of such a siz e and no larger, else i t must be pressed small, l i k e Chinese feet; her happiness i s to be made as cakes are, by a f i x e d r e c e i p t . " That was what my father wanted. He wished.;-! had been.a son; he cared f o r me as a makeshift l i n k . (DD, 694) But E l i o t cannot give her freedom: And t h e r e ; l i e s just that kernel of t r u t h i n the vulgar alarm of men l e s t women should be 'un-sexed.' We can no more a f f o r d to part with that exquisite type of gentleness, tenderness, possible « maternity suffusing a woman's being with a f f e c t i o -nateness which makes what we mean by the feminine character, than we can a f f o r d to part with the human love, the mutual subjection of soul between a man and a woman—which i s also a growth and r e -ve l a t i o n beginning before a l l h i s t o r y . 1 8 Thus the A l c h a r i s i l i k e Gwendolen, must be driven by g u i l t : I t was my nature to r e s i s t and say, 'I have a r i g h t to r e s i s t . * Well, I say so s t i l l when I have any strength i n me. You have heard me say i t , and I don't withdraw i t . But v/hen my strength goes, some other r i g h t forces i t s e l f upon me l i k e an i r o n i n an inexorable hand; and even when I am at ease i t i s beginning to make ghosts upon the daylight. (DD, 699) She w i l l not be released from her misery u n t i l she admits 183 she has f a i l e d to l i v e out her proper roles as wife, mother and daughter and instead followed the s e l f i s h and a n t i - s o c i a l desire to p a r t i c i p a t e as a man does i n the world. Although E l i o t says that 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 against her father a f t e r she had promised to obey, that answer a-voids ( l i k e the matter of Gwendolen's broken promise to Lydia Glasher) the very question that has been ra i s e d about the r i g h t s of women to self-development. Her father was so adamant i n his determination that she become the t r a d i t i o n a l Jewish wife and mother than only by deception could she ever hope f o r any personal freedom. Thus i s the A l c h a r i s i , l i k e Gwendolen, forced i n t o the t r a d i t i o n a l woman's r o l e through the alleged necessity of submission to the needs of others regardless of contingent circumstances. A hopeless tauto-logy i s thereby created. Any r e b e l l i o n which may challenge the e x i s t i n g pattern of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s i s unacceptable. But as long as the s o c i a l pressures continue to force women int o prescribed r o l e s then any attempt to break out must be r e b e l l i o n . Gwendolen's story does not end i n Florence with Grand-court's death. There i s more s u f f e r i n g i n store f o r her« the f i n a l separation from Deronda. While on one" l e v e l t h i s i s the e s s e n t i a l l a s t step i n Gwendolen's growth out of egoism, on another l e v e l i t i s an abandonment of Gwendolen and her p a r t i c u l a r kind of s i t u a t i o n . Gwendolen cannot have Deronda, not only because she must sever her complete 184 dependence on him, but because she i s not good enough f o r him. Gwendolen cannot compare to the perfect woman, Mirah. And because E l i o t holds up Mirah as an i d e a l to whom we must compare Gwendolen, the l a t t e r * s future i s not l e f t as open as c r i t i c s such as Barbara Hardy would suggest. I t i s c l e a r that Gwendolen must work towards becoming the kind of woman Mirah i s . Because Mirah obviously represents such a "female i d e a l , " Gwendolen's education process becomes not so much an open-ended search f o r true and impersonal adult-hood as the development of her "proper" womanhood. As with Mirah, Gwendolen's true f u l f i l l m e n t w i l l come through sub-mission to a male f i g u r e . Thus the overt hints that Gwen-dolen i s now "ready" to marry Rex Gascoigne suggests Who has been quite free from e g o i s t i c escapes of the imagination p i c t u r i n g desirable consequences on h i s own future i n the presence of another's misfortune^sorrow, or death? The expected promo-t i o n or legacy i s the common type of a temptation which makes speech and even prayer a severe a v o i -dance of the most i n s i s t e n t thought, and some-times r a i s e s an inward shame, a s e l f - d i s t a s t e , that i s worse than any other form of unpleasant companionship. In Rex's nature the shame was immediate, and overspread l i k e an ugly l i g h t a l l the hurrying images of what might come, which thrust themselves i n with the idea that Gwendolen was again free—overspread them, perhaps, the more p e r s i s t e n t l y because every phantasm of a hope was quickly n u l l i f i e d by a more su b s t a n t i a l obstacle. Before the v i s i o n of 'Gwendolen free* rose the impassable v i s i o n of 'Gwendolen r i c h , exalted, courted:' and i f i n the former time, when both t h e i r l i v e s were fresh, she had turned from hi s love with repugnance, what ground was there f o r supposing that her heart would be more open to him i n the future? (DD, 7 7 7 ) I have found out that Rex never goes to Offendene, and has never seen the duchess since she came back; 185 and Kiss Gascoigne l e t f a l l something...which proved to me that Rex was once hovering about hi s f a i r cousin close enough to get singed. I don't know what what was her part i n the a f f a i r . Per-haps the duke came i n and carried." her o f f . That i s always the way when an exceptionally worthy young man forms an attachment. I understand now why Gascoigne talks of making the law h i s mistress and remaining a bachelor. But these are green resolves. Since the duke did not get himself drowned f o r your sake, i t may turn out to be f o r my f r i e n d Rex's sake. Who knows? (DD, 871) But neither t h i s s o l u t i o n of marriage, nor Gwendolen's own statement that "I may l i v e to be one of the best of women, who make others glad that they were born" (DD, 882) i s enough given the force with which her woman's s i t u a t i o n has been painted. That woman's tension i n Gwendolen's l i f e i s what makes her one of the most compelling female characters i n l i t e r a t u r e and she must be dealt with more completely than by being prepared f o r marriage, motherhood and good works. In the same way i t i s the lack of that tension i n Mirah*s l i f e (even though E l i o t t r i e s to create i t i n the s i t u a t i o n with her father) which makes her such a dead character. She i s too perfect, she does not have to grapple with the s o c i a l values that Gwendolen does. She i s another one 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 cannot object to the kind of submission and resignation that E l i o t wants to teach. Adult maturity does mean accepting the r e a l i t y of other people, and the necessity of adjusting one's own desires to the goals of the s o c i a l community as a whole. But there i s another l e v e l of submission which i n the novels of George 186 E l i o t we cannot help but r e g r e t — t h e forced submission of women to the inhuman system of patriarchy. There i s l i t t l e i n t e l l i g e n t consciousness by Gwendolen of her p o s i t i o n as a female. E l i o t , however, understood her s i t u a t i o n , and made us f e e l i t ; she furthermore encouraged us to expect that Gwendolen too would come to know the terms on which a woman i s allowed to p a r t i c i p a t e i n society. But i n the solu t i o n she provides f o r Gwendolen, E l i o t ignores the s o c i a l consciousness which has determined the tone and consequent reader response to the f i r s t two books of the novel. She removes Gwendolen from the r e a l world and places her i n an unreal one peopled by chivalrous gentle-men and female s a i n t s . In the f i r s t part of Daniel Deronda Gwendolen was a woman i n the process of "becoming" a per-son. By the end of the novel there i s no more to be • found than the i d e a l woman of Ruskin's Queen's Garden* 18? NOTES 1 George E l i o t , Daniel Deronda. Introduction by Barbara Hardy. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, I 9 6 7 ) , p. 866. Subsequent references i n text. 2 Ibid., "Introduction", pp. 2 8 - 2 9 . 3 Jerome Thale, The Novels of George E l i o t (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1 9 5 9 ) , PP» 124-5. 4 Ibid., p. 1 3 2 . 5 Haight, Letters, VI, 2 9 0 . George E l i o t to Mime. Eugene Bodichon, London, 2 October I 8 7 6 7 John Ruskin, Sesame and L i l i e s (London: George A l l e n , 1904), pp. 1 0 7 - 1 1 0 . 8 Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach, i n Karl - Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, v o l . II (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962), p. 404. 9 see Laurence Lerner, "The Education of Gwendolen Harleth," C r i t i c a l Quarterly, VII, I 9 6 7 , p. 3 6 1 . and Thale, The Novels of George E l i o t , p. 128. 10 Joseph Rheingold, The Fear of Being a Woman (New York: Grune and Stratton, 1964), p. 7 1 4 . Q u o t e d by Naomi Weisstein, "Women and Psychology," i n Women's Liberati o n  and L i t e r a t u r e , ed. Elaine Showalter (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971), P^ 2 7 2 . 11 Walter Houghton, The V i c t o r i a n Frame of Mind (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957)* 12 I b i d . , p. 393. 188 13 Graham Martin, "Daniel 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 , Barbara Hardy ed (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 19/0), p. 146. 14 R.T. Jones, George E l i o t (Cambridge: University Press, 1970), p. 107. 15 Ibid., p. 110. 16 M i l l e t t , Sexual P o l i t i c s , p. 6 7 . Margaret F u l l e r , Woman i n the Nineteenth Century (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1971)i p. 49. 18 Haight, Letters, IV, 468. George E l i o t to Emily Davies, London, 8 August 1868. V F e l i x Holt the Radical, 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 only one other female character i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n worth serious consideration—Mrs. Transome i n F e l i x Holt the Radical. Though her part i s r e l a t i v e l y small (she i s present i n f a r fewer scenes than Esther, Harold Transome or F e l i x Holt) her figure and personality dominate the book. F e l i x i s not so much a character as a mouthpiece f o r George E l i o t ' s chief p o l i t i c a l tenet* "the amelioration of man's l o t w i l l not follow d i r e c t l y upon improved p o l i -1 t i c a l machinery." Esther Lyon's "progress i s too painless 2 and her end to complacent" f o r her story to command much attention, and Harold Transome, though v i v i d l y drawn, cuts a t o o - f a m i l i a r figure as the handsome well-bred but morally corrupt 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 original} i n her p o r t r a i t there i s a depth of understanding and psychological realism missing i n the re s t of the. novel. She resembles Mrs. Glasher and the A l -c h a r i s i i n Daniel Deronda but i n the e a r l i e r ' novel the as-pect of feminine consciousness which they exemplify i s f u l l y fleshed out. Mrs. Transome i s one of those rare in-depth p o r t r a i t s of an older woman. Unlike most of the mothers 189 190 and mothers-in-law of English l i t e r a t u r e she i s not treated with amusement or passed over l i g h t l y . She i s seen i n the l i g h t of woman's experience, and the usual c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of feminine middle a g e — b i t t e r n e s s , discontent, i r r i t a b i l i t y and f r u s t r a t i o n — a r e presented with compassion and sympathy. Ce r t a i n l y Mrs. Transome i s a proud, s e l f i s h and ambitious woman, but the sense of her that most strongly pervades the novel i s not her love of power but her u t t e r lack of power. And i t i s d e f i n i t e l y a woman's lack of power that we come to know. Mrs. Transome has been betrayed by a l l the common expectations of a woman's l i f e . Her education, l i k e Gwen-dolen's, promised ease and s u p e r i o r i t y and prepared her f o r none of the hardship and humiliation that was to be her l o t ; Mrs. Transome had been i n her bloom before t h i s century began, and i n the long p a i n f u l years since then, what she had once regarded as her knowledge and accomplishments had become as valueless as old-fashioned stucco ornaments, of which the substance was never worth anything, while the form i s no longer to the taste of any l i v i n g mortal. Crosses, m o r t i f i c a t i o n s , money-cares, conscious blameworthiness, had changed the aspect of the world f o r hert there was anxiety i n the morning sunlight; there was un-kind triumph or disapproving p i t y i n the glances of greeting neighbours; there was advancing age, and a contracting prospect i n the changing seasons She gave her love, the "motive that gives a sublime rhythm to a woman's l i f e " (FH, 429) to a man who enjoyed i t s pleasure but refused to share with her the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of i t s i l l i c i t nature. Like Mrs. Glasher, Mrs. Transome has discovered i t i s the woman, not the man, who pays f o r 191 t h e i r mutual " s i n . " And as f o r the rewards of maternity, Mrs. Transome has invested a l l her hopes and dreams i n Harold only to have him regard her as a handsome but igno-rant and useless old woman* Aft e r sharing the common dream that when a beau-t i f u l man c h i l d was born to her, her cup of happi-ness would be f u l l , she had t r a v e l l e d through long years apart from that c h i l d to f i n d h e r s e l f at 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 given case she possessed no key... I f Harold had shown the l e a s t care to have her stay i n the room with 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 past could be dissolved, and leave no s o l i d trace of i t s e l f — m i g h t y i f s that were a l l impossible—she would have tasted some joy. (FH, 114) Mrs. Transome's bit t e r n e s s , l i k e Maggie's anger, Rosamond's obstinacy 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 roots not so much i n b l i n d selfishness as i n an understand-able response to the interpersonal r e l a t i o n s of a p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y . Her hatred 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 very d i f f i c u l t to condemm when one considers the treatment she s u f f e r s from both 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 once between them i s something he "more and more forgets" (FH, 1 1 6 ) . Yet he i s not above taking advantage of society's opinion that 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 years he has used the secret of "her weakness" to b u i l d up his own f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y . Harold's attitude towards h i s mother i s neither Mir. Brooke's brand of s i l l y anti-feminism or Daniel 192 Deronda's suffocating c h i v a l r y : l i k e Tom T u l l i v e r and Hen-l e i g h Grandcourt he simply does not admit that women belong to the same species as men: Western women were not to his taste: they showed a t r a n s i t i o n from the feebly animal to the thinking being, which was simply troublesome. Harold pre-ferred a slow-witted large-eyed woman, s i l e n t and affectionate, with a load of black h a i r weighing much more heavily than her brains. (FH, 31) To Harold the very f a c t of h i s mother's sex means that she can have no opinions of any value or any talents beyond those of a good hostess: A woman ought to be a Tory, and graceful, and handsome, l i k e you. I should hate a woman who took up~my opinions and talked f o r me. I'm an Oriental you know...(FH, 110) The f a c t that she had been active i n the . management of the e s t a t e — h a d ridden about i t continually, had busied h e r s e l f with accounts, had been head b a i l i f f of the vacant farms, and had yet allowed things to go wrong—was set down by him simply to the general f u t i l i t y of women's attempt's to transact men's business. He did not want to say anything to annoy her: he was only determined to l e t her understand, as q u i e t l y as possible that she had better cease a l l i n t e r -ference. (FH, 109) For Mrs. Transome the years 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 to her needs, and her own i n a c t i v i t y (forced on her by Harold's r e f u s a l to allow her any part i n the management of the estate) have a l l combined to produce insid e her a :slowly t i c k i n g bomb. Every scene i n which she i s present i s infused with the dramatic power of that anger and resentment. The contrast between Harold's calm assumption of male s u p e r i o r i t y and her smouldering fury i s b r i l l i a n t to the point of being unbearable. When she i s 193 alone with Denner, there i s some relaxation of tension ( f o r Mrs. Transome, not the reader) as she expresses to another woman what the men i n her l i f e w i l l never understand. F i n a l l y i n her l a s t meeting with Jermyn the s t r a i n i s bro-ken and i n a great moment of release she refuses at l a s t to submit to his demandsi "I w i l l never t e l l him!" said Mrs. Transome, s t a r t i n g up, her whole frame t h r i l l e d with a passion that seemed almost to make her young again. Her hands hung beside her clenched t i g h t l y , her eyes and l i p s l o s t the helpless repressed bitterness of discontent, and seemed suddenly fed with energy. (FH, 369) However, there i s no r e a l r e s o l u t i o n to Mrs. Transome's s i t u a t i o n . Her character does not r e a l l y change or de-velop. The disappointment that she experiences i n her son's return only increases her b i t t e r n e s s . By the end of theimovel she has no more understanding of the world than she did at the beginning! She had no ultimate analysis of things that went beyond blood and f a m i l y — t h e Herons of Fenshore or the Badgers of H i l l b u r y . She had never seen behind the canvas with which her l i f e was hung. In the dim background there was the burning mount and the tables of the law: i n the foreground there was Lady Debarry p r i v a t e l y gossiping about her, and Lady Wyvern f i n a l l y deciding not to send her i n v i t a t i o n s to dinner. (FH, 350) I f nothing "happens" to Mrs. Transome, why i s she i n the novel at a l l ? Surely she cannot be merely an i s o l a t e d p o r t r a i t of a f a s c i n a t i n g personality. I would suggest that the importance of Mrs. Transome's story i s to be found, not i n her own experiences, but i n the contrast between her l i f e 194 and that of the other important female character of the book, Esther Lyon. And at th i s point we come across almost exactly the same circumstance that weakens the story of Gwendolen Harleth i n Daniel Deronda. Esther, l i k e Mirah, i s ultimately the "good woman" against whom we are supposed to measure Mrs. Transome. The Esther we are introduced to i s supposedly s e l f i s h , vain, t r i t e and coquettish. In t h i s respect, however, she has not nearly the c r e d i b i l i t y of Gwendolen or Rosamond. Her egoism has no p a r t i c u l a r complexity; nor does i t run very deep. In f a c t , i t i s shattered i n a matter of moments by our hero F e l i x Holt. Esther's metamorphosis from s e l f - i n t e r e s t to s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s one of the most rapid about-faces i n English l i t e r a t u r e . In a matter of days she overcomes her repulsion to her father's e c c e n t r i c i t i e s , abandons her e l i -t i s t view of L i t t l e Treby society and completely reorders the ambitions of her l i f e . The problem i s that she e f f e c t s t h i s amazing transformation not out of any inner promptings but out of what can only be c a l l e d her sexual a t t r a c t i o n to F e l i x Holt. I t c a l l s to mind the situation=of Lady Chatterly; we can. picture the outspoken, yet noble and over-poweringly masculine F e l i x Holt i n the part of the gardener. He loathes Esther's f i n i c k y femininity, notions of romance and dreams of indulgent luxury, and i s not at a l l attracted by the wit or charm of which she i s so proud. Pleasing F e l i x Holt means exchanging her p r i n c i p l e s and set of values 195 for h i s . This i s exactly what Esther goes about doing. As fo r F e l i x , though he c r i t i c i z e s Esther's vanity, he i s a t t r a c -ted to nothing i n Esther but her beauty. He only wishes that her character should be as perfect as her face. "You are very b e a u t i f u l . " She started and looked round at him, to see whether his face would give some help to the in t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h i s novel speech. He was looking up at her quite calmly, very much as a r e v e r e n t i a l Protestant might look at a picture of the V i r g i n , with a devoutness suggested by the type rather than by the image. Esther's vanity was not i n the l e a s t g r a t i f i e d * she f e l t that, somehow or other, F e l i x was going to reproach her. "I wonder," he went on, s t i l l looking at her, "whether the subtle measuring of forces w i l l ever come to measuring the force there would be i n one b e a u t i f u l woman whose mind was as noble as her face was beautiful—who made a man's passion f o r her rush i n one current with a l l the great aims of h i s l i f e . (FH, 247) I t i s speeches l i k e the above that rather reduce our i n t e r e s t i n Esther Lyon's story. She i s involved i n no c o n f l i c t which can widen our understanding of feminine experience. On the contrary, she i s learning, 1with the author's f u l l par-t i c i p a t i o n and approval, only to accommodate h e r s e l f to the laws of male supremacy. The choice she must eventually make between Harold Transome and F e l i x Holt seems only to be be-tween two brands of male chauvinism—one rather pedestrian and the other tediously s e l f - r i g h t e o u s . She h e r s e l f had no sense of i n f e r i o r i t y and ju s t subjection when she was with Harold Transome; there were even points i n him f o r which she f e l t a touch, not of angry, but of p l a y f u l scorn; whereas with F e l i x she had alv/ays a sense of dependence and possible i l l u m i n a t i o n . In those large, grave, can-did grey eyes of h i s , love seemed something that belonged to the high enthusiasm of l i f e , such as 196 might now be forever shut out from her. (FH, 374) In returning to F e l i x Holt i t i s d i f f i c u l t to believe that she i s get t i n g a much better bargain than the one Harold Transome o f f e r s . With Harold her s i t u a t i o n , i f h o r r i f y i n g , would at l e a s t have been c r e d i b l e . With F e l i x i t i s simply nauseating. The r e a l i t y , that she has given h e r s e l f com-p l e t e l y to a man who demands the absolute subjection of women, i s ignored. Instead of an honest appraisal of women's po s i t i o n i n society we are bombarded with the myths of . woman's "ennobling ardour" and s p e c i a l moral influence? When a woman f e e l s purely and nobly, that ardour of hers which breaks through formulas too r i -gorously urged on men by d a i l y p r a c t i c a l needs, makes one of her most precious i n f l u e n c e s ! she i s the added impulse that shatters the s t i f f e n i n g crust of cautious experience. Her i n s p i r e d ignorance gives a sublimity to actions so incon-gruously simple, that otherwise they would make men smile. Some of that ardour which has flashed out and illuminated a l l poetry and h i s t o r y was burning today i n the bosom of sweet Esther Lyon. In t h i s , at l e a s t her woman's l o t was perf e c t ! that the man she loved was her hero:that her woman's passion and her reverence f o r r a r e s t good-ness rushed together i n an undivided current. (FH, 413) What makes such speeches most d i s t r e s s i n g i s that we are c l e a r l y intended to apply these values to the l i f e of Mrs. Transome. I t i s the example of that woman's b i t t e r un-happiness which has been the deciding f a c t o r i n Esther's decision to refuse Harold Transome: The dimly-suggested tragedy of t h i s woman's l i f e , the dreary waste of 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 her even to-horror. I t seemed to have come as a l a s t v i s i o n to urge her 197 towards the' l i f e where the draughts of joy sprang from the unchanging fountains of reverence and devout love. (FH, kj,k) The i m p l i c a t i o n i s , of course, .that at one time Mrs. Tran-some too had a choice, that l i k e Esther she could have found happiness i f she had accepted the true womanly ro l e of submission. Like Esther she ought to have admitted, "I am weak—my husband must be greater and nobler than I am" (FH, 4 3 8 ) . I t i s by t h i s obvious p a r a l l e l to Esther's l i f e that the p o r t r a i t of Mrs. Transome i s robbed of most of i t s apparent s i g n i f i c a n c e . We have been wrong to think her a vi c t i m of a p a t r i a r c h a l society. C l e a r l y her misery i s something she has brought on h e r s e l f . She could have been a "good" woman l i k e Esther but she chose not to be» She [Esther} heard the doors close behind him, and f e l t free to be miserable. 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 Holt, she could have been a good woman. She f e l t no t r u s t that she could ever be good without him. (FH, 291) She [Mrs. Transome! would have given a great deal at t h i s moment i f her feeble husband had not always l i v e d i n dread of her temper and her tyranny ,; so that he might have been fond of her now. She f e l t h e r s e l f l o v e l e s s . (FH, 311) And so we are back to the problem that faces us at the end of the other E l i o t novels discussed. We are led to i n t e r -pret a woman's f r u s t r a t i o n s as a conscious or unconscious struggle against f i r m l y entrenched male values. But at the point of re s o l u t i o n these terms of reference are sud-denly and dramatically changed. We are taken out of the so-198 c i a l m i l i e u , realism disappears, and we are l e f t with the choice of seeing the heroine as a minstering angel or an e v i l temptress. ( i i ) This ambiguous treatment of the female personality does not a r i s e i n eithe r Adam Bede, S i l a s Marner or Romola because none of the female characters i s ever l i f t e d f a r enough above stereotype f o r there to be any question of a departure from realism. Though Hetty's s o l i t a r y wandering i s t r u l y pathetic, that i s the only instance i n her story where she i s treated with any large or 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 but vain and s e l f i s h young g i r l who has deceived the virtuous Adam Bede and tempted the weak Arthur Donnithorne. There i s no attempt to understand how much Hetty h e r s e l f may be a v i c -tim. Both her class and her sex, as Kate M i l l e t points out, w i l l often encourage i n a young country g i r l unfor-tunately pragmatic attitudes towards romantic and sexual relationships» The young middle-class woman could be frightened i n t o s o c i a l and sexual conformity with the spectres of governessing, factory 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 only to dream of becoming a "lady," the single improvement to her s i t u a t i o n she i s permitted to conceive of, the hope of acquiring s o c i a l and economic status through a t t r a c t i n g the sexual patronization of the male. When the only known "freedom" i s a gilded voluptuousness attainable through the l a r -gess of someone who owns and controls everything there i s l i t t l e incentive to struggle f o r per-199 sonal f u l f i l l m e n t or l i b e r a t i o n . 2 * Furthermore the constantly f l a t t e r i n g attention paid to Hetty because of her extraordinary beauty gives her a sense of apparent power. As f a r as she can know, her dream of "becoming a lady" does have some basis i n r e a l i t y . Unless , at the same time Hetty can be expected to have a very acute analysis of both the class and the p a t r i a r c h a l systems, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to censure her as E l i o t does. Hetty i s always more p i t i f u l than v i c i o u s . However, as i n the case of Rosamond and Lydgate a f t e r t h e i r marriage, i t i s the man and not 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 allow himself to be trapped by Hetty's cunning charm, and even Arthur Donnithorne cannot be fa 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 of b e l i e v i n g that a woman i s only what she appears to bet Before you despise Adam as d e f i c i e n t i n penetra-t i o n , pray ask yourself i f you were ever pre-disposed to believe e v i l of any pretty woman— i f you ever could, without hard head-breaking demonstration, believe e v i l of the one supremely pretty woman who has bewitched you. Not people who love downy peaches are apt not to think of the stone, and sometimes j a r t h e i r teeth t e r r i b l y against i t . Arthur Donnithorne, too, had the same sort of notion about Hetty, so f a r as he had thought of. her nature at a l l . He f e l t sure she was a dear, a f f e c -tionate, good l i t t l e t i l i n g . 5 Thus i t i s Hetty and not eith e r of the men i n the novel who must be punished. She p u b l i c l y confesses to s i n and submits to transportation and f i n a l l y death. Adam suff e r s , but only 200 so that he can discover the difference between the "good" and the " e v i l " side of womanhood. As f o r Arthur Donnithorne, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to work up much sympathy f o r a young a r i s t o -crat separated f o r a few years from his r i g h t to 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 Metho-d 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 Hetty i s not very complex, that of Dinah i s even le s s so. She i s a tedious inventory of a l l the womanly v i r t u e s ; i n marrying Adam Bede she only attains a higher degree of per-f e c t i o n by g i v i n g up her preaching career f o r the joys of domestic l i f e . Her oft-quoted feminist aphorisms are j u s t that—aphorisms which bear no r e l a t i o n to the r e s t of the novel. S i l a s Marner, though a minor masterpiece i n many r e s -pects, does not show any o r i g i n a l i t y i n the treatment of women. I t has exactly the stereotyped attitude to female character present i n Adam Bede. Molly Faren, the f i r s t Mrs. Godfrey Cass, i s the sensuously e v i l (and what i s more, drunken) woman whom Cass has l e t drag him away from the path of goodness and v i r t u e . Only the sweetly pure Miss Nancy Lammetter can save him from the moral corruption that w i l l otherwise be h i s l o t , For four years he had thought of Nancy Lammeter, and wooed her with t a c i t patient worship, as the woman who made him think of the future with joyi she would be h i s wife, and would make home lo v e l y to him, as his father'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 habits that were no 201 pleasures, but only a f e v e r i s h way of annulling 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 hearth had no smiles and where the d a i l y habits were not chastised by the presence of household order: his 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 with the :family courses, but the need of some tender permanent a f f e c t i o n , the longing f o r some influence that would make the good he preferred easy to pursue, caused the neatness, p u r i t y and l i b e r a l orderliness of the Lammeter household, sunned by the smile of Nancy, to seem l i k e those fresh, bright hours of the morning, when tempta-tions go to sleep, and leave the ear open to the voice of the good angel, i n v i t i n g to industry, sobriety, and peace. And yet the hope of t h i s paradise had not been enough to save him from a course which shut him out of i t forever. In-stead of keeping f a s t hold of the strong s i l k e n rope by which Nancy would have drawn him safe to the green banks, where i t was easy to step f i r m l y , he had l e t himself be dragged back i n t o mud and .slime, i n which i t was useless to s t r u g g l e . 0 Romola i s no more than a very ethereal Nancy Lammeter, She was constantly appealing to T i t o , and he was informing her, yet he f e l t himself strangely i n subjection to Romola with that majestic sim-p l i c i t y of hers: 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 of noble womanhood, which i s perhaps something l i k e the worship paid of old to a great nature-godess, who was not a l l -knowing, but whose l i f e and power were something deeper and more primordial than^knowledge.f At the beginning of the novel there 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 p a t r i a r c h a l father. But i t i s quickly resolved. Romola has only an objective i n t e r e s t i n her education i n s o f a r as i t w i l l help her to serve her father more p e r f e c t l y . Her true needs we are t o l d very early are to be found i n the f u l -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 p i t y : 202 At that moment the doubtful attractiveness of Romola's face, i n which pride and passion seemed to be quivering i n the balance with native re-finement and i n t e l l i g e n c e , was transfigured to the most loveable womanliness by mingled p i t y and a f f e c t i o n : i t was evident that the deepest fount of f e e l i n g within her had not yet wrought i t s way to the l e s s changeful features, and only found i t s outlet through her eyes. (Rom, 48) T i t o Melema's treatment of her during t h e i r marriage ( i n his utter amorality he i s much l i k e Henleigh Grandcourt and i f anything makes the novel worth reading i t i s the b r i l -l i a n c e of t h i s characterization) hardly allows her to exer-c i s e these womanly q u a l i t i e s and at l a s t she does leave him; but i t i s hardly with the i n t e n t i o n of discovering an inde-pendent l i f e . Romola's long water journey i s Maggie's t r i p down the flooded Floss taken one step f u r t h e r . Instead of dying, Romola awakes to f i n d heaven on earth even though i t i s i n the form of a plague. We leave her as the perfect goddess-like woman—a Saint Theresa who has found her destiny: Every day the Padre and Jacopo and the small f l o c k of s u r v i v i n g v i l l a g e r s paid t h e i r v i s i t to t h i s cottage to see the blessed Lady, and to bring her of t h e i r best as an offering—honey, f r e s h cakes, eggs, and polenta. I t was a sight they could none of them forget, a sight they a l l t o l d of i n t h e i r old age—how the sweet and sainted lady with her f a i r face her golden hair, and her brown eyes that had a b l e s s i n g i n them, l a y weary with her labours a f t e r she had been sent over the sea to help them i n t h e i r extremity, and how the queer l i t t l e black Benedetto used to crawl about the straw by her side and want everything that 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 loved her they must be good to Benedetto. Many legends were afterwards t o l d i n that v a l l e y about the blessed Lady who came over the sea, but they were legends by which a l l who heard might know that i n times gone by a woman had done beauti-2 0 3 f u l loving deeds there, rescuing those who were ready to perish. (Rom, 544) As well as t h i s kind of suffocating sentimentality, the tediously minute d e t a i l i n g of fifeenth-century Florentine l i f e and the lack of depth or complexity i n most of the characters make Romola a very bad novel. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g , however, that E l i o t h e r s e l f f e l t Romola to be her greatest achievement. To her publisher John Blackwood she wrote that "there i s not a book of mine about which I more tho-roughly f e e l that I could swear by every sentence as having been written with my best blood." Again one i s reminded of The M i l l on the Floss and her t o t a l involvement with the l a s t chapters of the book. In neither novel does she see that the v i s i o n of woman as sa i n t or goddess diminishes the power of her w r i t i n g . In f a c t when Sara Hennell c r i t i c i z e d the novel saying that "Romola i s pure idealism...she must be worshipped as a s a i n t . a n d therefore I f e e l , that i n Q Romola you have painted a goddess, and not a woman"^ E l i o t the more vigorously defended her heroine t You are r i g h t i n saying that Romola i s i d e a l — I f e e l i t acutely i n the reproof my own soul : i s constantly 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 to so much of the i r r i -t a t i o n that one has with E l i o t ' s i d e a l i s t i c conception of woman. I f her 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 reader. I t i s the old p a t r i a r c h a l play upon 204 a woman's g u i l t . Once the idea of woman as sa i n t or angel i s introduced, anything l e s s than perfection i s suspect. I f the image the i n d i v i d u a l woman has to measure h e r s e l f against i s a goddess, she can only f e e l that she has f a i l e d to f u l f i l her true femininity. But more important, once woman i s "divine" one can no longer t a l k about her equality with men, f o r a t r u l y good womanAshould not be concerned about such s e l f i s h and earthly d i f f i c u l t i e s . 2 0 5 NOTES 1 Joan Bennett, George E l i o t t Her Mind and Her Art (Cam-bridge « University Press, 1968), p. 1 5 7 . 2 Barbara Hardy, The Novels of George E l i o t : A Study i n Form (London i The Athlone Press, 1959), p. 63^. 3 George E l i o t , F e l i x Holt the Radical (London: Panther 3ooks, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 3 8 . Subsequent references i n text. 4 Kate M i l l e t t , Sexual P o l i t i c s (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1 9 7 0 ) p. 7 3 . 5 George E l i o t , Adam Bede (New York: International 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 , S i l a s Marner (London: C o l l i n s , 1 9 5 3 ) , pp. 41-42. 7 George E l i o t , Romola (London: Everyman's Library, 1 9 0 7 ) , p. 93• Subsequent references i n text. 8 Gordon Haight, George E l i o t : A Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 3 6 6 . 9 The George E l i o t Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight (New Haven: Yale University Press), IV I O 3 - 4 , n. 8 . [George E l i o t -to Sara Hennell, London, 23 August I 8 6 3 ] 10 Haight, Letters, IV, 1 0 3 - 4 [George E l i o t to Sara Hennell, London, 2 3 August I 8 6 3 ] ) VI Conclusion ( i ) I t seems almost petty to concentrate mainly on the weaknesses of a great w r i t e r l i k e George E l i o t . But i n f a c t I think by looking at these weak points we can perhaps get a new perspective on her strengths. Some.of E l i o t ' s women chareters l i k e Hetty or Dinah, Mirah or Esther Lyon do f a i l completely but more i n t e r e s t i n g are the cases i n which the presentation of a woman character f a i l s only p a r t i a l l y , where the sentiment, the idealism, the rel i a n c e on stereotype comes only a f t e r what hasrseemed to be a whole new appreciation of feminine experience. Benjamin Jowett once described George E l i o t as being "quite c l e a r of materialism, women's r i g h t s , idealism etc."* He was badly mistaken on a l l three counts. I w i l l leave her idealism f o r the moment, but her Feuerbachian materialism coupled with a c l e a r consciousness of the p o s i t i o n of women i n a p a t r i a r c h a l society are the chief concepts, through the use of which one can understand why c e r t a i n of her por-t r a i t s of women are so compelling. George E l i o t may not have been an active feminist but^she knew well that women, l i k e men, longed f o r some means of p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the l i f e of the world? she further knew how nearly impossible 206 20? that achievement was, given t h e i r piecemeal education, economic impotence and the s o c i e t a l pressure on them to conform to the image of the passive, ignorant and helpless coquette. Much of her f i c t i o n a l w r i t i n g expresses that knowledge and the.tension that i s consciously or unconsciously a part of most women's l i v e s . In many cases i t i s esta-b l i s h e d as the key to understanding character. There are few other women i n f i c t i o n as powerful as Maggie T u l l i v e r , Dorothea Brooke, Rosamond Vincy, Mrs. Transome or Gwendolen Harleth. A l l these women, even Rosamond and Gwendolen, are i n almost continual c o n f l i c t with the culture that demands that they must conform to a c e r t a i n i d e a l of femininity. And I would suggest that we are attracted to them, f a s c i -nated by them, not because of 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 force of w i l l that makes them want to be more than V i c -t o r i a n maidens or matrons and which of course also 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 recognizable i n r e a l i t y . I t i s , however, just t h i s energy or force of w i l l which E l i o t cannot r e a l l y handle i n the characters she had created. On the one hand, her own " r e l i g i o n of humanity" demanded f o r i t s success the resignation of any personal desire that might come i n t o c o n f l i c t with the values of the community i n which the i n d i v i d u a l finds h e r s e l f . A l -i though on a p o l i t i c a l l e v e l one might not agree with t h i s 208 as a solut i o n to s o c i a l problems, the theory i s i n i s e l f legitimate, and should not i n t e r f e r e with the a r t of the novel. And i t does not when applied to the male characters, although i t r a r e l y i s with the exception of Lydgate. When applied to female characters, however, simple resignation i s not the only demand. Given the context which has been c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h e d — i . e . , that the women characters are engaged i n some struggle against a repressive p a t r i a r c h a l system—the resignation 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 of values. E l i o t roots the f r u s t r a t i o n s of her women characters i n one set of values but then gives 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 not lost? i t i s simply dropped. However, not only the " r e l i g i o n of humanity" causes E l i o t to turn her back on her women characters. One also has to look to the ambiguity, discussed at length i n the introduction to t h i s thesis, she f e l t about the r o l e of woman. Even with her almost f r i g h t e n i n g l y c l e a r under-standing of woman's p o s i t i o n i n society, E l i o t s t i l l clung to the idea of woman as pr i m a r i l y mother, wife, nurturer and force f o r moral goodness. As a r e s u l t , she must co n t i n u a l l y adjust her women characters to f i t one of those r o l e s . Thus I think one can understand the weakness of many of her novels. She cont i n u a l l y f a i l s to carry through the i n i t i a l understanding she give the reader of her women cha-r a c t e r s . Maggie longs f o r some personal i d e n t i t y other 209 than the s t r i c t l y "feminine" one her brother or mother would ascribe to her. This i s pr i m a r i l y how we are made to under-stand her character and actions. But a f t e r portraying the t r i p down the r i v e r with Stephen, E l i o t abandons t h i s v i s i o n of Maggie. By the time Maggie returns to St. Ogg's, the r e a l woman has become a cardboard saint; an e x c i t i n g novel has f a l l e n to the l e v e l of a Harlequin romance. The promise of the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i s u n f u l f i l l e d . Not that Maggie should have run o f f with Stephen or become an ardent feminist; i t i s f a r more l i k e l y she would simply have to r e a l i z e that her l i f e as a woman would always be f i l l e d with the same kind of tension. We expect that Maggie w i l l come to understand about her s i t u a t i o n what we f e e l the author h e r s e l f already knows. With Dorothea the quest 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 her mar-riage to W i l l , with i t s escape from Middlemarch and over-tones of sexual s a t i s f a c t i o n i s a step forward. There i s none of the hopeless melodrama of The M i l l . But the ques-t i o n that Dorothea asked of he r s e l f and ra i s e s f o r a l l other women, "What can I do?" i s never answered save by vague references to her goddess-like p e r f e c t i o n . I f what Doro-thea i s "to do" i s "to be" the i d e a l woman, then the novel c e r t a i n l y f a l l s short of i t s i n i t i a l promise. Perhaps E l i o t ' s greatest achievement i n dealing with women characters i s that she i s one of the few n o v e l i s t s to 210 attempt to "take the b i t c h s e r i o u s l y . " Although there i s l i t t l e doubt that E l i o t h e r s e l f abhorred women such as Rosamond, Gwendolen and Mrs. Transome, she manages i n her ar t to cont r o l her own fe e l i n g s enough to show that these women are as much victims of a repressive p a t r i a r c h a l so-c i e t y as are the more a t t r a c t i v e characters such as Doro-thea and Maggie. By con t i n u a l l y following her own r u l e , "that there i s no private l i f e which i s not determined by a wider public one," she makes i t i m p l i c i t l y c l e a r that society, not some i n t r i n s i c e v i l i n the feminine character, i s responsible f o r the b i t c h p e r s o n a l i t y . In an age which granted women no r i g h t s , l i t t l e freedom and no p r i v i l e g e s , she shows how a Rosamond or a Gwendolen, anxious to assert her own i n d i v i d u a l i t y , was often forced to corrupt h e r s e l f through the use of the only powers a v a i l a b l e to her—feminine coquetry, personal beauty, the arts of seduction, etc. However, much i n the same way that she could not maintain her revolutionary analysis of a woman's s i t u a t i o n (because i n f a c t i t would demand a revolution) f o r charac-t e r s l i k e Maggie and Dorothea, neither could E l i o t carry through her sympathetic understanding of the b i t c h persona-l i t y . She makes a good beginning with Rosamond, l e t t i n g us see how much of her character and actions have been moulded by an inadequate education, poor parental guidance and the popular images of a t t r a c t i v e femininity. But pre-c i s e l y where she begins to indulge i n romantic idealism 211 about Dorothea, E l i o t turns her back on Rosamond, decl a r i n g her to be the impossible, unregenerate bitch-woman. A l -though the novel i s weakened by t h i s reversion to t r a d i -t i o n a l myths about the feminine character i t of course does not f a i l as d r a s t i c a l l y as The M i l l . There i s , as I have pointed out, some ambiguity about the conclusion of Doro-thea's story and Rosamond i s not treated with such great sympathy that the f i n a l analysis of her character destroys thenovel. The case of Gwendolen Harleth i s rather d i f f e r e n t ? whether intended by the author or not, Gwendolen i s not a secondary character l i k e Rosamond, and the bulk as well as the best parts of Daniel Deronda are given over to esta-b l i s h i n g a sympathetic analysis of t h i s b i t c h character. For many c r i t i c s , E l i o t has maintained t h i s analysis of Gwendolen and she alone of a l l E l i o t ' s women characters has grown to r e a l adulthood rather than been manipulated i n t o some sentimental i d e a l of "true womanhood." However, a close examination of the whole novel reveals that, as with a l l of her other women characters, here too 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 of 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 part of the book that society must take much of the blame f o r creating a woman l i k e Gwendolen, she he r s e l f i s allowed no such i n s i g h t . She learns only that she has been s e l f i s h and e v i l , that the destruction she has pr e c i p i t a t e d i s e n t i r e l y her own f a u l t , and that to be saved 212 she must learn true 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 attitude does not i n i t s e l f weaken the novel (although many of the scenes between Gwendolen and Deronda lack the b r i l l i a n c e of the e a r l i e r parts of the novel) i t i s an obvious r e f l e c t i o n of the undeniable source of weakness. The gross over-sentimentality of the Jewish parts of the novel s p i l l over i n t o the Gwendo-len story and illuminate 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 holds up to Gwendolen as an example. The subsequent examination of the process of Gwendolen's "education" shows E l i o t means Gwendolen to become, l i k e Mirah, a model of 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 of one feminine stereo-t y p e — t h e b i t c h — o n l y to put her in t o another—the good woman. I began t h i s conclusion by quoting Benjamin Jowett's comment that George E l i o t was quite c l e a r of materialism, women's r i g h t s and idealism. What I think one discovers by studying her treatment of women i s that, f a r from being " c l e a r " of these theories, her w r i t i n g i s permeated with the ideas they represent. I f she had been concerned only with the f i r s t two there would perhaps not be the problems with her women characters that there are. But her materialism and her profound (whether conscious or unconscious) under-standing of the po s i t i o n of women everywhere comes i n t o c o n f l i c t with a kind of abstract idealism, to v/hich she 213 c l i n g s . Whether her p a r t i c u l a r idealism about women i s a subconscious g u i l t reaction to her ov/n i r r e g u l a r marriage, whether i t i s a f i r m l y worked out philosophical p o s i t i o n , or whether i t i s simply the woman-worship common to many V i c t o r i a n i n t e l l e c t u a l s does not matter. I t i s there and 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 aesthetic value of much of her work. ( i i ) Although t h i s thesis deals with the way c e r t a i n femi-n i s t ideas are handled i n the novels of George E l i o t I do not regard i t as a piece of "feminist c r i t i c i s m . " There has been much t a l k recently of a feminist approach to l i t e r a -ture but what that could or should be I have not yet d i s -covered. For instance, Kate M i l l e t t ' s Sexual P o l i t i c s while highly entertaining and often informative, o f f e r s only a sophisticated method of slander, not judgement. The com-ment one s t i l l most often hears from a feminist confronted with a s e x i s t book i s : " I t i s well-written, but I s t i l l don't l i k e what i t says*" My approach to George E l i o t was part of a personal c u r i o u s i t y to f i n d out i f there:were any women characters i n l i t e r a t u r e whose "quest" or " c o n f l i c t " was involved with anything besides a search f o r "the r i g h t man." Are there any female Stephen Dedalus's or A l f r e d Prufrocks or King Lears? When I f i r s t read George E l i o t I thought I had found something very near to that i n her female characters. My 214 enthusiasm was u n q u a l i f i e d . Yet when forced to read the novels c l o s e l y I came across questions which I could not ignore. What has happened to Dorothea's quest f o r work? How can Maggie's reunion with Tom be j u s t i f i e d ? What i s Gwendolen going to do now? Reading George E l i o t ' s l e t t e r s , her biography, and her essays only confirmed these contra-d i c t i o n s . I was confronted with the problem I mentioned above. Are these merely parts of the novels 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 weak or second-rate pieces of writing? The answer i s two-fold. F i r s t , i n themselves the scenes of Maggie's return to St. Ogg's, Dorothea's romance with Ladislaw, and Gwendolen's dependence on Deronda do not have the mark of a great a r -t i s t . They are over-written, f i l l e d with indulgent s e n t i -mentality or self-righteous moralizing. 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 c o n f l i c t the character-may be faced with i s too abstruse to be meaning-f u l . But more than t h i s , these are scenes of very stereo-typed female behaviour. The recognition of female stereo-types as stereotypes, i t seems to me, i s r e l a t i v e l y recent t u n t i l the 20th century i t was simply accepted that women v/ere e i t h e r very bad or very good. And i f t h i s was the only v i -sion of female character that E l i o t had presented, i f i t was a problem at a l l , i t would probably be only of passing i n -t e r e s t . But what makes stereotyping a very serious f a u l t 2 1 5 i n these cases i s that such images are i n t o t a l opposition to the e a r l i e r presentation of the same women characters. The scenes are f a u l t y i n themselves but worse s t i l l , t h e i r presence i n otherwise b r i l l i a n t novels reduces complexity to a r t i f i c e , realism to idealism and hard-edged irony to f a c i l e sentiment. Thus I have concentrated on the weak parts of the novel not out of some personal indignation but because to avoid them, as most c r i t i c s have, i n h i b i t s a thorough under-standing of the b r i l l i a n c e of what has gone before. To i n -vestigate the spots where each novel breaks down i s also to point up where i t r e a l l y works. And among the great achieve-ments of George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n i s the creation of women who behave i n other than stereotyped female patterns we have come to expect. That she cannot carry through t h i s approach i s regrettable but i t c e r t a i n l y does not mean that one there-fore discards the. novels. The pictures of Maggie drowning, Dorothea marrying and Gwendolen preparing to marry may not ever o f f e r much to the understanding, but what precedes each of these " r e s i g n a t i o n s " — t h e struggles against or entrapments i n the system of p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s — w i l l stand f o r a long time as examples of great and important f i c t i o n . 216 NOTES Gordon Haight, George E l i o t : A Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), p. 465. 2 1 7 BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources E l i o t , George. Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e . Chicago: M.A. Donahue, n.d. E l i o t , George, Adam Bede. New York: International C o l l e c t o r s Library, n.d. E l i o t , George, The M i l l on the Floss. New York: C o l l i e r Books, 1 9 6 2 . E l i o t , George. S i l a s Marner: The L i f t e d V e i l : Brother  Jacob: Poems. London: C o l l i n s C l a s s i c s , 1953* E l i o t , George. Romola. London: Everyman, 1 9 6 8 . E l i o t , George. F e l i x Holt The Radical. London: Panther, 1 9 6 5 . E l i o t , George. Middlemarch. ed. Gordon S. Haight. Boston: Riverside Press, 1968. E l i o t , George. Daniel Deronda. ed. Barbara Hardy. London, Penguin, 196*7"; E l i o t , George. Essays of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1 9 6 3 . The George E l i o t L e t t e r s , ed. Gordon S. Haight. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1 9 6 8 . Vol I - VII Secondary Sources Bennett, Joan. George E l i o t : Her Mind and Her A r t . Cambridge: University 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 Heritage. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1 9 7 1 . C i r i l l o , A l bert T. "Salvation i n Daniel Deronda." L i t e r a r y  Monographs, ed. E. Rothstein & T. Dunseath. Madison: University of 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 Essays. New Jersey: Prentice H a l l , 1 9 7 0 . 218 Cross, J.W. George E l i o t ' s L i f e . Londont W i l l i a m Blackwood and Sons, 1885. V o l I - I I I . Daiches, D a v i d . George E l i o t t Middlemarch. London: Edward A r n o l d , 1963. Ellmann, Mary. T h i n k i n g About Women. New York: H a r c o u r t Brace Jovanovich, 1968. Eng l e s , F r e d e r i c k . The O r i g i n o f the Family, P r i v a t e P r o p e r t y and the S t a t e . New York: I n t e r n a t i o n a l P u b l i -s h e r s , 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 the Sexes." The Modern Languages  Review, LXVII ( 1 9 7 2 ) , pp. 44-4-9. Feuerbach, Ludwig. The Essence o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1957. F u l l e r , Margaret. Woman i n the Ni n e t e e n t h Century. New York: W.W. Norton, 1971. Haight, Gordon S. George E l i o t : A Biography. Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1968. Hardy, Barbara, ed. C r i t i c a l Essays on George E l i o t . New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970. Hardy, Barbara. The Novels of George E l i o t : A Study i n Form. London: Athlone P r e s s , 1959. Harvey, W.J. "George E l i o t , " V i c t o r i a n F i c t i o n : S t u d i e s i n B i b l i o g r a p h y , ed. L i o n e l Stevenson, Cambridge: Harvard U n i v e r s i t y , 1964. James, Henry. P o r t r a i t o f a Lady. New York: Washington Square P r e s s , 1966. Houghton, Walter E. The V i c t o r i a n Frame of Mind 1830-1870. New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y , 1957. Jones, R.T. George E l i o t . Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1970. Kearney, John P. "Time and Beauty i n D a n i e l Deronda: Was She B e a u t i f u l or not B e a u t i f u l ? " N i n e t e e n t h Century  F i c t i o n . V o l XXIII (1971). PP. 286^3&6" K e t t l e , A r n o l d . An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o the E n g l i s h Novel: Volume  I Defoe to George E l i o t . New York; Harper Torchbooks, I960. 219 Leavis, 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 . Lerner, Laurence, "The Education of Gwendolen Harleth." C r i t i c a l Quarterly, VII ( 1 9 6 7 ) , pp. 3 5 5 - 6 4 . Lownes, Mrs. Bel l o c . 'I, Too, Have Lived i n Arcadia: A  Record of Love and of Childhood. London: Macmillan, 1 9 4 1 . Lukacs, Georg. Realism i n Our Time: L i t e r a t u r e and the  Class Struggle. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1 9 7 1 . Mackenzie, K.A. E i t h Simcox and George E l i o t . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1 9 6 1 . Marcus, Stephen. The Other V i c t o r i a n s : A Study of Sexuality  and Pornography i n Mid-Nineteenth Century England.. New York: Basic Books, 1 9 6 4 . Marx, Karl & Engels, Frederick. Selected Works i n Two Volumes. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1 9 6 2 . M i l l e t t , Kate. Sexual P o l i t i c s . New York: Doubleday, 1 9 7 0 . Myers, William. "George E l i o t : P o l i t i c s and Personality." L i t e r a t u r e and P o l i t i c s i n the Nineteenth Century, pp. 1 0 5 - 1 2 9 . Paris, Bernard J . "The Inner C o n f l i c t s of Maggie T u l l i v e r : A Horneyan Analysis." Centennial Review, XIII ( I 9 6 9 ) , pp. 1 6 6 - 9 9 * Parker, M.S. The Role of the Comic Heroine: A Study of the  Relationship between Subject Matter and the Comic Form  i n the Novels of Jane Austen, unpublished M.A. thesis, Department of English, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1 9 6 7 . P e a r s a l l , Ronald. The Worm i n the Bud: The World of V i c t o r i a n  Sexuality. London: Macmillan, 1 9 6 9 • Ruskin, John. Sesame and L i l i e s . London: George A l l e n , 1 9 0 4 . Showalter, Elaine, ed. Women's Liberati o n and L i t e r a t u r e . New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1 9 7 1 . Slomen, Judith. "The Female Quixote as an Eighteenth Century Character Type." Transactions of the Samuel Johnson  Society of the Northwest, IV ( 1 9 7 2 ) , pp. 8 6 - 1 0 1 . 220 Stang, Richard, ed. Discussions of George E l i o t . Boston: D.C. Heath & Co., I960. Stuart, Roland, ed. Letters from George E l i o t to Elma Stuart, 1872 - 1880. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamil-ton, Kent & Co., 1901. Thale, Jerome. The Novels of George E l i o t . New York: Columbia University Press, 1 9 5 9 . Wellington, Amy. Women Have Told, Studies i n the Feminist  T r a d i t i o n . Boston: L i t t l e , Brown and Company, 1 9 3 0 . 

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