Want to read with me? Follow this link to view the list and pick a book (or a few!) to read along with me. I'd love for this project to be collaborative, and will post anyone's thoughts beside my own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

Middlemarch, Book VIII - Sunset and Sunrise by George Eliot (Marian Evans)

Spoiler Alert: Plot Summary
- Dodo wants to help Lydgate clear his name of Bulstrode's business; Chettam and Mr. Farebrother urge caution.
- Town gossips; Mrs. Bulstrode finally finds out; stands by her man.
- Rosy and Lydgate Not Happy; Rosy misses Will; tries to throw a dinner party; when no one will come she finds out L's reputation has been sullied; tells L to quit Middlemarch; he disagrees.
- L spills all to Dodo; she's very encouraging and wants to help him move forward.
- Dodo goes to visit Rosy only to stumble upon her and Will in a compromising position! (full. disclosure. they're holding hands. GASP!)
- Will. is. horrified. Rosy's world is shaken when she finds out she is not "the only girl in the world" (à la Rihanna); Dodo loses her cool thinking that Will does Not in fact Love Her Best.
- Dodo goes back to call on Rosy because she is a rock star, helps Rosy to move past her indiscretion; Rosy clears Wills name and assures Dodo that Will does in fact Love Dodo Best.
- Will sets up a meeting with Dodo to further clear his name and reassure Dodo; lightning storm; a Kiss!
- Will and Dodo to marry, against all odds (and the Iron Will of Middlemarch, Casaubon waggling a finger from his tomb); I am OverJoyed! No one shares my happiness.
- Mrs. Bulstrode gives her land to the Garths after all and Fred is given the farm to tend so he can marry Mary.
- Nice little finale tells us that Mary and Fred are solid with three cute little boys, Lydgate and Rosy sort of smooth things over, then she marries again after he dies in his fifties, Dodo and Will have a lovely life in London, where at first they're ostracized from family and friends, but Celia badgers Sir James and then she and Dodo are happily reunited and can tend to their respective young little sons together. Hooray! the end.
Spoiler Over: Continue Here

Dorothea: "I believe that people are almost always better than their neighbors think they are.

I must say I simply loved this book. It may have seemed a bit of a long journey with me, but it was honestly a masterpiece of "realist fiction", as the book jacket proclaims. Every bit of the drama rang so true and relevant to daily life in the present, which is a testament to Marian Evans' skill. If you haven't picked this one up, go out, grab it, and dive in.

Sections I liked quite a bit...

On Middlemarch women letting a woman know how they really feel:
"To be candid, in Middlemarch phraseology, meant to use an early opportunity of letting your friends know that you did not take a cheerful view of their capacity, their conduct, or their position; and a robust candour never waited to be asked for its opinion."

Study in contrasts between Mrs. B finding out about her husband and taking a breath before loyally standing by him and Rosy, who even when others stood up for Lydgate, felt less than thrilled post-scandal:
Mrs. Bulstrode: "She needed time to get used to her maimed consciousness, her poor lopped life, before she could walk steadily to the place allotted her."
Rosy: "But she was not joyous; her married life had fulfilled none of her hopes and had been quite spoiled for her imagination.

Rosy, on the disappointment of realizing she was not really in love with Will Ladislaw:
"Men and women make sad mistakes about their own symptoms, taking their vague, uneasy longings sometimes for genius, sometimes for religion, and oftener still for a mighty love."

Dorothea reaching out to Lydgate: 
Lydgate: I cannot conscientiously advise you to do it in dependence on any activity of mine. I may be obliged to leave the town."
Dorothea: Not because there is no one to believe in you? I know the unhappy mistakes about you. I knew them from the first moment to be mistakes." and later, "I would take any pains to clear you. I have very little to do." so adorable. I loved Dodo so much in this moment!

Lydgate, on seeing himself in a new light once Dodo stands up for him:
"The presence of a noble nature, generous in its wishes, ardent in its charity, changes the lights for us: we begin to see things again in their larger, quieter masses and to believe that we too can be seen and judged in the wholeness of our character."

Will, to Rosy, in a moment of rage after Dodo sees them together:
"I had no hope before - not much - of anything better to come. But I had one certainty - that she believed in me. Whatever people had said or done about me, she believed in me. That's gone!"

and later in the argument, when Rosy tells Will sarcastically he can run after Dodo to share his true preference for her: "Explain my preference! I never had a preference for her, any more than I have a preference for breathing. No other woman exists by the side of her." adorable Will. so steadfast. :)

Rosy's sad outlook and inability to look out for and care about Future Rosy's Problems:
"We are on a perilous margin when we begin to look passively at our future selves and see our own figures led with dull consent into insipid misdoing and shabby achievement."

This moment was so adorable. Miss Nobel is Mr. Farebrother's elderly aunt:
 "'I have lost my tortoise-shell lozenge box. I fear the kitten has rolled it away,' said the tiny old lady.
  'Is it a great treasure, Aunt?' said Mr. Farebrother, putting up his glasses and looking at the carpet.
 'Mr. Ladislaw gave it me,' said Miss Noble. 'A German box - very pretty; but if it falls it always spins away as far as it can.'
  'Oh, if it is Ladislaw's present,' said Mr. Farebrother in a deep tone of comprehension, getting up and hunting. The box was found at last under a chiffonier, and Miss Noble grasped it with delight, saying, "It was under a fender the last time." so cute!

Dodo, when she thinks she has lost Will forever:
"In that hour she repeated what the merciful eyes of solitude have looked on for ages in the spiritual struggles of man; she besought hardness and coldness and aching weariness to bring her relief from the mysterious incorporeal might of her anguish; she lay on the bare floor and let the night grow cold around her, while her grand woman's frame was shaken by sobs as if she had been a despairing child." poor Dodo! I wanted to give her a big hug!

Will, wondering whether he and Dodo will reunite:
"Until that wretched yesterday, except the moment of vexation long ago in the very same room and in the very same presence, all their vision, all their thought of each other, had been as in a world apart, where the sunshine fell on tall white lilies, where no evil lurked, and no other soul entered. But now - would Dorothea meet him in that world again?"

Hagh. When Dodo realizes Will Does love her and is trying to occupy herself, she can't think of any errands, so she settles on brushing up on Asian geography:
"Today was to be spent quite differently. What was there to be done in the village? O dear! Nothing. Everybody was well and had flannel; nobody's pig had died."
 "Was there not the geography of Asia Minor, in which her slackness had often been rebuked by Mr. Casaubon?" Ahagh. everyone has flannel - check. pigs alive? - check. geography? Get to Studying, girl!

Miss Noble interrupts Dodo's geography lesson with a message from Will:
 The little old lady, whose bonnet hardly reached Dorothea's shoulder, was warmly welcomed, but while her hand was being pressed she made many of her beaver-like noises, as if she had something difficult to say.
  'Do sit down,' said Dorothea, rolling a chair forward. 'Am I wanted for anything? I shall be so glad if I can do anything.'
  'I will not stay, said Miss Noble, putting her hand into her small basket and holding some article inside it nervously; 'I have left a friend in the churchyard.'  She lapsed into her inarticulate sounds and unconsciously drew forth the article which she was fingering. It was the tortoise-shell lozenge-box, and Dorothea felt the colour mounting to her cheeks. heheheheheehheeh. 

Will and Dodo:
"They stood silent, not looking at each other, but looking at the evergreens which were being tossed and were showing the pale underside of their leaves against the blackening sky. Will never enjoyed hte prospect of a storm so much; it delivered him from the necessity of going away...While he was speaking there came a vivid flash of lightning which lit each of them up for the other, and the light seemed to be the terror of a hopeless love.

Celia, to Dodo, on marrying Will and moving to London: 
"How can you always live in a street? And you would not do what nobody thought you could do. James always said you ought to be a queen; but this is not at all being like a queen. And you said you would never be married again."  haghaghahgahg. this is not at ALL being like a queen. ya hear?

Celia tells it like it is to James so that she can start hanging with Dodo again:
"Dorothea has a little boy. And you will not let me go and see her. And I am sure she wants to see me. And she will not know what to do with the baby - she will do wrong things with it. And they thought she would die. It is very dreadful! Suppose it had been me and little Arthur, and Dodo had been hindered from coming to see me! I wish you would be less unkind, James!
  'Good heavens, Celia! What do you wish? I will do anything you like. I will take you to town tomorrow if you wish it.' And Celia did wish it."

On the Dorotheas of this world and their unsung acts of aid:
The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive, for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on un-historic acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.

Aand, my favorite line:
Celia: "And of course men know best about everything, except what women know better."

It seems fitting to end Middlemarch in EndApril. So there! Onwards to A Union of Jesters with Diana!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our deeds still travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are.

Middlemarch, Book VII - Two Temptations by George Eliot (Marian Evans)

Spoiler Alert: Plot Summary
- Farebrother thanks Lydgate for his help in securing the living. Brutally rebuffed. Trouble continues between Lydgate and Rosamond over their lack of funds; he wants to sell the house, Rosamond intervenes.
- Rosamond writes to Godwin Lydgate, L's uncle, behind L's back; Godwin refuses to help; L furious with R.
- Fred catches L at Green Dragon betting; reins himself in; pulls out L. Farebrother pulls Fred aside and tells him to try to deserve Mary's affections.
- Bulstrode pulls his money, influence out of the hospital project; Dorothea may step in; she's in Yorkshire; L asks Bulstrode for the money, Bulstrode tells him to go bankrupt. (BURN!)
- Raffles is kicked out by B; B makes plans to get the hell outta dodge; Fred/Mary might benefit if B leaves his property.
- Raffles confesses Bulstrode's secret to Garth; Garth quit's Bulstrode's employ; Raffles falls ill; Bulstrode takes him in.
- Lydgate and Rosy are miserable; she plans to go stay with her parents.
- Bulstrode may or may not have caused Raffles' death; unexpectedly changes his mind and gives L the thousand pounds he needs to pay off his debt; L becomes uneasy about the strange turnaround in Raffles' health and his recent death.
- Bulstrode's secret gets out; town suspects the loan to Lydgate was a bribe; public asks Bulstrode to resign.
- Lydgate's reputation is sullied by association; Dorothea finds out and plans to defend him.
Spoiler Over: Continue Here

Ta dah! I'm sure you're not following all these twists and turns too well, but never fear! It's almost done! Just one (pht!) book left. Can't come all the way to Russia, not play Russian roulette!

Here are some bits I enjoyed:

Smattering of the lovely conversation between R and L re:their debts:
Lydgate: "Is it possible to make you understand what the consequences will be? Is it of any use for me to tell you again why we must try to part with the house?"
  'It is not necessary for you to tell me again,' said Rosamond, in a voice that fell and trickled like cold water-drops. 'I remembered what you said.'

Fred, on finding himself back at the gambling establishment, The Green Dragon:
"Fred had been rewarding resolution by a little laxity of late...And now, Mary being out of the way for a little while, Fred, like any other strong dog who cannot slip his collar, had pulled up the staple of his chain and made a small escape, not of course meaning to go fast or far." hehee, aww, Fred!

Reference to the Hulks
-When the public finds out about Bulstrode, they say they'd sooner associate with a man from the Hulks than with Bulstrode, which reminds me of good ole' Abel Magwitch, who you may recall was indeed a man from the Hulks!

Passages I particularly liked:
- Lydgate, on the precarious state of his marriage:"It was as if a fracture in a delicate crystal had begun, and he was afraid of any movement that might make it fatal."

- "Poor Rosamond for months had begun to associate her husband with feelings of disappointment, and the terribly inflexible relation of marriage had lost its charm of encouraging delightful dreams."

- Bulstrode, on his fear of being found out: "It was as if he had had a loathsome dream and could not shake off its images with their hateful kindred of sensations - as if on all the pleasant surroundings of his life a dangerous reptile had left his slimy traces."

So close now! 12 stitches in! Onwards to the close!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The world, it seemed, was turning ugly and hateful, and there was no place for her trustfulness.

Middlemarch, Book VI - The Widow and the Wife by George Eliot (Marian Evans)

Spoiler Alert: Plot Summary
- Dorothea returns home to Lowick after Mr. C's death; decides not to devote her life to finishing his scholarly work. (Amen!)

- Dorothea and Will see each other; mixed messages abound (really tangled web. like, really really tangled). Only she knows of the codicil that says they can't marry. 

- Dorothea to Celia: "I will never marry again!" (harumph. Okay, Dorothea. we'll see.)

- Railroad construction begins - discontent arises and a scuffle ensues - Fred saves the day and protects 
Mr. Garth; Mr. Garth offers Fred the opportunity to work for him; Mrs. Garth and Fred's parents are all displeased.

- Mrs. Garth tells Fred that Mr. Farebrother also likes Mary (and, ahem, might be a better match for her); Mary reassures Fred she likes him best after Fred has a hissyfit.

- Rosamond's baby is born prematurely and dies; Rosamond and Lydgate realize they're living beyond their means; she asks her father for help (behind L's back) but Lydgate plans to take a household inventory and sell unnecessary items.

- Rosamond tells Will (FINALLY) about the codicil. Will talks to Dorothea, but (Again) mixed messages abound.

- Mr. Larcher has a large auction of personal items; John Raffles reappears and meets Will; insinuates he knows dirty secrets about Will's mother's past. (dun Dun DUN!)

- Bulstrode comes clean to Will and reveals he kept an inheritance from Will's mother and made them destitute. Offers Will money now; Will proudly refuses.

- Will goes to see Dorothea one last (seriously, folks, this is the Real last) time; More mixed messages abound; Dodo (the Dodo) finally realizes Will loves her, but he leaves unsure whether She loves Him! (le SIGH).
Spoiler Over: Continue Here

- Celia, in response to Dorothea saying she wants to leave and return to Lowick
"But you will never see baby washed! And that is quite the best part of the day." hehehehhe. baby washing Is fun, but seriously, Celia? Maybe you need a more active social life.

- Mrs. Cadwallader, to Dorothea, on how D will go insane if she returns to her home alone
"You will see visions. We have all got to exert ourselves a little to keep sane. Think what a bore you might become yourself to your fellow-creatures if you were always playing tragedy queen and taking things sublimely." haghahghag. I want to play tragedy queen and "take things sublimely", Miss Havisham style ;)

- Dorothea, to Will, on remembering him after he leaves
"No. I shall never forget you. I have never forgotten anyone whom I once knew. My life has never been crowded, and seems not likely to be so." so tender!

- Sage remark about young people
"If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new." This reminds me that I used to say working with middle school students is like working with children who are all starring in a play about themselves that starts fresh every day. ;)

- Mr. Garth's consternation at Fred's miserable handwriting
"As Mr. Garth looked on his visage showed a growing depression, but when Fred handed him the paper he gave something like a snarl and rapped the paper passionately with the back of his hand.  Bad work like this dispelled all Caleb's mildness.
  'The deuce!' he exclaimed snarlingly.  'To think that this is a country where a man's education may cost hundreds and hundreds, and it turns you out this!' Then in a more pathetic tone, pushing up his spectacles and looking at the unfortunate scribe, 'The Lord have mercy on us, Fred; I can't put up with this!'" hehehe. apparently handwriting was actually professionally important at this time because Mr. Garth wants Fred to keep the accounting books, but it still seemed like a funny response.

- Will and Dorothea's tender parting
"'I have never done you injustice. Please remember me,' said Dorothea, repressing a rising sob.
   'Why should you say that?' said Will with irritation.  'As if I were not in danger of forgetting everything else.'"

Splendiferous sentences:
- "Life would be no better than candlelight tinsel and daylight rubbish if our spirits were not touched by what has been, to issues of longing and constancy."

-"It had seemed to him as if they were like two creatures slowly turning to marble in each other's presence, while their hearts were conscious and their eyes were yearning."

-"It was one of those grey mornings after light rains which become delicious about twelve o'clock, when the clouds part a little and the scent of the earth is sweet along the lanes and by the hedgerows."

I'm off on this grey morning to do some more schoolwork and read some more of this lovely Endslog! But no more thesis-ing for me - that's past Meredith's problem!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Her world was in a state of convulsive change; the only thing she could say distinctly to herself was that she must wait and think anew.

Middlemarch, Book V - The Dead Hand by George Eliot (Marian Evans)

Spoiler Alert: Plot Summary
-Dorothea sees Will @ the Lydgates; wants to donate money to the hospital.
-Will and Dorothea both upset by seeing each other in other spheres than their usual one-on-one. (Shocker! The world exists outside of them!)
-Lydgate wishes he could chop up bodies (to study their anatomy, OBVIously.)
-Will likes children; friendly, but a bit of a rabblerouser in Middlemarch.
-Rosamond and Lydgate are expecting.
-Will decides to go to church to see Dorothea - it Doesn't. Go. Well.
-Celia and Chettam have a Baby!
-Mr. Casaubon dies - HOORAY!
-Casaubon made a codicil in the will that Dodo can't marry Will - LAME!
-Celia tells Dodo about the codicil; Lydgate proposes Farebrother for the living attached to Casaubon's property.
-Mr. Brooke makes his political speech; effigy; eggs.
-Mr. Farebrother pleads Fred's case to Mary; she says no to the church (as a profession for Fred) but maybe to Fred.
-John Raffles reappears and blackmails Bulstrode with some sort of information about Will Ladislaw's past.
Spoiler Over: Continue Here

-On Lydgate's inability to fully appreciate Rosamond's piano-playing: "At home, he had his long legs stretched on the sofa, his head thrown back, and his hands clasped behind it according to his favourite ruminating attitude, while Rosamond sat at the piano and played one tune after another, of which her husband only knew (like the emotional elephant he was!) that they fell in with his mood as if they had been melodious sea-breezes." heheheh. I'm going to start calling people emotional elephants. 

"As Lydgate had said of him, he was a sort of gypsy, rather enjoying the sense of belonging to no class; he had a feeling of romance in his position and a pleasant consciousness of creating a little surprise wherever he went."

-On Will's love of children:
"He had a fondness, half artistic, half affectionate, for little children - the smaller they were on tolerably active legs, and the funnier their clothing, the better Will liked to surprise and please them.  He had somehow picked up a troop of droll children, little hatless boys with their galligaskins much worn and scant shirting to hang out, little girls who tossed their hair out of their eyes to look at him, and guardian brothers at the mature age of seven.  This troop he had led out on gypsy excursions to Halsell Wood at nutting-time, and since hte cold weather had set in he had taken them on a clear day to gather sticks for a bonfire in the hollow of a hillside, where he drew out a small feast of gingerbread for them and improvised a Punch-and-Judy drama with some private home-made puppets." I want to see the Punch and Judy shows in the woods and eat gingerbread! I'll come, too!

-On Will's affinity for sprawling on the Lydgates' living room rug:
"Will Ladislaw was stretched on the rug contemplating the curtain-pole abstractedly and humming very low the notes of "When First I Saw Thy Face," while the house spaniel, also stretched out with small choice of room, looked from between his paws at the usurper of the rug with silent but strong objection."

-Will's internal monologue on whether or not to go to church to see Dorothea:
"He slept upon that idea, but when he was dressing in the rational morning light, Objection said, 'That will be a virtual defiance of Mr. Casaubon's prohibition to visit Lowick, and Dorothea will be displeased.'
   'Nonsense!' argued Inclination.  'It would be too monstrous for him to hinder me from going out to a pretty country church on a spring morning. And Dorothea will be glad.'
   'It will be clear to Mr. Casaubon that you have come either to annoy him or to see Dorothea.'
   'It is not true that I go to annoy him, and why should I not go to see Doroteha? Is he to have everything to himself and be always comfortable? Let him smart a little, as other people are obliged to do. I have always liked the quaintness of the church and congregation; besides, I know the Tuckers: I shall go into their pew."

-Fred, to Farebrother, on the uselessness of life without Mary:
"If Mary said she would never have me I might as well go wrong in one way as another.'
   'That is nonsense, Fred. Men outlive their love, but they don't outlive the consequences of their recklessness.'
  'Not my sort of love; I have never been without loving Mary. If I had to give her up, it would be like beginning to live on wooden legs."

-Farebrother approaching Mary as she scolds a terrier:
"He found Mary in the garden gathering roses and sprinkling the petals on a sheet. The sun was low, and tall trees sent their shadows across the grassy walks where Mary was moving without bonnet or parasol.  She did not observe Mr. Farebrother's approach along the grass and had just stooped down to lecture a small black-and-tan terrier which would persist in walking on the sheet and smelling at the rose-leaves as Mary sprinkled them.  She took his forepaws in one hand and lifted up the forefinger of the other, while the dog wrinkled his brows and looked embarrassed. 'Fly, Fly, I am ashamed of you,' Mary was saying in a grave contralto. 'This is not becoming in a sensible dog; anybody would think you were a silly young gentleman.'"

-Mary's (Typically) cryptic answer to Farebrother about Fred "I cannot possibly say that I will ever be his wife, Mr. Farebrother, but I certainly never will be his wife if he becomes a clergyman. I could not love a man who is ridiculous." NB: Mary doesn't think clergymen are ridiculous, only that Fred would make a ridiculous clergyman because his heart isn't in it.

Passages that piqued my interest:
- Casaubon, re:Dorothea - "He distrusted her affection, and what loneliness is more lonely than distrust?"

- "Many thoughts cheered him at that time - and justly. A man conscious of enthusiasm for worthy aims is sustained under petty hostilities by the memory of great workers who had to fight their way, not without wounds, and who hover in his mind as patron saints, invisibly helping."

- re: Will - "It is one thing to like defiance, and another thing to like its consequences."

- description of Will Ladislaw -  "Sometimes, when he took off his hat, shaking his head backward and showing his delicate throat as he sang, he looked like an incarnation of the spring who spirit filled the air - a bright creature, abundant in uncertain promises."

- "Even the spring flowers and the grass had a dull shiver in them under the afternoon clouds that hid the sun fitfully; even the sustaining thoughts which had become habits seemed to have in them the weariness of long future days in which she would still live with them for her sole companions."

Onwards to final thesis drafts and Book VI!

Monday, April 1, 2013

I am indebted to the rain.

Middlemarch, Book IV - Three Love Problems by George Eliot (Marian Evans)

Spoiler Alert: Plot Summary
-Will Ladislaw comes to visit - Mr. C is Not Pleased.
-Featherstone's will is read: new illegitimate son Joshua Rigg benefits; Fred left with nothing. :(
-Rosamond and Lydgate want to marry; parents not on board.
-Will visits Dodo; wants to stay in Middlemarch and run newspaper for her uncle Mr. Brooke; Dodo approves; Mr. C does not; Mr. C tells Will not to take the job AND by Golly not to visit the house anymore.
-Will takes the job anyway, much to Casaubon's displeasure. (suck it, Mr. C!)
-Will tells Dodo about Casaubon's ban. They're sad they won't get to see each other much now.
-Mr. Brooke has a comical disagreement with a drunk tenant over a poached rabbit. (poach as in illegal hunting, not cooking style)
-Garths get money when Caleb (Mr. Garth) is asked to be agent of local properties for Mr. Brooke (as above, Mr. Brooke not great at managing his tenants); Mary doesn't have to leave to teach in order to support the family(hooray!); Caleb considers asking Fred to help him manage the properties.
-John Raffles is introduced, nasty father-in-law of Joshua Rigg (Featherstone) and Joshua sends him packing when Raffles demands a small cut of Rigg's new fortune.
-Casaubon finds out from Lydgate that he has a weak heart; Casaubon's a jerk about it; Dodo is nice anyway, but starts to hate him.
Spoiler Over: Continue Here

I'll tell you the bits I liked, and Marian Evans can tell me if she liked making those bits... (yes, of course she's dead, but maybe I'm psychic, who knows! ;)

Will, on Mr. C's unpleasant decision to take a wife so much younger than he:
"And Casaubon had done a wrong to Dorothea in marrying her. A man was bound to know himself better than that and if he chose to grow grey, crunching bones in a cavern, he had no business to be luring a girl into his companionship." I love the image of wrinkly Casaubon lurking in a cavern beckoning a finger to Dorothea.

Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Some of the exchanges between Dodo and Mr. C on Will and whether he should stay/whether they should support him at all financially:
- When Dodo asks if she can't give some of her money to Will: "Dorothea, my love, this is not the first occasion, but it were well that it should be the last, on which you have assumed a judgment on subjects beyond your scope...What I now wish you to understand is that I accept no revision, still less dictation, within that range of affairs which I have deliberated upon as distinctly and properly mine." ICK. Gender norms and suppression of women and their opinions. ICK.

- When Dodo tries to go comfort Mr. C after he finds out he might kick it soon:"But she hesitated, fearing to offend him by obtruding herself, for her ardour, continually repulsed, served with her intense memory to heighten her dread, as thwarted energy subsides into a shudder; and she wandered slowly round the nearer clumps of trees until she saw him advancing."

Dorothea, to Will:
"I think we have no right to come forward and urge wider changes for good until we have tried to alter the evils which lie under our own hands." Yes. Well put, Dodo!

Dorothea to Will, on what she considers her religion, and how even though she may not be able to do the work she wants to, just by wanting to and hoping for it, she's helping a little:
"That by desiring what is perfectly good, even when we don't quite know what it is and cannot do what we would, we are part of the Divine power against evil - widening the skirts of light and making the struggle with darkness narrower."

A lovely scene when the vicar visits the happy Garths:
"Mr. Farebrother left the house soon after, and seeing Mary in the orchard with Letty, went to say good-bye to her.  They made a pretty picture in the western light, which brought out the brightness of the apples on the old scant-leaved boughs - Mary in her lavender gingham and black ribbons holding a basket, while Letty in her well-worn nankin picked up the fallen apples."

Passages I greatly enjoyed:
-"The dreamlike association of something alien and ill-understood with the deepest secrets of her experience seemed to mirror that sense of loneliness which was due to the very ardour of Dorothea's nature." poor Dodo! I hope things look up for her soon!

-"Poor Mrs. Cranch was bulky, and breathing asthmatically, had the additional motive for making her remarks unexceptionable and giving them a general bearing, that even her whispers were loud and liable to sudden bursts like those of a deranged barrel-organ." Hagh.

-Lydgate and Rosamond, on soon being married: "Ideal happiness (of the kind known in the Arabian Nights, in which you are invited to step from the labour and discord of the street into a paradise where everything is given to you and nothing claimed) seemed to be an affair of a few weeks' waiting, more or less."

-"Any private hours in her day were usually spent in her blue-green boudoir, and she had come to be very fond of its pallid quaintness.  Nothing had been outwardly altered there, but while the summer had gradually advanced over the western fields beyond the avenue of elms, the bare room had gathered within it those memories of an inward life which fill the air as with a cloud of good or bad angles, the invisible yet active forms of our spiritual triumphs or our spiritual falls."

-Smitten Will, on Dodo appearing unexpectedly: "Dorothea's entrance was the freshness of morning."I should like to think that for someone my entrance will be 'the freshness of morning'. How lovely!

-"The open bow-window let in the serene glory of the afternoon lying in the avenue, where the lime-trees cast long shadows." I love imagining these lime trees. I want to stroll along with Dodo and pick some off the branches.

-"Was it her fault that she had believed in him - had believed in her worthiness? And what, exactly, was he? She was able enough to estimate him - she who waited on his glances with trembling and shut her best soul in prison, paying it only hidden visits, that she might be petty enough to please him.  In such a crisis as this, some women begin to hate." A taste, perhaps, of what is to come for Dorothea...

Easter is over, March is gone (sorry, Middlemarch - I'll have to finish you in April!), and school is coming close to its end for moi.  Onwards to memos, finals, and thesis drafts, and the next installment in  Halfwaystride!