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Thread: Adam, Seth, and Dinah

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    Adam, Seth, and Dinah

    Hello!

    If you read Adam Bede you know that, from the beginning, Seth is in love with Dinah, and wants to marry her. She refuses him all the time.
    Later on we learn that Dinah is in love with Adam and he suddenly realises that he feels the same way for her.
    Adam is uneasy because he knows his brother loves her. But when he tells Seth about his feelings, Seth not only accepts it, but tells Adam that he will be very glad if Dinah agrees to marry him.
    When I read the book this response from Seth struck me as odd. How could he change his feelings so quickly? Wasn't he so deeply in love with Dinah, after all? Or his religious and spiritual feelings of abnegation were stronger than his love? Or were his selflessness and his love for Adam greater than his feelings for Dinah? Or...? What do you think?

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I actually think George Eliot isn't very interested in Adam, despite being the name character. He's a bit too good to be true, working class, hunky and but so moral. (Not to say working class hunks can't be moral, but the character seems put together.)

    Regarding Seth, his love for Dinah is an unrequited infatuation. Infatuations can pass when they are recognised for what they are.

    There was an erotic intensity in early Methodism together with a puritanical view of sex. Eliot doesn't spell that out, but it was there.

    Much more interesting is Dinah. Actually she finds poor old decent Seth a bore.

    Adam transferring his affection from Hetty to Dinah is another thing that isn't really explored.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    I actually think George Eliot isn't very interested in Adam, despite being the name character. He's a bit too good to be true, working class, hunky and but so moral. (Not to say working class hunks can't be moral, but the character seems put together.)

    Regarding Seth, his love for Dinah is an unrequited infatuation. Infatuations can pass when they are recognised for what they are.
    I agree that it must have been an infatuation rather than deep love.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    There was an erotic intensity in early Methodism together with a puritanical view of sex. Eliot doesn't spell that out, but it was there.
    I find this enlightening. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    Much more interesting is Dinah. Actually she finds poor old decent Seth a bore.

    Adam transferring his affection from Hetty to Dinah is another thing that isn't really explored.
    Yes, his sudden love for Dinah and his forgetting Hetty should also be analized more deeply.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Good on you for reading Adam Bede. It is a very important work indeed. George Eliot must have had in mind Walter Scott's The Heart of Midlothian which also has a trial for infanticide at its centre. Eliot (I don't like calling her that, but "Miss Evans" would be worse) would have known it. And in that book the girl's father repudiates her as soon as he knows she has had sex outside marriage. And many Victorian readers would have had exactly the same attitude. The immense sympathy towards poor, silly, vain Hetty is extraordinary.

    There are no bad characters in the book. Even Hetty's seducer, Arthur, is shown sympathetically. (Contrast with Little Emily and Steerforth in David Copperfield.)

    That is both why it is a wonderful book, but also why I found it a bit of a bore!

    O, and Dinah is so good and pious but comes across as heroic, compassionate and brave. It is unusual that the most moral character in a novel is also one of the most complex and compelling.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    Good on you for reading Adam Bede.


    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    It is a very important work indeed. George Eliot must have had in mind Walter Scott's The Heart of Midlothian which also has a trial for infanticide at its centre.
    I knew about this, I seem to remember that I read it in the Introduction of the book.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    Eliot (I don't like calling her that, but "Miss Evans" would be worse)



    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    would have known it. And in that book the girl's father repudiates her as soon as he knows she has had sex outside marriage.
    But I didn't know this.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    And many Victorian readers would have had exactly the same attitude. The immense sympathy towards poor, silly, vain Hetty is extraordinary.

    There are no bad characters in the book. Even Hetty's seducer, Arthur, is shown sympathetically. (Contrast with Little Emily and Steerforth in David Copperfield.)
    I agree that even Arthur is shown sympathetically.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    That is both why it is a wonderful book, but also why I found it a bit of a bore!

    O, and Dinah is so good and pious but comes across as heroic, compassionate and brave. It is unusual that the most moral character in a novel is also one of the most complex and compelling.
    Today I'm starting to read The Cambridge Companion to George Eliot where I hope to find good essays about her and her works.
    I really love George Eliot's works. So far I have read also Middlemarch and Silas Marner.
    Last edited by Carmilla; 09-18-2014 at 10:48 AM.

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