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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 28

Summary

The Casaubon's return from their fiasco of a honeymoon. Looking around Lowich Manor, Dorothea felt everything has shrunk, as have her hopes of a fulfilling busy life. She was still surrounded by "the stifling oppression of that gentlewoman’s world, where everything was done for her, and none asked for her aid." She remembers Will, and his harsh judgement on Casaubon’s work. The sadness of it strikes her with resentment. She rushes about seeking her husband for comfort. Just then, Celia and her uncle come on a visit. Mr. Brooke greets her affectionately but Notes Casaubon’s pallor, which disturbs Dorothea.

The sisters go in for a confidential chat, and Celia announces her engagement to Chettam. She teases Dorothea that it occurred only because of her own departure and Sir James loneliness. Dorothea is very happy, and assures Celia of her happiness with such a good, honorable man.


Notes

The disastrous honeymoon has shattered most o Dorothea’s illusions. She resorts to stubborn loyalty and affection to make her marriage tolerable. Yet she is generous enough to be happy for her sister without any regrets for her lost opportunity with Chettam. The author wants to stress that it is the very passivity of the genteel life that Dorothea seeks to break out of. Her disappointment with the emotional and by implication sexual failure of the relationship with Casaubon is only a part of it. Hence she has no sense of the might have been with Chettam. She values him as a person and can be happy for him and her sister. In no way does she let her own sadness mar the occasion. Dorothea’s qualities as protagonist stand out most in adversity.

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