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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 38

Summary

Sir James Chettam is deeply worried. Brooke is rumored to be standing as an independent or the next election. Chettam is afraid that the established parties will make an all out attack on Brooke’s neglect of his land and tenants, and create a local scandal. He visits the Cadwalladers to ask for support in dissuading Brooke. Chettam has spoken to Ladislaw and feels Ladislaw is against Brooke’s candidature and may influence him to withdraw. In the discussion, their mistrust of anyone who takes part in changing the old order is clear. Journalists are considered "hacks." Most of all, Chettam, a conscientious landlord interested in modern methods is against the shabby neglect by Brooke of his farms. Brooke enters just then and the three attempt to convince him not to stand for election and to employ Caleb Garth as manager to improve his land. Brooke is adamant and claims to be a liberal landlord. He leaves.


Notes

Like the question of medical reform, George Eliot brings in questions like the proposed reforms, and the changing patterns of class relations. Brooke and Ladislaw, both belonging to the gentry are entering the rough world of politics. It is seen as fit only for "low" people.

At the same time, the reader is shown the genuine interest of Chettam in modern farm management and a democratic approach to his tenants. Brooke, for all his amusing eccentricity, is shown to be backward and exploitative. Will is also becoming a long-term inhabitant of Middlemarch. Bulstrode, another important character, is shown getting closer to Brooke.

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