I finished Middlemarch last month and am now going to post my views, thoughts, feelings and everything else – including spoilers! *warning in advance*
This book didn’t make me cry. This is indeed a book written for adults and I tried to soak as much wisdom as I possibly could. There are a range of characters in the book, mainly three couples and they do unite in the end. I was worried this book might have a somewhat tragic ending like ‘The Mill on the Floss’ but no, it was a happy ending and it was happy not for the sake of cheering up the reader. Happiness was well deserved by those who attained it in the end.
Goodreads comments mostly indicated that the book is about people wanting to change the world but failing and the message is that we should get on with our lives and forget about trying to change the world – I don’t agree.
I think what this book teaches is when you change a life, when you change an outcome, when you change youself, you change the universe. The magnitude of the change might be minute but it is noticeable and is well pronounced in the lives of those that are affected by it.
I understand Lydgate didn’t get to pursue his dream in Middlemarch but that was because he didn’t listen to Mr Farebrother who had warned him beforehand. Message: listen to your friends/ family advice. They want the best for you. Pay attention if they warn you against something. It is important!
Some might wonder why but I admire Mary Garth more than Dorothea. I really liked how Dorothea was driven by kindness and passion and brought about so much change but I absolutely adored Mary Garth’s strength and wisdom that she had inherited from her father. There was wisdom in her lifestyle too but just a stronger and more concrete form not weakened by desires or passion but one that resulted in Fred Vincy’s success. Success, perhaps, not in terms of wealth but he got what he wanted and she made him the best he could be. Here genuinely the strength of a partner was defined – helping you to grow and become better.
Also, when Featherstone wanted to give Mary his wealth, I couldn’t believe it that she didn’t think about it! She didn’t pause for a moment to consider what was being offered to her and flatly refused. This is pride, self-respect but most importantly satisfaction. This is truly success: a sense of contentment – being able to live with what you have and finding happiness in it (because there are many who don’t even have that).
Rosamond was the character that was least admired by myself. I don’t understand what sort of admiration she had for Lydgate when she only really began to respect him after Ladislaw disrespected her as much as her vanity could handle. She made it all the more difficult for Ladislaw to handle things and perhaps when he needed support, some form of compromise with regards to personal desires from Rosamond, she would start crying making it seem like Lydgate was doing it all on purpose. I suppose one goes blind when the world begins to seem ideal and when reality hit Rosamond, she couldn’t handle it –– a fine example of someone who never read classic novels in their life.
Some quotes that I particularly admired:
Here is another quote from the book that really touched my heart:
“… for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric 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.”
Isn’t this beautiful? – especially “rest in unvisited tombs” Dorothea had no clue how many lives she changed by her one decision: of, for one day, forgetting about her own sorrows and trying to benefit three lives. She ended up fixing so many!
So next time, someone says you can’t change the world, tell them to read Middlemarch!
Something I learnt from the book:
I don’t think I can explain which character inspired me to think this however I can say that this is a combination of feelings evoked by Middlemarch as well as some personal experiences in life. This might not be wholly true but how is man to know the real disposition of somene anyway? Vanity, insecurity are only true when you believe they are. You never quite know what it is anyway.
Middlemarch feels like a different Universe I studied where it currently rests on my cupboard shelf (yeh I keep my books with clothes but on a separate shelf because I don’t trust anyone with my books). It has a beautiful crack in the spine which shall be forever adored for it is a must read! No idealities. Only realities.