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George Eliot's novel Adam Bede

This paper will discuss George Eliot's novel Adam Bede. This novel gives a beautifully descriptive picture of life in a rural English village at the turn of the eighteenth century. The village of Hayslope is an idyllic setting of abundant farmlands populated by simple, good-natured country people. The romanticism of the setting is enhanced by the fact that the story takes place in the past; George Eliot's narrator informs the reader as such in the very first sentence of the novel. Furthermore, the narrator allows the reader to believe that this is a true story of which she is attempting "to give a faithful account," despite the fact that "the mirror is doubtless defective; the outlines will sometimes be disturbed, the reflection faint or confused; but I feel as much bound to tell you as precisely as I can what that reflection is, as if I were in the witness-box, narrating my experience on oath" (174). Adam Bede and the other characters are purported to be real people who the narrator knows personally, and she even goes so far as to state that the story was told to her by the actual parties involved: "I gathered from Adam Bede, to whom I talked of these matters in his old age . . . " (178). In fact, George Eliot's characters are so expertly drawn that they seem like real people, and the drama of the novel is greatly heightened by the reader's feeling of identification with the characters involved.

From the very opening of the novel, Adam Bede is shown to be a responsible and serious young man" of good-humoured honest intelligence" (18). Adam is the foreman of Mr. Burge's carpentry shop, and it is clear that he deserves the position. At the end of the workday, when the other men immediately throw down their tools, "Adam alone had gone on with his work as if nothing had happened" (22). In fact, Adam seems to be the best young man in the village. He is sober and hard-working, but loving as well, and his sense of responsib...

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George Eliot's novel Adam Bede. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:40, August 06, 2020, from