By David M. Byers
George Eliot takes the well-worn story of a beautiful dairy-maid seduced through a clumsy squire, and out if it creates a portrait of the lives of standard Midlands operating people – their labors and loves, their ideals, their speech.
This concise complement to George Eliot's Adam Bede is helping scholars comprehend the general constitution of the paintings, activities and motivations of the characters, and the social and cultural views of the author.
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Extra resources for Adam Bede Notes (Cliffs Notes)
But Mr. Irwine tells him that Arthur is already on his way home and asks Adam to go with him to Stoniton to confirm that the girl being held is really Hetty. Adam agrees to go. When Mr. Irwine returns from Stoniton the next day--the girl in prison is Hetty, and Adam has decided to stay near her--he learns that the old Squire had died suddenly; Arthur is now master of the estate. He tells his sad story to the Bedes and the Poysers and the news is soon all over town. The Poysers react violently; they feel disgraced and talk of leaving the estate.
Eliot now, in a striking parallel, places him in a position from which no amount of work can set him free. Hetty's crime cannot be reversed, and there is no way in which Adam can avert or alleviate her punishment. He cannot even take revenge on Arthur since in doing so he would only be making a bad situation worse. Adam's active, aggressive way of solving problems is completely nullified, and he must seek for some other way out. The only viable alternative is humility; Adam must learn to accept what he cannot control or set straight, to accept limitations and live with them.
The good man's rise is caused directly by his own choices, and vice versa. This is why there is so much emphasis on human will in her books. Since certain inevitable consequences will flow from one's actions, one must have the foresight to predict what those consequences will be and the will power to act accordingly. com Hetty fails to see that her affair will not end in marriage, disaster results. If, like Arthur, one foresees the consequences but lacks the strength to avoid the bad action, the same end follows.