Our characters' needs become more urgent, and more at cross purposes with each other
I was absolutely mortified by Rosamond's behavior, but we are under a hurricane and flood watch, so must pack and run!
Re the reference to Mrs. Lemon's in Mona's post - Rosamond was her star student if I remember, the one who did everything perfectly. She modulates all her movements as she does her thoughts and molds them to fit her desires. Lydgate is soothed by her perfection, then he is frustrated by it, as in blocked by it. He judged her wrongly, or saw only what he wanted to and didn't use his scientist's ability to observe Rosamond in her natural surroundings and come to the obvious conclusions. This is excused by his being so in love with her, his attraction to her that is purely physical. He wanted her for no more than an ornament to adorn his pleasant and self-protecting home life. His regard for her when pushed to his limit is condescending, he thinks she must stay in her place and obey him subserviently. Because he can't figure out how to control her.
He does a lot of thinking. He loses hope (his pride) and starts gambling. Then he takes money from Bulstrode.
Rosamond's love for him is dependent on her mental image of him. When she cannot mold him as she did before when she knew nothing about him as a person and merely projected onto him her desires, he loses all attraction for her. All attraction.
A blow-by-blow demonstration by Eliot of how mental activity determines even more than reality does. Whatever reality is!
A similar thing seems to happen with Bulstrode, his mental activity dictates his actions and he is not present except in his strongest desires.
"But of course intention was everything in the question of right and wrong." And, "Does anyone suppose that private prayer is necessarily candid - necessarily goes to the roots of action! Private prayer is inaudible speech, and speech is representative: who can represent himself just as he is, even in his own reflections?"
Bulstrode is obsessed with secrecy and will slice and dice a million ways to come up with the right answer: keep hiding. This is how he derives a sense of power.
Like a man trying to outrun an avalanche.
And still, still Eliot does not openly flatly condemn him, not in so many words. Though she also leaves no doubt of his guilt! I don't really know how she accomplishes both of these things at once, except that she has shown us his thoughts every step of the way, and then insists on there being other possible reasons that we can't really, know.
A very wide and generous view.
I found it odd that Lydgate did not at the time question more the circumstances of Raffles' death. I think that is the one place where I felt Eliot cutting her cloth to fit her argument. But that's all right, she more than earns her cuts, I feel. And they are not unbelievable, only a bit convenient, perhaps.
Book 7 was so absorbing once I dedicated my mind to it that I really forgot about Dorothea and only recalled near the end of the Book that she had been gone a long time. And then I only felt admiration for Eliot for doing that. Talk about confidence! She must have known she could make her disappear and not lose any readers because of it but they would stay the course with her with the great reward coming .. maybe.
I want more on Raffles. What a black swan. He enters Middlemarch and ruffles feathers like a fox in a chicken coop. How did he become so degraded? What had gone wrong in his life? If Eliot says, I missed it. We get his deathbed, and a few other deathbeds in this book, but no marriage beds. However, deathbeds lead to marriage beds.
What a great suggestion that the absence of Dorothea from most of Book Seven is correlated with its moral chaos! Sometimes the absence or silence of a character can be as significant as a presence. And she will return to an altered landscape after the murder (yes, murder) of Raffles and frightening response of the townspeople: so glad you chose to quote extensively there, the new appetite for dinner invitations and even the benefits to commerce from shared malice is rather terrifying. Ancient Greek texts refer frequently to death by stoning, which almost seems preferable to being ostracized in Middlemarch...
Spent the late afternoon finishing the last chapters of Book 7 whereupon I was so worn out by it I fell asleep! Bulstrode, a murderer. Oh my gosh. How sinister it is when he hands the key to the wine cabinet over. Yikes.
And just now read Mona's fabulous post which I will reread tomorrow as well as write a "proper" comment : )
I concur with folks saying Rosamond is a nightmare, but also I think Eliot keeps refusing to side entirely with Lydgate for a reason...
I felt sort of complicit in Raffles' murder. GE shares Bulstrode's thoughts so we understand his fury with the blackmailer and his subsequent relief. The narrator has been sympathetic to him, but he shows no redemption. He prays hypothetically: "__'if I have herein transgressed."
GE is harder on Rosamond. Rosamond and Lydgate are both disillusioned, and that is common. But a married couple should work together in adversity. I saw an "Ivanka Trump" dress which has been hanging in my closet since 2015, and thought that, in the 21st century, Rosamond could start a design business with her father and make her own money. Would that make the couple happy? I'm a bit more partial to Lydgate. Some of Rosamond's suggestions are not bad (asking the relatives or Bulstrode for money), but Rosamond's sabotaging him is inexcusable. Lydgate is stubborn but not sneaky.
Lydgate taking the money from Bulstrode is an interesting contrast to Will's refusal of the money.
Okay, I finished!!! What an ending. What thoughts GE conveys. Can’t wait for Mona’s insights on Sunday!! I’m so glad I read this book with you all. Thank you, Anne and Mona!
I love these posts and look forward to reading them every week. What a pleasure to dive into Mona's impressions and thoughts on this wonderful novel, and I especially love, this week, the advice to young writers <3
I have to mention now that I didn't know that you were providing this wonderful read-a-long community for a book that I just happened to pick up this summer! I'm caught up now. I was joking with my daughter that I'm reading a book that took 779 pages to get suspenseful, but now it IS, and I'm not to be disturbed while reading it!
Yes, we need a check-in, Doug!
A totally believable story, Ann : )