What a great struggle to have finally completed reading ‘Adam Bede’. The effort does not lie on its 561 pages. It goes way more than that. Apart from personal problems that have caused me to abandon the reading process for a while, I still may find it unable to understand few topics in the book.
As I have written in the previous post, this novel discusses a lot about Methodist. As a Moslem, though I know this should not be an excuse, this kind of sect is a bit confusing. And since this is a romance novel after all, I don’t really pay a lot of attention to this topic. Somehow, understanding this sect would indeed help me along the way with Dinah Morris. Or religion situation when which the book is written. That would contribute to a much better post because I strongly believe George Eliot, the author of the book, wants to signify something by discussing much about this. Given its super thick novel, I have no intention and time to do that somehow.
One thing that completely distracts me along the reading process is the use of language of several characters in the book; particularly the one spoken by Lisbeth Bede and Mrs. Poyser. Their language reminds much of the language of those I have read in novels that take place in the southern part of the United States. I’m pretty much sure their utterances lead to something, not just a mere verbal expression. I wonder if their language depicts a social background of the people at that time.
Well, yeah, those are two topics that slightly keep on spinning in my head until now. But since I read the book for pleasure I don’t do further research on those topics. May be one day I’ll go for that for this time being I want to enjoy the novel as the way it is. I mean, digesting the novel on the surface. Enjoying the language, the plot, the characters and delving into Eliot’s mind.
In Goodreads.com I give three out of five stars to this novel. I don’t know what to say. I feel the novel is hard. The language is actually as stunning as I read in ‘The Mill on the Floss’. I think the presence of abundant informal dialogues with too many aposthropes really hinders me from completely enjoying the novel. But you can’t argue that Eliot is the master of putting her imagination into this super novel. I have no doubt on how she can put her soul into each of the character she wants to present.
The core, the best, the heart of the book lies on the page 300 onwards (in my book edition). When you come to the point when Hetty abandons Adam on the days leading to their marriage until she faces her execution day, you’ll get raptured, shocked, wowed, amazed. You’ll get KNOCKED DOWN! You won’t get alarmed that the plot will turn out that sadistic, wicked, shocking as ever given Eliot’s wonderful, beautiful, smoothing words. That’s Eliot’s magic, just any other Victorian writers do, though I must frankly say Eliot’s spells work more efficaciously than her peers.
I can completely fancy how dark, bleak, frustrating the climax of the novel is. I can imagine how depressed Adam knowing Hetty can be that cold. And I can fully comprehend on how Hetty can be that way. And I can get into her soul, I can understand her anger toward Arthur. And if Arthur stands in front of me right now I will punch him in the head! Yeah, the novel is such powerful that I, as a reader, can feel such emotions. It’s George Eliot anyway. No one could ever doubt her proficiency.
Somehow, the enjoyment stops there. The novel is still long way to go but I can easily guess the ending. The union of Adam and Dinah is so easily to be predicted in the early book when Dinah, who is dressed in a sleeping gown accidentally meets Adam when she spends a few nights at his house. The way they look at each other in that morning is sufficient to explain how they actually feel a kind of love at the first sight. Eliot saves their affection when the novel is about to come to a close.
It’s a happy ending for the book. A good guy, who initially sets his heart to a wrong girl, eventually wins the heart of a good girl. On the other hand, the wrong girl who commits a adultery with a player ends up in a distress while the player’s fate is a bit lucky for his name remains undisturbed although he has to leave his hometown. Eliot is too kind to Arthur Donnithorne and I strongly reject her standing on this matter.
Surely, this novel is a satisfying one for those who wish for a happy ending. However, I would not like to emphasize the greatness of the book according to that factor solely. That doesn’t mean I am against happy closures since I get used to read books that end in sad or even depressive endings. What bothers me is that the book does not completely satisty me. My pleasure stops when Hetty is transported. The rest of the story is too clear while the novel is still a bit long way to go.
It’s different with ‘The Mill on The Floss’. I don’t even get bored reading the thick novel not only thanks to its amazing words but also to its unpredictable ending till at least a few last pages of the novel. When I have known the destinies of the major characters I really want to throw the book away. It’s like you have finished watching a great movie with mixed feelings as you leave cinema. It’s like what happens to me after reading ‘The Mill on The Floss.” I feel satisfied yet devastated at the same time until the last pages of the book. I don’t get that kind of feeling as I close “Adam Bede”, unfortunately.