Presentation on theme: "Prose Analysis of an Excerpt from Middlemarch by George Eliot"— Presentation transcript:
1 Prose Analysis of an Excerpt from Middlemarch by George Eliot “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”-- Henry David Thoreau
2 Theme/“What”According to the narrator, religion and lofty ideals act as both Dorothea’s greatest strength and her greatest weakness. These ideals are responsible not only for her best characteristics, but also her rashness that could lead to a future unintentional martyrdom.
3 Literary Elements Tone shifts Diction Syntax Imagery Irony Allusions Sentence structure
5 Clothing“Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters” (Eliot 2-5).Irony: attractive even without fashion senseBlessed Virgin reference (religion=strength)Diction: “beauty,” “finely,” “relief”Tone: reverent
6 Horse RidingHorse riding diction: “charm,” “unaccountably,” “bewitching,” “loved,” “glowed,” “pleasure” (Eliot 50-59)“Most men thought her bewitching when she was on horseback,” (Eliot 52-53)Shows perception of othersTone: reverent“Riding was an indulgence which she allowed herself in spite of conscientious qualms,” (Eliot 56-58)Positive action caused by Dorothea’s outward personality
7 Martyrdom Inference“Her mind was theoretic, and yearned by its nature after some lofty conception of the world which might frankly include the parish of Tipton and her own rule of conduct there; she was enamored of intensity and greatness, and rash in embracing whatever seemed to her to have those aspects; likely to seek martyrdom, to make retractions, and then to incur martyrdom after all in a quarter where she had not sought it” (Eliot 23-30)Syntax: long, compound sentencesLong style of narration gives off a prediction effectMakes lofty inferences about her future (condescending)Diction: “theoretic,” “yearned,” “lofty,” shows her martyrdom will be caused by outward capacity
8 Comparisons to Celia“Miss Brooke’s large eyes seemed like her religion, too unusual and striking” (Eliot 45-46)Large eyes: child like imageryReligion makes her inferior to Celia“Poor Dorothea! Compared with her, the innocent looking Celia was knowing and worldly wise” (Eliot 46-47)Younger sister being wiser-condescending
9 Marriage Tone“Dorothea, with all her eagerness to know the truths of life, retained very childlike ideas about marriage” (Eliot 70-72)Childlike both explicit and implicitTakes on Dorothea’s perspective when intellectual marriage is shown positively : “She felt,” “If she had,” “her remarks,” “affect her,”Last line: “The really delightful marriage must be where your husband was a sort of father, and could teach you even Hebrew, if you wished it” (Eliot 80-82)Hints of sarcasmShifts away from Dorothea’s perspective-denotes sarcasmShows that her outward capacity will lead to an unhappy marriage (martyrdom)
11 Religion in the piece is used to accentuate the good and bad aspects Religious allusion to the Virgin Mary in first 8 lines of excerpt throw her beauty “into relief”; she “could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters,” relates her with a sort of glorified iconic religious image with “the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible”
12 Religion (cont.)Line 17 References to Blaise Pascal’s Pensées (famous work espousing Christianity)Line 25 A “parish in Tipton”Line 73 Richard Hooker(Oxford theologian)Line John Milton(famous religious author)Shows mix of religious and high intellectual ideas
13 Religious martyrdomLine 28 “Likely to seek martyrdom, to make retractions, and then to incur martyrdom after all in a quarter where she had not sought it”Connection to sort of martyrdom in marriage in last paragraphMartyrdom has a Christian connotation, referring to venerated people that died for the sake of God, refusing to renounce their religion and thus facing severe persecution and then death.Not something one should “seek”, and her seeming disposition to seek it in marriage is petty in comparison.
15 MarriageLines 70-72: “Dorothea, with all her eagerness to know the truths of life, retained very childlike ideas about marriage.”Eagerness in and of itself is a childlike traitIrony: “truth” versus “childlike ideas”Ideas of marriage not the same as the truth of it
16 MarriageLines : “The really delightful marriage must be where your husband was a sort of a father, and could teach you even Hebrew, if you wished it.”Doesn’t understand marriage should be out of love rather than a thirst to further knowledgeIrony: “marriage” versus “father”“Marriage” typically is a symbol of loveNot looking for a lover…. “father” symbolizes someone to look out for her and teach her rather than someone to love her.
17 MarriageLine 72-77: “She felt sure that she would have accepted the judicious Hooker…. Or any of the other great men whose odd habits it would have been glorious piety to endure.’Ironic: “glorious” versus “endure”If something is glorious, there shouldn’t be a need to “endure’ because it should be something you want to doIf not happy after enduring….. Would she be martyring herself?
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