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PROSE ANALYSIS OF AN EXCERPT FROM MIDDLEMARCH BY GEORGE ELIOT Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. -- Henry David Thoreau.

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Presentation on theme: "PROSE ANALYSIS OF AN EXCERPT FROM MIDDLEMARCH BY GEORGE ELIOT Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. -- Henry David Thoreau."— 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 Dorotheas 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

4 TONE Overall: condescending Tone shifts Diction Syntax Imagery Irony

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 sense Blessed Virgin reference (religion=strength) Diction: beauty, finely, relief Tone: reverent

6 HORSE RIDING Horse 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 others Tone: reverent Riding was an indulgence which she allowed herself in spite of conscientious qualms, (Eliot 56-58) Positive action caused by Dorotheas 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 sentences Long style of narration gives off a prediction effect Makes lofty inferences about her future (condescending) Diction: theoretic, yearned, lofty, shows her martyrdom will be caused by outward capacity

8 COMPARISONS TO CELIA Miss Brookes large eyes seemed like her religion, too unusual and striking (Eliot 45-46) Large eyes: child like imagery Religion 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 implicit Takes on Dorotheas 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 sarcasm Shifts away from Dorotheas perspective-denotes sarcasm Shows that her outward capacity will lead to an unhappy marriage (martyrdom)

10 RELIGION Goes both ways Numerous allusions

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 Pascals 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 MARTYRDOM Line 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 paragraph Martyrdom 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.

14 MARRIAGE (IN DEPTH) Tone Irony Contrast

15 MARRIAGE Lines 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 trait Irony: truth versus childlike ideas Ideas of marriage not the same as the truth of it

16 MARRIAGE Lines : 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. Doesnt understand marriage should be out of love rather than a thirst to further knowledge Irony: marriage versus father Marriage typically is a symbol of love Not looking for a lover…. father symbolizes someone to look out for her and teach her rather than someone to love her.

17 MARRIAGE Line 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 shouldnt be a need to endure because it should be something you want to do If not happy after enduring….. Would she be martyring herself?


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