My progress on Middlemarch has been slow but enjoyable. I’m currently on Chapter 9 and finding George Eliot (née Mary Ann Evans) to be a hilarious writer. Turns out the Goodreads reviewer was right – it is B-A-N-A-N-A-S, and I’ve only just begun!
So far Middlemarch has a real The Awakening/Taming of the Shrew vibe to it. Granted, I haven’t read the latter, but I have seen it on stage and I’ve seen “10 Things I Hate About You,” which we can all agree is pretty much the same thing. Regarding The Awakening, though there hasn’t been any ring-throwing or adultery action yet, I can feel it all coming. It’s going to happen, just you wait.
HOLY CRAP. I just realized that the bathroom scene from 10 Things I Hate About You is from Middlemarch! You know the one I’m talking about. The one where Kate has her mom’s pearls and Bianca wants to wear them. Then Kate is all:
To which Bianca responds:
Guys, Dorothea and Celia have the same exchange in Chapter 1 of Middlemarch. For real.
This just blew my mind. This whole time popular culture was gently nudging me towards Eliot, and I didn’t even realize it. I’ve been subliminally exposed to the classics, people! It’s a conspiracy, is what it is. This obsession I have with The List is simply the natural culmination of years of conditioning.
Maybe I should move on to a new thought now…
A brief overview of MM thus far: Dorothea has accepted the marriage proposal of Mr. Casaubon, much to the dismay of pretty much everyone. She doesn’t mind, though. Dorothea does not suffer fools; she has no time for morons and seeks only the company of those who can stimulate her intellectually. Which, apparently, is an exclusive group of people consisting only of herself and her fiancé. This makes for a narrative full of exceedingly enjoyable contempt.
This contempt is primarily directed from Dorothea towards pretty much everyone around her. Her general opinion of men seems to be that they are boring and unintelligent creatures, endlessly annoying her with trivial small talk. She spends a decent portion of the book so far waiting for James to kindly STFU (and hinting to it not-so-subtly).
Annoyed by stupidity. Bored by small talk. Unimpressed by social decorum regarding grooming and courtship. This girl is playing my jam!
Correction: playing what I wish was my jam. My actual jam is being polite, respectful, and passably assimilated to cultural norms.
Now for my favourite part of reading ridiculously massive classics: PREDICTION TIME!
Full disclosure: I *may* have come across some spoilers online. Predictions still count, though. Called it!
Okay, here we go.
Prediction #1: Celia and Sir James are going to get married. This is barely a prediction, though, it’s too obvious.
Prediction #2: Uncle Brooke dies. I’m guessing natural causes. There will be a long drawn-out illness in which either a) Celia cares for him out of fidelity, b) Dorothea cares for him out of Methodist piety, or c) a random caretaker takes care of him because Celia is too busy having babies and playing house, and Dorothea is too preoccupied with intellectual pursuits. He dies alone. Both his nieces are overcome with guilt and vow to spend more time together lest the same thing happen to them.
Prediction #3: one of the following will occur:
- Dorothea gets bored of Casaubon and leaves him.
- Casaubon wants Dorothea to bear children, she refuses, he has their marriage annulled.
- Dorothea falls in love with the young, handsome carpenter hired to build her cottages, has an affair and leaves Casaubon for him.
Prediction #4: Casaubon is going to end up being awful and I’m not going to like him at all. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I don’t trust him…
Prediction #5: ring-throwing action.
Prediction #6: regardless of how Prediction #3 plays out, adultery is a near certainty as far as I’m concerned.
Place your bets in the comments below.
Until next time, Cat out!