Julie Minnis, Book II: Old and Young

Julie Minnis

After working her way through high school and college by writing for The Sacramento Union, Julie graduated from UC Davis, earned her teaching credential, and taught high school English for more than 30 years. She also earned a Masters degree in linguistics from the University of Oregon and conducted professional development courses for teachers when UCSC had just opened. One of her neighbors in Santa Cruz is a founding director of the Dickens Project, and since Julie taught Dickens’s novels in her classroom, she regularly spent a week of her summers at the Dickens Universe. When she wants a break from Dickens, she enjoys reading John Steinbeck and facilitates Steinbeck Young Authors, a writing program for middle school students at the National Steinbeck Center. As the journey of Ms. Barrios’s LitLab launches, Julie looks forward to her role as a reading buddy, observing and guiding students as the novel reveals to them experiences not too dissimilar from their own.

Video Transcript

Hi, NAI, Readers, this is Julie Minnis back again from Santa Cruz.

Looks like everyone completed Book I and was introduced to Middlemarch, the book, and Middlemarch, the community. So what do you think about small towns where everyone knows your business and everyone has a position within the community that is above or below someone else. Ah, so much pettiness and jealousies and many opinions. My, my, but those Victorians had so many rules about behavior and interactions and who could rise up and become a powerful land owner or a designer of cottages for the poor so that they might have a “home.”

Think for a minute about Dorothea in Book I, who wants to improve her mind and gain wisdom and how many characters think she is foolish and seem to scoff at her desire to marry Edward Casaubon, a man 28 years older than she. By the beginning of Book II the reader experiences how important family is and the importance of influential family members. Take for example in Chapter 13 how Fred asks his father, Mr. Vincy, to represent him as he tries to untangle the rumors about his debts and bad credit. The reader finds out that alliances from marriages can be a barrier to resolving conflicts between Bulstrode and Fred. And that as a banker, Bulstrode plays favorites about who he will lend money to and uses his financial position as power for or against others in Middlemarch. Furthermore, family bonds influence people’s expectations and behaviors such as how Casaubon feels obliged to support Will Ladislaw, even though Casaubon seems to disrespect Will as a relative.

In these early chapters of Book II, the reader learns how important money is to almost every character we have met. Some people have it, some want the power money brings, some use money to gain a higher status and join a higher class. In the case of Fred Vincy and Mary Garth, she won’t marry him until he has made a stable income and amassed money. She realizes that money provides a security of place in society and money shows that Fred has a “place” in Middlemarch.

While stopping to ponder Chapter 15 and Eliot’s narrative commentary about the scope of her novel, I’m going to have a side-bar commentary for a minute and build on something Dr. Jon Varese wrote to me in an email last week. I had said that I believed that Dorothea was at the helm of this novel, strong and daring in her behavior. She knows what she wants and seems to go after it with vigor, even though she doesn’t look to the future and explore the consequences of her decision to marry Casaubon. Jon asked the question, “But who is Dorothea? First and foremost, is she “Miss Brooke,” the title of the first book? Is she Mrs. Casaubon? Is she Eliot’s /the narrator’s Dorothea? So, I put the question to you—who do you think is Dorothea? Do we have enough narrative to make a judgment about who is Dorothea?

Lydgate shows a fondness for Rosamond’s beauty and good manners and describes her “as if the petals of some gigantic flower had just opened and disclosed her.” The reader wonders if Eliot invites us to see the inherent contradiction that Lydgate looks only at the exterior of Rosamond’s beauty and fails to discover her personality or her real interests and desires. Her interest is to be married and Lydgate’s first priority is his medical profession. He doesn’t seem to worry about money and its importance, especially as it contrasts an opposing need for Rosamond.

When Chapter 19 opens Eliot reminds the reader that the overall setting of the novel takes place during the reign of King George the Fourth and the Duke of Wellington was prime minister; and this is before Queen Victoria becomes queen. Remember, she takes the throne in 1837. No surprise to the reader that Dorothea and Edward have come to Rome on their honeymoon and have been settled there for a few weeks. Eliot heightens the reader’s interest by revealing that Will Ladislaw has just spied Dorothea admiring marble statues in the Vatican. When she returns home, she “was sobbing bitterly” feeling abandoned by Casaubon and that “her feeling of desolation was the fault of her own spiritual poverty” (Ch.20). What do you think causes Dorothea to feel abandoned and alone? Had she relied too much on helping Casaubon in his work and once married, he failed to make a place for her in his work?

I rather liked this commentary, “The fact is unalterable that a fellow-mortal with whose nature you are acquainted solely through the brief entrances and exits of a few imaginative weeks called courtship may, when seen in the continuity of married companionship, be disclosed as something better or worse than what you have preconceived, but will certainly not appear altogether the same” (Ch.20). Later in the chapter the reader learns “Having once embarked on your marital voyage, it is impossible not to be aware that you make no way and that the sea is not within sight—that, in fact, you are exploring an enclosed basin.”

Soon after Dorothea’s revelation that Casaubon has defined her role in the marriage and limited her involvement in his work, Will Ladislaw comes for a visit. Dorothea is vulnerable to young Will’s attentions toward her and she recognizes how different he is from Casaubon. Will lives life impulsively and worships Dorothea, and Dorothea finds him “likely to understand everything.” She realizes her emotional void with Casaubon and that her marriage does not satisfy her. Quite quickly she is drawn to Will and she learns a little about art from him. Isn’t this what she wanted from Casaubon, to learn and have him teach her his wisdom? What is it about Will Ladislaw that ignites in Dorothea her journey of self-discovery?

She opens her heart to Will and speaks frankly about her concerns in her marriage to Casaubon while Will openly tries to show her Casaubon’s shortcomings and lack of passion. Will tells her “You are a poem, and that is to be the best part of a poet—what makes up the poet’s consciousness in his best moods” (Ch. 22). When Casaubon returns home, Dorothea reveals that Will has decided to return to England and give up wandering around Europe. As a chilling closing to this chapter, Casaubon tells Dorothea, “The young man, I confess, is not otherwise an object of interest to me. . . . “

Okay, readers, it’s time for another prediction. What do you think will happen? Where will Dorothea’s journey of self-discovery take her? Who will be in her immediate circle? In what ways does Book II reveal contrasts between old and young? Good luck and enjoy Book III.


Adamaris Maldonado

What I believe that Will Ladislaw has that helps ignite Dorothea’s passion is his personality. His mood is constantly changing and he expresses emotion that Casaubon hasn’t towards Dorothea. In Chapter 21, Will’s smile is described as “a gush of inward light illuminating the transparent skin as well as the eyes…” which Dorothea then smiled back. Will is always being referred to having light or being the light. This can be seen when he helps illuminate Dorothea’s blindness towards art. Will was completely the opposite of Casaubon, in Dorothea’s eyes. He was expressive and willing to teach her while Casaubon denied Dorothea her kisses and his knowledge. This goes back to the contrast of old and young, Will and Casaubon.

Victoria Garcia-Lopez

Something that caught my attention and was very intriguing was about the email from Dr.Jon Varese, In which building off of Dorothea as a character is questioned, who is she really. I believe that like any human, any realistic human goes through identity trials.We see this throughout the story. From the first sentence, in the very first passage the narrator described her as Miss Brooke, someone with the kind of beauty that resonates through her spirit and “thrown into relief by poor dress”. Then, she’s more portrayed as Casaubon’s wife, Mrs.Casaubon, once she’s married to him. Throughout the book we see Dorothea in different lights, to even the narrator’s light of her. But I think the point of that is that, in real life people are more complex than anything to find out who they really are, we must seem them go through the hardest and lightest obstacles, and most importantly to see how they deal with multiple emotions. As for who is Dorothea, well we’ll see. Same goes with the other characters.

Ricardo Giles

Well taking into account the first chapter of book 2, it looks like that characters describe the importance of family contribution, in the sense that they help each other in things like when Fred needed help with dealing with his debt and bad credit. So he asked his father, Mr. Vincy to help him represent him while he explains his debt. And to me this all kind of depicts how almost everyone feels a better connection as for asking for help, with their family members than with some stranger. Actually the book emphasizes how marriages may not be the best relationships when it comes to helping each other out like how we see with Fred and his wife. So in a sense, we kind of find out that connections like family members, are often the best way to deal with problems, as depicted from the beginning of book 2.

AP English Barrios

Fred’s not married yet…

Lesly Aguilar

Ms. Julie Minnis talks how in book two there is a lot of family importance and how the society plays a big role throughout the book. In the first book we see how all the charater are close to their family but once we arrive to book two we see how family members will plan things and events that will change their lives forever. We see that society plays a big role because in the little town that Dorothea lives in everyone knows what happens. It’s like the rumors or like things are known. We see that news travels fast and then that makes the society change in many ways. They tend to see the characters different or judge them when they don’t know what really happened.

Angelica Vasquez

Book II, Old and Young, has a lot going one compared to Book I. The title itself “Old and Young” allows us to see that this is the moment in which Dorothea has an interest in Will Ladislaw and that her relationship with Mr. Casaubon isn’t going the way she wanted it to go. Here we have the Old which is Mr. Casaubon and the Young which is Will Ladislaw. I also found it interesting how she married Mr. Casaubon to learn from him but she really isn’t learning from him as she had wished instead she learns Art from Will Ladislaw which is what I think attracts her to him in a mysterious way. I think Dorothea overall is attracted to knowledge because I feel as though she is searching for herself since everyone criticizes her for being different and I think that by finding knowledge she will find herself. Dorothea marries Casaubon thinking this was her escape from being trapped by society’s norms and she comes to realize that she went from being trapped to becoming more trapped. I can’t wait to see how Dorothea’s relationship with Will Ladislaw changes over the course of time, and also her relationship with her husband.


In Ms. Minnis Book 2 commercial, she mentioned the importance of small towns, and the huge role money plays in life in general.In small towns or place with very little people around everyone knows each other, everyone knows or finds out about each person business which creates drama. Someone like Dorothea gets questioned and judged because she’s really pretty and married someone of higher class. Which shows that money plays a huge roll because it identifies where one belongs or community they belong in. If money wasn’t important and personality was many rich and poor people would be judged in a different perspective.

AP English Barrios

Dorothea and Cassaubon are of the same class–the landed gentry and aristocratic class of Middlemarch.

Liliana Mejia

First I will like to thank Ms. Minnis for taking time to do this commercial for us. I also agree with Ms. Minnis in how money is important to every character in the book. Since book one you can notice that being wealthy is something big and has a major role in the book. For example, Dorothea wants someone she can build up with and for that person to be intelligent etc, she wouldn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t have money that would only bring her down. The question that came up about “Who is Dorothea?” That’s a great question because I feel like every character will have a different side or role in every book as we read I hope to find out!

Fatima Saravia

Looking at the fact that Casaubon has defined Dorothea’s role and limited her involvement in his work, it is not something that Dorothea has desired. The feeling received is one of disparage as she is being put down into a position in which she belongs in according to society. Ms. Minnis brings about the point in Will Ladislaws visit and how Dorothea quickly gets attracted to him. I feel that the ignition she gets is due to the notion that because he is undermined by Casaubon just like she is, and he has told her”You are a poem, and that is to be the best part of the poet…” as Ms. Minnis brought up, Will Ladislaw might be the person she is looking for who will give her what she is yearning for. Instead, though she digresses societal norms by her simplistic ways, she is still abiding by being put in a position that is meant for women.

Yasmine Carrera

The idea of living in a small town where everyone could be in your business is not a very pleasant one in my opinion, but that’s what this book has been about so far, everyone who is jealous or petty having something to say about anything and everything you do with your life. It was very easy for me to pick up on the idea that the characters in this book are money driven, because it can place you in a certain spot in the social class where having more money is linked to having more knowledge. But despite this claim Miss Brooke continued on with her plan to expand her already large mind. I believe that Dorothea’s journey of self-discovery will take her to unventured grounds, places where no women or even man has ever gone before.

luis navarro

This time period is always controversial because of the style of communities. There is much friction between neighbors and acquaintances due to word spreading like wildfire. Dorthea being from a higher standpoint in society has expectations that she is expected to fill but her ignorance of common sense does not let her meet those expectations. Her obsession or passion of perfect cottages can be a manifestation of her ultimate desire, a simple life in unison with her husband. She alters a norm or expectation when she marries the idea of her ideal husband and in inevitably disrupts her and will provoke Dorthea to question herself and her role as an unusual and unique woman.

Klarissa Ayon

Looking at this great commercial clip that Julie Minnis has provided us with really made me understand what was going on throughout book 2. One thing that really stood out to me was when she mentioned that in small towns everyone knows your business. Living back in the days was very hard to have your own privacy because as previously mentioned they were a lot of small towns and within those small towns your neighbors and the neighbors family knew everything about you and what was going on with you and your personal things, you were not capable of hiding anything. Another great point that she said was that money symbolized the amount of power that you were capable of having and the position that you had, whether it was being above or below someone. Money was something used to gain high status and be able to join high classes.

Oswerd Xol

Money is a determining factor in this book on where you stand on the social class level which is still alive today. Living in a small town where everyone knows your name and business is really awful because this leads to people being jealous and nosey in everything you do. The title of the book two is also interesting, “Old and Young”. Old being Casaubon and Young being Will Ladislaw and I find it very interesting that Dorothea married Casaubon wanting to expand her knowledge but Casaubon doesn’t give her the time of day but then comes Will Ladislaw who surely does. Finally thank you to Ms. Julie Minnis for taking time out of your day to make this commercial for us, we greatly apreciate it!

Gabriel Juarez

I agree how important family is in chapter two – for example how Fred asks his father, Mr. Vincy, to represent him as he tries to untangle the rumors about his debts, also with Casaubon supporting his cousin Will Ladislaw – but I want to focus on Dorothea and Casaubon’s relationship in this book. Regarding the question “What do you think causes Dorothea to feel abandoned and alone?” I believe the reason she feels abandoned is because she realizes that Casaubon does’t have much passion for anything but his works, he’s not interested in anything that she is. As for the other question, I think Dorothea did rely too much on helping Casaubon, and this is another reason why she feels abandoned, because Casaubon fails to find a place for her in his works.

Aileen Hernandez

Dorothea was a women of pride and strong will, however that image slowly started to fade after meeting Casaubon. Ms. Minnis did say through out the video that Dorothea ” sobbing bitterly” and ” her feelings of desolation was the fault of her own spiritual poverty” (chap.20). This provides the idea that Dorothea is no longer Ms.Brooke, the prideful, religious, full spirited women, instead we see an unknown women who Dorothea herself is not aware of. So through out this chapter, there is empty slots in who or in what Dorothea has changed about herself. This could be Elliot herself telling her story, however that may possibly affect her books due to her history. There is not a lot of evidence to go off to say that Dorothea is the narrator, Elliot, Ms.Casaubon. We can conclude that Dorothea is starting to question herself and her morals.

Dayanara Saucedo

The thought of small towns, in my opinion, makes me anxious. Your life is basically an open window, where anyone can pass by you and know everything about you. Your family, secrets, and mistakes, are all out there for everyone to see. People judge and get petty over meaningless things. In Middlemarch, the story is taken place in a small town. Everyone is well known, and it seems like your business, is everyone else’s concern. The title of book two is “Old and Young”, which means Mr. Cassaubon and Will Ladislaw. They both are the main topic when it comes to Dorothea, her interests, and her love life. Will might fancy Dorothea, and at some point she likes him back. Dorothea likes that Will listens to her and he teaches her about art, whereas Cassaubon doesn’t. She married him because she thought he would teach her, but that wasn’t the case. She’s attracted to learning and knowledge, so she married Cassaubon because she believed that he would give her that knowledge. Something I look forward to, is the change in Dorothea’s relationship with Will and Cassaubon in the future, and how the town/society might see it.

AP English Barrios

Love your voice here Dayanara

Nancy Hernandez

With Middlemarch being wrote quite a time ago sometimes it’s hard to understand and track what is taking place in the book. Being provided with this awesome commercial by Julie Minnis really helps connect some missing dots that took place in book 2 “Old and Young”. Julie MInnis explains to us that in the early chapters of book 2, family bonds influence people’s expectations and behaviors, as well as the importance of family that is taken in book 2. Unlike book 1 where we get to meet much key character, book 2 has a lot to do with the importance of family and money in the town of Middlemarch.

Juan Zavaleta

In book two we see how family is very impotant and powerful. For example, when Vincy paid for Fred’s college expense, Bulstrode didn’t like it and disapproved from that. When Vincy told Bulstrode that he was going to tell his sister, who was Bulstrodes wife, about his opinion on not helping Mrs.Bulstrode’s family, Bulstrode right away changes his mind and agrees with Vincy’s decision. In addition we also see that Dorothea’s relationship is startingg to fade with Casaubon and finds new interest in Will Ladislaw.

Breana Davidson

In my opinion I think that Dorothea is true to her beliefs, different, and always certain of what she wants. She sticks to wearing “poor dress” even though the others in her town believe she can do better, she also does this despite the fact that she knows that clothes represent status and that to these people status means everything. It is made clear by the narrator that Dorothea is a lot different than the girls that live in her town, she is often compared to her sister in order to show what Dorothea lacks, but I think the fact that she’s different makes her beautiful. In book one Dorothea has proven herself to be a character that knows what she wants and goes for it, she knows that she wants to marry a man like Cassaubon, and despite the age difference and what everyone thought, she did it anyway, this is but another example of how different she is compared to everyone else.

AP English Barrios

Great thoughts–I’d like to ear your thoughts about Book 2 and what Ms. Minnis shared!

Natalie Montenegro

Ms. Minnis, thank you for taking the time to propose new questions to us and bringing new thoughts to develop in our minds as we continue Middlemarch. I feel that when everyone knows your business, it brings up new problems. That’s what leads to the different positions held within a community where individuals are higher or below one another. I have noticed that throughout reading Middlemarch, inequality has been one of the major issues. I feel that right now, we don’t have enough to make the judgment about who is Dorothea. As we read one, we will encounter new information which will help us add more to Dorothea’s character. I feel like what causes Dorothea to feel abandoned and alone is that she begins to question and becomes confused of what she really wants. The people’s opinions around her are getting in her head as well as the judgment about herself. Which also leads Dorothea to encounter Will Ladislaw which ignites something new within her. Will Ladislaw is someone new and different and makes Dorothea see that there is much more beyond the doors she has set closed for herself. Dorothea reminds me of people in society today who are trying to find themselves. Dorothea’s journey of self-discovery will take her to igniting and developing things within her that she didn’t know she had. She is going to begin to see everything differently which will allow her to grow and come to the terms of what she really wants in her life as well as the type of person she wants to be.

Michael Carrillo

In Ms.Julie Minnis commercial she talks about small towns, importance of influential family members, and importance of money. In small towns everyone know each other’s drama it’s a good and bad thing because when one wants to keep a low status,someone can tell an individuals business to everyone and lose respect and when someone like Dorothea really gorgeous marrying someone in a higher class gains respect. Money plays a big row because is shows where one belongs like in a poor or rich community.If money wasn’t important and personality was, where might dorothea fall in a social class hierarchy?

Juan Zavaleta

In book two we see how family is very impotant and powerful. For example, when Vincy paid for Fred’s college expense, Bulstrode didn’t like it and disapproved from that. When Vincy told Bulstrode that he was going to tell his sister, who was Bulstrodes wife, about his opinion on not helping Mrs.Bulstrode’s family, Bulstrode right away changes his mind and agrees with Vincy’s decision. In addition we also see that Dorothea’s relationship is startingg to fade with Casaubon and finds new interest in Will Ladislaw.

Ashley Avina

We do and do not have enough narrative to tell who Dorothea is considering the book itself. We can conclude that Dorothea is a character in the novel Middlemarch, who is an orphaned child along with her sister Celia and both live under their uncle’s supervision. From the beginning pages we can gather up the basics of Dorothea, but also we cannot fully determine who Dorothea really is. We have no information really on how George Eliot created this character or what the connection is between them nor can we confirm that Dorothea is truly the main character in the novel. So many questions on who Dorothea truly is unsolved, but for now we have some answers.

Adriana Caselin

Money has a huge role in how events play out, like in how it can keep city up to date with that latest thing and in this case one of the things that Middle arch was falling behind in was their medical field which Mr. Bulstrode was going to fund. Here we see how Mr. Bulstrode shows favouritism to who he wants to give money out to which is Mr. Lydgate but it can also show how Mr. Bulstrode is caring because he wants to bring Middlemarch back up to date. Or is he doing this in order to keep and created revenue in the committee that he lives on?

AP English Barrios

What is Bulstrode’s primary motivation?

Juan Pablo Blanco

It’s very interesting to wonder upon Dorothea’s types of characters and/or traits revealing throughout this whole novel. As Dr. Varece sent an email to Ms. Minnie depicting upon the behavior of Dorothea, I strongly suggest Dorothea as being the narrator itself. The reason why is because if we can see Dorothea’s character is being stood out alone and abandoned which induces the narrator’s perspective during this particular time period where many women were seen as low class or with a lack of consistency. Another point that brought my attention was money being depicted throughout this novel- how some use money to gain a higher status or joining another class. If we reveal upon Lydgate and Dorothea tension relationship, we see how Dorothea’s interest is to get married while Lydgate doesn’t seem to worry about money just upon his medical profession. All in all, thanks very much Ms. Minnis for spending the privilege time doing this commercial for us!

Nàthaniel Nevels

In book two chapter thirteen, I really was impressed by how much Elliot criticizes any and every character she can. She criticizes but then praises characters like Dorothea. For example when Elliot says Dorothea’s beauty stand out even when she isn’t fashionable but then later talks about how Dorothea has less common sense than her sister. In chapter 13, she does the same thing. Elliot has a critical attitude towards Mr. Vincy as well. Elliot jokingly said describes how Mr.
Vincy has pale blond skin, thin grey besprinkled brown hair, and a large forehead. Right after Elliot critically talks about Mr.Vincy, she shits towards other characters emotions towards certain charactes. For instance, “Loud men called his(Mr. Vincy) subdued tone an undertone” and implied that sometimes Mr.Vincy’s voice is inconsistent. I feel Elliot does that to disguise her true meanings of each character. The technical way of writing lets the reader imply either the narrators attitude toward characters or even a view of life.

Ricky Sebastian

In book two we see how family plays a huge role and how they are important to the characters life. For example in book two we see how the relationship between the charcters have to be correct and that they can’t have a relationship that isn’t serious. For example vincy the father of Fred payed the college of his son Vincy and this is important because Bulstrode has money and he says who he will lend his money and he is showing power of money towards the other character and doesn’t believe that he should get the loan to pay for college. Bulstrode then changes his mind because he is influenced by his family that they sholuld help each other. This shows that family plays a huge role that determines what actions that u will do. As a result, i believe that family can also decide how you will live your life.

Vanessa Zelaya

A key point that Ms. Minnus stated that stood out to me is when she mentioned how important money is to the society. She continues to explain that that some people have money, some people want the power that it brings, and others use money to gain higher status in the society or also known as moving into a higher class. A quote that was stated that supports this statement is, “money provides a security of place in society”. This is important to Book 2 because that’s what Mary Garth believes and even says that she will not marry Fred Vincy if he is not financially stable. Something else that Ms. Minnus discusses is that Dorothea is not satisfied with her marriage anymore and is interested in Will Ladislaw. The reason for this is because he teaches her new tings, such as art, something that she wanted Casaubon to do. Through this, she goes on a “journey of self-discovery”.

Hunter Wilkinson

I think being placed in a small town where everyone knows your business and has a given position puts you at a disadvantage when you’re new. Since its so small it seems like there’d be traditional practices that are followed and when you enter these small towns bringing new ideas, it seems like there’d be some who’d discourage your views. For example, in chapter 16 in book two, Lydgate wants to reform and change treatments in the medical profession by starting off with Middlemarch but Mr. Chichely responds against his idea by saying “Hang your reforms!” as if it were discouraged. I think also when you first arrive at these sorts of town and you’re new, there might be a lot of judgement since there is no known background that tells who you are since your arrival.

Alexa Vasquez

Dorothea’s relationship with Will is what intrigues me the most. Will’s sudden interest in Dorothea seems a bit unprecedented. Eliot shows us that his romantic interest in Dorothea begins after Naumann has sketched Dorothea. As we know, Will is very much like Lydgate in the sense that he too pursues independence. Yet Ladislaw’s independence is one that seeks beauty and art. So we notice that he’s now fallen for Dorothea only AFTER she was made into an art form by Naumann. Would he have still gained those feelings for her, even if she hadn’t been turned into an art form? Is he really in love with Dorothea, or is he only in love with the aestheticism that was made from Dorothea through the painting? Though who knows what the case me be, Will is now attempting to gain Dorothea’s notice. Like Ms. Minni mentioned earlier, Will attempts to show her Causabon’s “shortcomings and lack of passion.” Dorothea quickly shuts him down though, yet we notice that Dorothea has also been feeling the exact same way, yet she has not been able to say it aloud. Does Will have something that is missing in her relationship with Causabon? Will Dorothea’s relationship with Will progress? Or will she choose to remain faithful to the husband that she has chosen?

AP English Barrios

Fascinating point. I think the painting of Dorothea is where we definitely see the narrator describe Will’s overt interest. Personally I loved all the insults to Cassaubon via Will: “He’s a cursed white-blooded pedantic coxcomb,” said Will, with gnashing impetuosity.” I actually argue though that he falls in love with her here, a little earlier: ” Dorothea raised her eyes, brighter than usual with excited feeling, and said in her saddest recitative, “How I wish I had learned German when I was at Lausanne! There were plenty of German teachers. But now I can be of no use.”

“There was a new light, but still a mysterious light, for Will in Dorothea’s last words. The question how she had come to accept Mr. Casaubon—which he had dismissed when he first saw her by saying that she must be disagreeable in spite of appearances—was not now to be answered on any such short and easy method. Whatever else she might be, she was not disagreeable. She was not coldly clever and indirectly satirical, but adorably simple and full of feeling. She was an angel beguiled. It would be a unique delight to wait and watch for the melodious fragments in which her heart and soul came forth so directly and ingenuously. The Aeolian harp again came into his mind.”

Salvador Villafana

I do find it interesting how Dorothea can be a representation of how George Eliot feels about what is going on in real life to woman but also to the characters in Middlemarch. I think and I do agree that Dorothea is the narrator or one of the narrators in Middlemarch in that she criticizes Dorothea’s actions throughout book and in which it is as if she is recounting the events in Middlemarch as future Dorothea herself or present Dorothea. In addition, I also feel that Eliot purposely shows us the interests of the characters to show their fallacies as they are human beings and to show that every character, I think, is equal to everyone regardless of gender and class status because they have imperfections. This allows Eliot, I feel once again, to prove that every individual has their own perception in which once revealed by illumination: causes the interpretation of being blinded by the “scratches in [a pierre-glass]”; the perception of their blinded interests. Perhaps one of the blinded interests is the use of money to retain power, a higher status in class levels in middle march and as it provides a stability in society. For example, in book 2 Rosamond VIncy will not marry Fred until he has retained a lot of money in which Rosamond considers to be a secure position to live under. This example, I agree in that Rosamond shows the blindness of her perception of what is interpreted to her to be normal is what truly is our blindness to our perceptive surroundings and “scratches”. Thank you Ms. Minnis for this commercial that really encouraged us to pursue onward towards book three and for the amazing information you have shared with us. Once again thanks.

AP English Barrios

Do you mean Mary?

Katherine Loera

Well, in response to Ms. Minnie’s first question I do not believe we have enough narrative to say who Dorothea is but I do think that in book two she’s Mrs. Casaubon, a woman now reflecting on her actions and future as she realizes how she dislikes Mr. Casaubon’s misplaced attention. I also agree that Lydgate’s and Rosamond’s relation will contradict Mr. and Mrs. Casaubon as lydgate only see’s Rosamond for outside beauty, which we learned from book 1 is not anyone’s real beauty, and is blinded and will suffer from her distraction compared to Dorothea who is the blinded one in her relationship you realizes her hurt from not gaining the knowledge she thought she would have from her husband.

Millie Sanchez

Unfortunately, money has always been an important and a main factor that influences people in totality. Especially in book two we can see the direct connection between wealth, power, and status. I think that it was very selfish of Mary Garth to act in such a way of interest solely on her economic stability when marrying Vincy because she wants to feel “secured” and assured a place in society. I do believe that so far we have enough concrete evidence to sketch out and figure who Dorothea is. In book one she is implied and referred to as “Miss. Brooke or Dorothea and described as intelligent, unusual, and with an effortless self explaining beauty like no other woman in her community. We can also infer that she is very ambitious and hunger for knowledge to meet that of her future husband Mr. Casaubon. She stands out from the crowd because of her “intense eyes”, “her powerful, feminine hands”, and her outgoingness to speak her mind. Although we have started to make judgements about her character I think that she still has to truly find who she is and if she has made the right decision to engage with Mr. Casaubon. Her journey of “self-discovery” and self realization will lead her to a new path completely new to her that she would not expect; she will not only realize her mistake, but learn about herself more.

Alexa Vasquez

Professor Griffith’s class was very fascinating and piqued my interest, as I love to learn about science, and Darwin’s theory being one that I support very strongly. The background behind the theory was a very interesting thing to learn, as well as the further expanding of the theory and how he moderated it to fit to the society’s beliefs of that time. I feel like his greatest accomplishment in doing so would be his watch analogy. It claims that the same way something as intricate and finely designed as a watch has a creator, nature itself, which is even more perplexing and enthralling, must also have a creator that is above human capacities. This way, he was able to encompass both theology and science into one. By doing so, he assured that very religious people wouldn’t negate his claims completely. By saying that God had a hand in evolution, he allowed people apart from scientists to actually assess his theory. Another example of incorporating religion with science, was when he personified nature with the pronoun “she” and added verbs to it to give it life. In doing so, he alludes to the sense of there being a Mother Nature, or in other words, a kind of spirit that drove things to follow a certain path, rather than men themselves.
Some questions I have would be: How different would the scientific impact have been during Darwin’s time period have been, if religion didn’t play such a big role in the way people viewed life? Would there have been more contributions to expanding Darwin’s theory, allowing for a more deeper knowledge of the theory today?

Maggie Marroquin

In Book II we see the revealing of the true nature of Lydgate and Rosamond’s relationship. As Minnis briefly touched on in her commercial, Lydgate was captured by Rosemond’s beauty and failed to see her for who she really is. In Chapter 16, Elliot writes, “Poor Lydgate! or shall I say, Poor Rosamond! Each lived in a world of which the other knew nothing.” I believe that Elliot is possibly trying to point out the reason why relationships don’t work out. In other words, both partners walk into the marriages without knowing the other person and that in itself is a set up for catastrophe.

Evelyn Cifuentes

After watching Ms. Minnis video I was able to have a better perspective on how some of the main points in book 2 were about money and having an “open life” which everyone had something to say. For example, in book 1 Mrs. Cadawaller found out about Dorothea decision about marrying Mr. Casaubon, which she wasn’t okay with because she planned on setting her up with Sir James, but had failed. Also how Sir James wanted to interfere with her engagement because he didn’t understand why she wanted to marry an older man instead of him and how he considered Mr. Casaubon a “mummy”.

Luciana Guerra

Thinking about having a small community and everyone having to know each other can be both negative and positive. For example that means that they all have connections and that they can all help each other out but if you do something wrong or out of the norm you aren’t treated the same. Also if you stay in a small community you never get to explore what is out there. LIke Ms. Julie Minnis said there is a lot of gossip because everyone knows your business, and there is selfishness. In Dorotheas case, she is someone who wants to change and be different but everyone thinks that she is a fool and doesn’t have common sense. I would judge Dorothea because she is doing what she wants to do and what she believes is the best for her. Yes, it isn’t common to marry an older guy but if that is what she wants then she should never be judged because everyone in the community has something that they might not be so proud of but they still have done it. I see Dorothea as a strong person at the beginning because she stood for what she wanted to do.

Yulimar Ramos

In book One Dorothea is trying to explore and identify her own life, while her love for Mr. Casaubon is being tested by everyone. As we follow along to Book 2 things seems to be the same.. To some extent! Dorothea seems to be changing her ways because of Mr. Casaubon as stated in the following “her feelings of desolation was the fault of her own spiritual poverty” Dorothea started off Middlemarch as a strong independent women that was spiritually empowered and as we move along it is clear to see that the light that once was shinning so bright is being set off little by little. Middlemarch citizens are still being nosey about everyone’s business and this is creating a bit of a rush. Everyone is trying to clear their mistakes and have a spotless reputation and will walk miles to achieve what they want. We come across the gap that is being created in society by money. It seems to me that the wealthier you are the faster it is to hide and BUY a new personality

Allan Garcia

The importance of family is a theme that reappears within book two of middlemarch; Friendship can certainly be a powerful bond for example Sir Jame’s friendships with Dorothea and Celia are strong enough not to be broken by Dorothea’s marriage. However, there are many different views within the novel of how family ties obligate people to behave; the Vincys believe that Featherstone owes an inheritance to Fred, as his nephew.

Question: What do people really owe to their family?

Sammyy Suarez

Something that was mention in this great video by Ms.Minnis that I agree with is how money is power. In this book we are shown how money is what defines people in the town of Middlemarch, it’s what people use to manipulate other and put themselves above others. Fred , is a gambler that has lost big amounts of money, he knows that due to his lack of money he is capable of giving himself a bad reputation so he tries that best he can to get rid of this debt he knows will bring him socially down.
A question that Ms.Minnis asked that I would like to answer is: What do you think causes Dorothea to feel alone?
From what i read from the book it is the lack of attention Casaubon gives her. He is so focused on his research, lives in his own world and doesn’t pay much attention to his wife Dorothea. I also believe it is this disappointment of expectations Dorothea had. She believed that Casaubon would help her gain more knowledge, that they would be able to work together and gain knowledge together, but Casaubon didn’t have the same expectations. Therefore Dorothea feels alone, because she doesn’t receive the support she had expected.

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