Sandy Bieler, Book V: The Dead Hand

Sandy Bieler

Sandy Bieler has worked on educational policy issues and with foster youth, but now mostly divides her time between Hawaii, Washington DC, and Southern California in a (hopefully better outcome) version of King Lear and his three daughters. She has attended seven Dickens Universes and plans to continue to attend in the future. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where she decided that Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare were pretty much all she’d need on any desert island. And maybe some chocolate.


Adamaris Maldonado

Thanks to Sandy Bieler for her insightful thoughts on Book 5. I think that Lydgate doesn’t really recognize his issues with Middlemarch involving the hospital and with his wife Rosamund. His arrogance and inability to work with the norms & customs already in place make people distrust him. None of the other doctors are willing to work with him because of his refusal to dispense prescriptions for money and maybe even his ties to Bulstrode. Lydgate says, “I have a good opportunity here, for the ends I most care about.” He really can’t see his problems socially with other people and shows his arrogance once again. In his relationship, Rosamund sees Lydgate becoming more unpopular and busy. When talking she said, “I often wish you had not been a medical man.” despite him speaking deeply about a great one. Rosamund is seen holding back in her tone from saying more and Lydgate dismisses her comment once she “agrees”. Lydgate isn’t seeing what is really occurring around him and how it’s affecting his relationship.

Nàthaniel Nevels

Thank you so much Sandy Bieler for a wonderful examination on book five. Literally thirty seconds into the video, I connected with what you were saying. It is very sad when you get to understand and feel what Casaubon goes through. It is unfortunate for him because he believed in Dorothea, but as we see, Casaubon starts to understand who she is. Dorothea is starting to realize who she is and who she is becoming as well. When Ms. Bieler brought up the topic of “The Dead Hand,” I instantly thought about ways I can connect that term with the characters within Middlemarch. When I hear the term “Dead Hand,” I think about that term being relatable to an actual hand being physically hurt or a metaphor for a person who was your right hand man, meaning that person was your best friend or someone close to you. When I think about something being dead, I think of it being no more or something bad. In poker, your hand is only dead when the community cards come out and nothing matches. The people within Middlemarch in this case would be the community cards and the cards that don’t match the community cards would be people who have a tension between each other. For Instance, Dorothea/Casaubon, Fred, and Mr. Farebrother. We see a dead hand within Mr. Farebrother and Fred because of their problems with debt and managing money in the result of gambling. When you owe a significant amount of debt like Fred and Farebrother, you become self aware of your actions which leads you to a dead hand. In other words, you stop gambling. When it comes to Dorothea and Casaubon, their version of a dead hand relate to their relationship problems because Casaubon knew from the beginning he was insecure about himself. Casaubon’s dead hand or insecurities led to the downfall between him and Dorothea but Dorothea to me also has a dead hand because she doesn’t fit the worlds expectations of a wife who isn’t supposed to have her own thoughts. Her relationship with Will Ladislaw to me is the shift of her creating a dead hand inside her relationship with Casaubon. That itself is a dead hand relationship.

Fatima Saravia

Thank You Sandy Bieler for your insights into book five of the Middlemarch novel. Just to touch up on the book title, I agree with your statement on how when a dead hand is imagined it is a dead, cold, disembodied hand. But I also think that it represents a marriage in Middlemarch. This is because a ring is put on a hand, and if there is a dead hand then, there is no function in the marriage. And this pertains to Dorothea and her marriage. It seemed to have not worked out in book four and she has not gotten the attention she has been looking for. Now that Casaubon is sick, and it is an illness that is severe, the marriage is perhaps coming to an end to that “dead hand.” Also, I believe that it is also central on the aspect that deals with Will Ladislaw. This is because Rosamund starts to believe that Ladislaw has something for Dorothea in chapter 43. Because we as readers have witnessed the connection between Dorothea and Ladislaw by assessing their actions, maybe that is another reason why Dorothea’s marriage was not functional.

Jose Juan Martinez Garcia

Thank you Sandy for the very insightful knowledge you have provided for us. A major plot device in book 5 is casaubons codicil. In his new will Casaubon has forbidden Dorothea to marry Will Ladislaw. This is because he is suspicious and jealous as most people would. In response, Mr Brooke and Sir James attempt to hide the truth from Dorothea. This shows us how people make decisions for and or maintain the welfare of others without including them. I also like how casaubon and lydgate are dedicated to their work and ruin their relationships in the process.

Allan Garcia

First I want start off by saying thank you Sandy Bieler for your thoughts on middlemarch by George Eliot. She talks about farebrother and his gambling problem.Also when Dorothea goes talk to Lydgate about Casaubon’s sickness.I liked how Sandy opens up the chapters with a hook or a curious question.”Does anybody care about the hospital itself.”She talks about how their is a lot of characters introduced yet they don’t really talk about them where George Eliot shows signs of pittyness.Casaubon is trying to enslave Dorothea to his will.

Aileen Hernandez

Thank you Sandy Bieler for taking time out of your day to provide us with this thoughtful video and I believe that Rosamond and Lydgate, like Casubon and Dorothea, look for something that is held within each other. Rosamond seeks to live in the aristocratic lifestyle. where every things grand and formal and so she uses Lydgate to achieve her desire. ” I do not think it is a nice profession, dear.” Rosamond says with , I believe, a sad ungrateful tone. As if she was not happy with his status. Then we have Lydgate, who as well treats her as an decoration to his life.however Lydgate receives money that he needs from Rosamond. These two lovers are each others tools. They use eachother to get what they desire that in a way would consider them selfish.

Gabriel Juarez

Thank you Sandy Bieler for your insight on book 5. I agree with your statements on “The Dead Hand” and how this dead hand is grasping to poor Dorothea. In chapter 49 We can see how Casaubon, even though he is dead, is grasping to Dorothea through his will. In his will Casaubon added a codicil that says that Dorothea will lose all her inheritance from Casaubon if she were to marry Will Ladislaw. Again Casaubon doesn’t want to let go of Dorothea and let her remarry, his dead hand is grasping onto her. Because of this cocidil everyone will now think that she wanted to marry Will or that Will wanted to marry her when neither of these are true. We knew from the start that Dorothea only likes Will in a brotherly fashion and in chapter 47 we are reassured that Will has no intention on marrying Dorothea so this cocidil on Casaubon’s will is definitely going to start some drama. I also feel that because of Will’s visit to Mrs. Lydgate’s house while Mr. Lydgate wasn’t there will only make matters worse since Will, similarly, visited Mrs. Casaubon while Mr. Casaubon wasn’t present.

Luis Jimenez

Thank you very much Sandy Bieler for allowing me to rethink a different aspect of literature, which is the title and how it can mean something different or open up the book in Middlemarch. The Dead Hand in Middlemarch can be closely associated with Cassaubon because despite hime being dead, which completes the “dead” part of the title hand can mean having power over or control to me when i think of hand because hand create and finish most actions we do so i believe that dead hand means how cassaubon despite being dead still reigns over Dorothea actions and decisions she takes upon her life after his demise.


Thank you Sandy Beiler for that great commercial. I want to mention the relationship of Rosamund and Lydgate. I believe that Rosamund is in love more with the materialistic things rather than Lydgate himself. She also dislikes Lydgate’s interest in science which affects Lydgate’s feelings about her. I think that Lydgate had hope that she may one day understand his interest in science, but she made it clear that her unsatisfaction for his work was not going to change which made him feel bad about his relationship with her. Although Rosamund’s dislike for science changes Lydgate’s feelings about her, I believe he had more love for her then she had for him. Tying into the analogy that Sandy mentioned about the “dead hand”, I think that Dorothea’s relationship isn’t the only one that is destined to be “dead”. I feel that the “dead hand” can also refer to Lydgate’s relationship. Just how when you play card games and you have this dead hand and you know and understand that nothing good will come out of it, I think Lydgate also was starting to understand that nothing good was coming out of his relationship with Rosamund. Not only could the dead hand relate to his relationship with Rosamund, but also with the people of middle march with their distrust in him. Lydgate was basically playing poker with a dead hand and when it came to the stakes, he was all in.

Yasmine Carrera

Thank you to Ms. Bieler for the wonderful post. What caught my attention the most in this book was the title “The Dead Hand” and so when Ms. Bieler brought it up and expanded on it saying that maybe it has to do with being dealt a ‘bad hand’ was very interesting because Dorothea does seem to get dealt a bad hand when it comes to who she married. I found it very interesting that in this book Dorothea tries to please Casaubon even though he tries to keep her to himself and prevent her from discovering new feelings or ideas. The description of Will Ladislaw as “an Italian with white mice”, I think is the middlemarchers way of classifying him, his diverse family tree has him being too many things all at once. The people of MiddleMarch have trouble living with the idea that one man can be both English and non English at the same time, but what rubbed them the wrong way the most was Will’s claim of “belonging to no class”, they believe in order and structure so to hear that from a guy who already seems a little off really made them suspicious. Overall book 5 brings with it new situations that shake up the town and promise great destruction in relationships.

Yvette Rodriguez

I would like to say thank you to Sandy Bieler for her commercial for Book 5, The Dead Hand. I want to agree with what Sandy had stated about the dead hand reference. I do believe that the “dead hand” is Mr. Caussaubon and he is grasping onto Dorothea. In chapter 48, Cassaubon asks Dorothea that when he passes away, that she shouldn’t disobey his offering, do anything he would disapprove of. This relates back to the dead hand grasping onto Dorothea. The reference also follows Dorothea onto chapter 49, when we find out that even though Cassuabon is dead, he has this control over his wife Dorothea. If she ends up marrying Will, as he thought she would, she would lose everything that was given to her from his will. Therefore it all ties up with the allusion of the dead hand.

Chris Canenguez

Thank you Sandy Bieler for the perspicacious commercial for Middlemarch book 5. I wanted to interpret the “dead hand” as a metaphor for the certain future ruin of Middlemarch. As Bulstrodes past begins to unfold into the middle marchers people begin to distrust him as well as Lydgate for their associations with each other. Dorothea’s and Casaubon’s marriage becoming untrustworthy and ever more growing much more insecure. Casaubon trying to control Dorothea from her interactions with his nephew Will Ladislaw. The social dilemmas and financial issues between middle marchers like Rosamund, Fred, and Featherstone that ultimately lead to the distortion of middlemarch. The class divisions and how that border slowly changes between people. In a sense you may say that everyone’s plays a hand in the future of the middle marchers lives.

Maggie Marroquin

Thank you Sandy for sharing your comprehension of book five with our entire class! I resonate with Sandy’s personal interpretation of the “dead hand” and its firm grasp onto Dorothea. Personally, I believe that this image portrays the idea of Casaubon’s will haunting or “grasping” Dorothea from the grave. Casaubon’s will leaves Dorothea to inherit all of his money and property as long as Dorothea doesn’t marry Will Ladislaw. Wealth is Casaubon’s way of holding onto Dorothea; it’s made to be an impediment that tries prevent her from marrying Will and obtaining true happiness. In her video, Sandy questions the care for the hospital itself and asks whether or not people genuinely care about the services it can provide for the community as a whole. It’s a popular trend in Middlemarch that, many tend to just care about the personal convinces someone or something has to offer instead of benefits that person or object can provide for everyone. In my opinion, that is exactly what is happening with the hospital. Instead of centering on the aids that the hospital can provide for Middlemarchers, people like Bulstrode, focus on the benefits the hospital can bring to their personal agenda. The comparison between Will and “Italians with white mice” coincides with the view society has on Will. Since Will “has no class” and does not conform to social class norms, this term is used as a way to almost degrade him and his worth making him seem like a outsider in Middlemarch.

Victoria Garcia-Lopez

Thank you to Sandy Bieler for book Five’s amazing commercial. I’d like to agree with her about the title “The Dead hand”,it certainly caught my interest. In the commercial, she sees the title going multiple ways and bringing up multiple images, these images are that it is simple a dead decaying hand grasping for something. In the books case the hand is grasping for Dorothea or it’s also bringing up the image of gambling and being dealt a dead hand which also means bad cards in the connection towards Farebrothers gambling. To me the title certainly means those things but I also see it as a bad hand over all. In book five we have Bulstrodes rencounter with Raffles, and we see that Bulstrode has had a shifty past. At a time where in MiddleMarch, politics is important and shady secrets can destroy reputations. Then we have of course Dorothea, who is also being dealt a dead hand with the whole Casaubon’s will and her Will. Which leaves her to either marry Will and not get the money or not marry will. In the end we see that several bad hands have been dealt to several of the characters, and more of their personalities are revealed and will be to each other.

Salvador Villafana

In book 5, I have noticed that majority of the residents in Middlemarch has come to the realization of their perceived perceptions of objects in society. This allows them to realize that what they saw originally is not what they had perceived before-hand, and as Sandy Bieler has said best, in which I thank for her amazing thoughts for book 5, is the interpretation of the “Dead Hand”. I think that throughout of Middlemarch from books 1-4 has been a series of realizations of their perceptions and slowly they had soon discovered that their initial perception in which they had enacted till the events of book 5 has created a “dead hand”. Middlemarch did not foresee their debacle before-hand, until the problem circulated enough that they had seen that it was too late; in order words a “Dead Hand”. I think that the “Dead Hand” can be interpreted as well as the immobilized effect of a problem that has been accumulating itself into a larger fiasco that is harder or even almost impossible to resolute in terms of the position of the major characters in Middlemarch. Similarly, like an actual dead hand, a dead hand will be stiff in that the muscles will be contracted because of a condition called Rigor Mortis. In this case, like Rigor Mortis, Middlemarch is in the immobilization of its problem getting bigger and as the dead hand stiffens :the dead hand now has to wait for it die. Mr. Casuabon is about die and well like a dead hand, I think, Middlemarch and Dorothea especially has to wait for Mr. Casuabon to die in order for the cycle of resolution to take place, I believe. Any who, thank you so much Sandy for this great summary and great thoughts on book 5. Thank you.

Jennifer Huerta Morelos

Thank you Sandy Bieler for your commercial on book five of Middlemarch. I would like to say that your thoughts on the dead hand are very interesting and I believe that the dead hand signifies multiple things. Casaubon and how he won’t let go of Dorothea even after his death can be one of them. Dorothea is going to keep tormenting herself because he never got to tell her the promise he wanted her to keep and she’s trying to look for any kind of clues as to what it might have been. He’s holding on to her even when he is dead. I also believe that the dead hand means that Casaubon and Dorotheas relationship was somewhat dead even before he passed away due to the lack of communication and affection they had towards each over in the end. Ms. Bieler asked about the hospital and if anyone really scared about it and I believe that Lydgate seems to care about it more than others even if his treatments aren’t ones that people are used to.

Liliana Mejia

First I would like to thank Sandy Bieler for taking time out of her day to do our Book 5 commercial, thank you very much! These commercials help and clarify our misunderstandings in the book. I will like to touch on the part where Sandy Bieler asked about who am I suspicious of I would say Will. Why Will? because he likes Dorothea and what better way than to get rid of someone that is in your way. Also because Casaubon doesn’t want him in Middlemarch. His death is probably the reason why its called “Dead Hand” because its that living(married) hand that is stopping Will from getting Dorothea and since he is dead now Will can be able to get over that “dead hand” since the marriage is over and theres no strings that tie Dorothea to Casaubon.

Evelyn Cifuentes

Thank you Sandy Bieler for your wonderful thoughts on book 5. I agree with Sandy about many images popping into her mind like it did to me when reading “The Dead Hand” and also agree how she described the cold disembodied hand as it obviously being dead. Mr. Farebrother hand is causing a gambling problem which is also a good example to explain “The Dead Hand” because once you start to gamble there are time when things aren’t going to turn out well, which leads Mr. Farebrother having a large amount of debt. I also see how the title is used to describe Mr. Casaubon and Dorothea’s relationship because of the uncertainty and insecurity that was happening between them. Mr. Casaubon is trying to control Dorothea’s life because if she ends up marrying Will he won’t let her receive anything from his will, which he was planning on leaving her.

Dayanara Saucedo

Thank you to Sandy Bieler for the great commercial. Usually the titles of the book don’t capture my attention. So when I read it and realized that “The Dead Hand” had a double meaning I wanted to look more into it. I agree when you’ve mentioned that the dead hand can represent Cassaubon grasping onto Dorothea, even though he is literally dead. He seems to be grasping her in his will. He had wrote that she must not get married to Will Ladislaw because she would lose whatever he had left for her in his will. Now I believe this is going to stir up some problems in Middlemarch. We had already known that both Dorothea and Will never had intentions of marrying each other. She wasn’t going to marry Will because she didn’t see him as a husband and Will wasn’t going to marry Dorothea because he saw her more like a sister. They both know that, but not Middlemarch. Now for the double meaning, as mentioned could be a dead hand when playing cards. You talked about Featherstones problem with gambling and how when you have no chance at winning a game you have a dead hand. Now about the “Italian with White Mice”, refers to Will Ladislaw’s family history. In Middlemarch, your family’s background is important. So when people find out that Will is half English and not fully, they start to see him as an outsider. Will doesn’t mind being an “outsider” because he finds it liberating. This just shows how people live in Middlemarch, they only like people who have lived there, and dislike foreigners; also known as xenophobia.

Yulimar Ramos

First of all I would like to thank Sandy Bieler for the very artistic portrayal of unanswered questions in book 5. I would really love to interpret the Dead Hand as a trope for the death of Casaubons and Dorothea’s marriage. As the book progresses into the destruction and disary of the middlemarchers the dead hand foreshadows the death of Love. Casaubons and Dorothea’s marriage slowly crumbles as they let mistrust guide their love into hate and misunderstanding. Rosamund and Ladislaw being to lose understanding of one another as Dorothea slowly comes in between their marriage. Rosamund lets her wants get in the way of what her husband needs. The dead hand represents the death of relationships and characters.

Nancy Hernandez

First of all, I want to thank Sandy Bieler for just a great commercial for book 5. I found it very interesting the title and connection Sandy points out of “The Death Hand”, as a connection between the death hand and the death of Casaubon was made and even the the struggle Dorothea went through in her marriage with Casaubon. Book 5 opens with Dorothea looking for Will to speak with him about Casaubon’s illness but turn into a finding of Will having a private conversation with his soon to be wife Rosamond. Let’s note that this is the first time that these two ladies meet or even see each other. Both Rosamond and Dorothea are about in the same social class but Rosemond is looking to change that as her only interest in marrying Lydgate is to move up the social class as mentioned in Book 4. When Casaubon’s illness worsen he in some type of way is trying to push Dorothea to make him a promise but she struggles with this because she is not sure of this is what she really wants to do. The relationship between Dorothea and Casaubon ends as he dies with leave her open. As the title of the book “The Dead Hand”, Dorothea as well as no hope of possibly in winning.

Angelica Vasquez

A big thank you to Sandy Bieler for such a wonderful zoom in on Book 5! When I first heard “The Dead Hand” my first thought was “the end of a helpful relationship” maybe because usually when someone needs help with something they say “give me a hand”; so I thought of this “helping hand” being dead and I tied this idea to Dorothea and I think in some ways she represents this “helping hand”. For example, Dorothea has always craved knowledge and when she married Mr. Casaubon her thirst for knowledge was quenched (only for so long though) and in Book 5 a little more into their relationship we can see that she’s actually disappointed in her relationship with Mr. Casaubon because she expected him to be like a father figure and she expected him to require of her help which didn’t happen. I think that Mr. Casaubon, by pushing Dorothea away caused this “helping hand” to die which really just means that he caused their marriage to fail. Also like Sandy mentioned, Dorothea is “trying to reconcile Will and Casaubon but Casaubon is instead thinking of ways to enslave her” it further goes to show that Dorothea was always looking for ways to help her husband or make things better for him but Casaubon destroys that by having these thoughts of Dorothea. Lastly,I found it very interesting how Sandy noticed that George Eliot zoomed in on different characters causing the reader to see into the future in the same passage. I’ve noticed George Eliot shifts a lot from character to character but I hadn’t noticed that within the same passages she had fast forward it to the future and then returned back with a smooth transition which Sandy compares to movie directors today. Again, thank you to Sandy Bieler for an amazing commercial on Book 5!

Millie Sanchez

I would like to thank you Sandy for taking your time to create this commercial for us! Throughout the book I have growingly noticed the contrasting gender roles that Elliot is conveying. I find it interesting that while Dorothea is doing all she can to contemplate and please Casaubon, he on the other hand is being quite selfish thinking only about his will and jealousy. Elliot highlights the shifts between the role of a woman like Dorothea’s struggle making the choice to keep promise to her husbands last will. I can see Casaubon as a manipulative figure, trying to control Dorothea’s lifestyle even after his death. Unfortunately, Casaubon doesn’t realize the value of Dorothea and her heart filled intentions to aid her him. It is a twist on how Elliot decides to have two people in marriage whom we would assume would have similar operating minds, but are really bumping heads with opposing perspectives. In addition, the different marriage relations are recurrently compared to the ideal relationship of two supporting, loving and selfless individuals. As for “The Dead Hand” my initial thoughts were images of a grave and a dead corps. I would say this would relate to the growing death of Casaubon and of Middlemarch as a whole because of scandals of the past come back to haunt the people like Bulstrode. Once again, I would like to thank Sandy for creating this thoughtful video for us!

Natalie Montenegro

Thankyou Sandy Bieler for sharing your thoughts with us on Book 5. I agree with your meaning of “The Dead Hand” and I believe that the old self of each person is grabbing onto the new person they are becoming. Everyone is constantly changing in Middlemarch and everyone is discovering different aspects of themselves as well as the people around them. Yet the past always seems to catch up with everyone. Casaubon is trying to hold onto the old Dorothea with whom he married because now, she is becoming a new person. Although he is becoming ill, he tried to grab onto her even after his death by passing on all her money to her but with the requirement that she cannot get together with Will or else the money will be taken away from her. I feel this was very harsh on Dorothea because she is someone who is never completely happy and her life is always run by someone else rather than herself. She deserves to find her true self and now that she has the freedom to do so, she is back to square one because she is not allowed to follow her heart. Even after Casaubon’s death, he still manages to find a way to leave his mark behind. Bulstrode is also someone who keeps a lot of things to himself as well as some aspects of him are unknown. As we get to uncover more of Bustrode, his past will catch onto him and we will be able to see the type of person he really is.

Klarissa Ayon

I would like to start off by saying thank you to Sandy Bieler for the great overview that you have recorded for us. An interesting point that I noticed when listening and looking at the video was when she mentioned “The Dead Hand”, this title brings so much thought into the book because of how the characters take in action in things and how they decide to do things. I feel that this title emphasizes the characters that are in a relationship because if you would like to marry the person of your dreams and you propose but the hand is dead then that means that it has no meaning and that you don’t want to give it your all leaving it at a cold hand but still grasping for something like Dorothea, as Sandy mentions. Dorothea and Casaubon were in a relationship that was similar if not totally like “The Dead Hand” because they did not show a lot of emotion with one another and if did not seem that they where well communicators as a couple making them shift apart little by little.

Oswerd Xol

A big thank you to Sandy Bieler for an amazing overcap on Book 5, also I really enjoyed how well thought out and organized this commercial was. I wanted to touch upon “The Dead Hand” and what the significance behind it is. I think that the dead hand is Casaubon and with him slowly dying I see him still having control over Dorothea and even when he dies that he might still control her to a certain extent. Also, might the dead hand also fit into Lydgate and Rosamond’s marriage? Both of them, unknowingly, are blinding one another in their relationship and controlling each other. I guess in all, the dead hand can represent every wrong doing in Middlemarch: from politics to gambling to blind relationships.

Ricardo Giles

Thanks for taking your time to give us your insight on book 5 Ms. Bieler. I really enjoyed listening to your perspective and ideas on the relation to the title of the book, “The Dead Hand” and to somewhat connect it to a character in the story. I believe that it relates mostly to Dorothea herself. I interpret “the Dead Hand” as a situation given to Dorothea that has no possibility to turn out good for her. Noticing how her husband, Casaubon is now realizing who Dorothea is and the kind of person she is becoming, it seems as if nothing could possibly go to her favor.

Sammyy Suarez

Thank you Ms.Sandy Bieler for this great analysis of book 5 ! I must agree with how the title of “The Dead Hand” creates a dramatic prediction of what the book may be about. In my perspective I believe this so called “Dead Hand” represents Dorothea’s and Casaubon’s relationship. Like Ms. Bieler said in the video this hand presents this image of a cold, disembodied hand, grasping on to something , and that something is Dorothea. When making the connection between the description Ms. Bieler gave us and this relationship I came to the conclusions that “disembodied” is their Dorothea’s and Casaubon’s relationship because it has no type of emotional attachment between them. Therefor, their relationship is just “cold”, but Casaubon is still trying to keep a hold of Dorothea promising to leave all his wealth to Dorothea as long as she doesn’t go with Will. This represent the hand grasping Dorothea. This is why I believe “The Dead Hand” represents this marriage.

Vanessa Zelaya

I’d like to begin by thanking Sandy Bieler for taking her time and sharing her knowledge on book 5. When the question of what we think the meaning of “The Dead Hand” represents, many thoughts rushed throughout my brain. I began to connect “the dead hand” with Casaubon because just like the dead hand is powerless and useless, so is Casaubon with Dorthea. With that I mean Casaubon is not able to control the way Dorthea feels and sees him, which is just like a useless, not living hand. Something else that I want to point out is that, a hand is used to reach out for things, and by the hand being “dead”, it shows that Casauabon can no longer reach out to Dorthea and make her happy which causes many shifts in characters’ feelings in that book. Casaubon’s death is a little shocking to me but then again not much, because I feel Elliot tried to make it clear that all good things come to an end, just like their marriage, and ultimately his life.

Karla Paredes

Thank you Sandy Bieler for our book five commercial. I agree with you that book five may be called “The Dead Hand” because of Casaubon and Dorothea but can’t it be for most of the relationships? For Casaubon and Dorothea it can have both a figurative and literal meaning. Casaubon is dead yet he still wants Dorothea to obey his commands. He could be asking for this because he doesn’t want his name being spoken on bad terms after he is gone. I think “the dead hand” can also apply to Rosamund and Lydgate as a symbolism of how badly their relationship is going. Rosamund is more in love with an ideal marriage than her husband. She wants him to be something he isn’t and that is causing problems. Finally the relationship I think most relates to “the dead hand” is Bullstrode and Will. Bullstrode’s first wife was Will’s grandmother and when she was looking for her daughter who ran away, Bullstrode knew where she was but didn’t help. I feel like this is the dead hand now with Will and Bullstode because although the women are dead they are the reason they are connecting.

Perla Rizo

First I would like to thank you , Sandy Bieler for this amazing commercial on book 5. I loved your point on “the dead hand” and I agree that this can have a various of meanings like for instance I feel like the dead hand can relate to Dorothea and Casaubon. I feel like Casuabon himself can represent the death hand since he dies due to is sickness. Not only because he died but before he died he had power and control in a way , but we see how mad and jealous he gets when it comes to Dorothea. It’s like if he has her in his hands because after he died he still managed to leave something. Casaubon left a codicil to Dorothea without her knowing and this was his fortune. He left it to her but with the condition that she wouldn’t marry Will Ladislaw. It makes me feel that even when he is dead he has control in his hands on Dorothea. But I also believe that Dorotheas happiness is important and she’s the person who will give up this fortune for her happiness.

Valary Campos

Thank you Sandy Bieler for a better understanding of book five of the Middlemarch novel. I would like to first go off on the dead hand. If we were to think of a dead hand we would think distorted, cold, dead, and many more but this can represent so much more as in marriage. Marriage is not always perfect it has its cons and pros towards it but marriage is what is mainly covered in middlemarch. Marriage does not work if one of the pair is not feeling what the “other half” is feeling then the marriage would not work out as well and would have a lot of conflict between both of them. Dorothea marriage has not been worked out as shown in book 4 due to lack of attention , and Casaubon is ill which may mean that her marriage might end. As time goes on through the book Dorothea and Ladislaw had a connection with one another and this might also be a reason on why Dorothea marriage wasn’t working with Casaubon due to having feelings for another person besides her “other half”.

Breana Davidson

Thank you to Ms. Sandy Bieler for the wonderful and insightful blog post, it helped clear things up for me. What I thought was particularly insightful was your interpretation of the “the dead hand.” Just like you said, “the dead hand” has many possibilities as far as its meaning goes, I myself think that that the marriages within Middlemarch are one of the possible meanings for “the black hand.” When I think about it “the black hand” reminds of different card games like poker, it could mean having a bad group of cards, same way how in Middlemarch some of the characters ended up in bad marriages, but just like in the game you have the option to fold or quit. Cassaubon didn’t have to stay with Dorothea if he felt so insecure with himself when he was around her, the same when in the middle of a game of poker you don’t have to lose your money because you have a bad hand you can just fold. I feel that all these characters had the option to fix their situation from the beginning but had to go on this journey in search of self knowledge before finally rectifying the situation.

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