Book IV: Three Love Problems (Chapters XXXVIII to XLII) and Book V: The Dead Hand
I was not particularly enthralled with these sections. I didn’t make any annotations in the second part of Book IV. Book V was slightly better. But honestly, Eliot just goes on for far too long about the small town politics in Middlemarch. I do not care. That’s not what I picked up the book for, and I find it hard to believe anyone else does either. I’m interested in the stories of the main female characters. That’s what I want to read about.
Dorothea finally sees Casaubon for what he is. Unfortunately, it takes him dying for her to realize. Casaubon becomes jealous of Ladislaw, believing there is something between him and Dorothea. So he writes into his will that Dorothea will lose all her inheritance if she marries Ladislaw after Casaubon dies. Her family is furious because it makes her look bad; meanwhile, Dorothea had never thought about Ladislaw like that until this moment when she realizes she loves him. Honestly, I don’t see why. He’s maybe a slight step up from Fred in terms of decentness.
Mary Garth, my love! There wasn’t nearly enough of her in this portion of the book. But scene between her and Mr. Farebrother, a vicar who is in love with her, is excellent. She admits to her feelings for Fred but sticks to her decision not to marry him unless he becomes a more worthy person. I’m glad that she did, though I still don’t get what she sees in Fred. Mr. Farebrother would be a far better choice, or Mr. Lydgate, who I don’t think is especially compatible with Rosamund.
I actually became incredibly fond of Mr. Farebrother in this section. Honestly, him and Lydgate are the only decent men in the book. And Lydgate is a bit of an idiot in regards to Rosamund. Mr. Farebrother, on the other hand, is smart and respectful of women. His mother and sister are pushing for him to marry Mary Garth, but even though he loves her, he knows she wants to marry Fred. He even agrees to talk to Mary on Fred’s behalf to see if there’s any chance she would agree to marry him! What an absolute sweetheart. I hope things turn out well for him even though he won’t be with Mary. He deserves all the good things.