We’re two weeks into the Sisters Book Club reading of Middlemarch! According to the schedule, that means we’ve all read through Book IV.
Except for me. I’m still in Book II, and although every week I’m behind I say that I’m confident I’ll be able to catch up by the next check-in, that’s not the case this time. In fact, I’m pretty confident I won’t be to Book VI by next Thursday. I’ll be surprised if I’ve even finished through Book IV. But I won’t let that hold the rest of you back!
Here are two discussion questions from Middlemarch for Book Clubs:
The opening paragraph of Chapter 27 is probably the most famous single passage in Middlemarch. What do you think the parable of the pier glass helps us understand about the novel’s structure? In what other ways does it illuminate the novel’s ideas?
Chapter 42 could be seen as the culmination of the effort begun in Chapter 29 to win our sympathy for Mr. Casaubon — or at least to see things from his point of view. How do you feel about Dorothea’s struggles at the end of the chapter, and about their resolution?
Whenever you get to Books III and IV, jump in with your comments.
And don’t feel restricted by the questions. Comment on whatever jumps out at you from the novel.
For example, I’m going to go ahead and comment about something totally unrelated to these questions or even this portion of the novel. The section I just read in Book II led me to wonder just how much Lydgate deceived himself about his motives for voting the way he did in the hospital chaplaincy issue. He put forth a lot of effort to convince himself he wasn’t voting for Tyke to help his personal and professional advancement, but it seemed to me that he used a pretty small jibe as an excuse to vote the way he did and then told himself he was forced into it. Eliot did a great job showing this dilemma and how Lydgate finally justified his vote.
Just for the record, I’m not behind because I don’t like the book. I actually quite like the book, I just find that I need a sizable chunk of uninterrupted time to enjoy it, and a sizable chunk of uninterrupted time has been an elusive thing the past couple of weeks. This is largely my fault (or perhaps entirely my fault, if you consider that it was my choice to have children). Maybe I can schedule in a reading binge for next weekend…
Whether I do or not, I’ll be back here next Thursday with a check-in for Books V and VI.
What do you think of Middlemarch so far (however far into the novel “so far” is for you)?
EDIT: When I first posted this, I was in such a hurry I forgot links. I have since updated it with links to “Middlemarch for Book Clubs.”