Middlemarch

by: George Eliot

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 4

But we insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorotheas, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorothea whose story we know.

In her final thoughts at the end of the novel, Eliot shifts from third person to first person plural in order present the moral of the story. The shift to the “we” breaks the rigidity of Dorothea’s story being particular to the fictional world of Middlemarch and expands it to the greater real world. By calling attention to how the acts of common people create cultural norms, Eliot holds everyone who does not question the norms of social life responsible for the sadness of their fellow citizens. By focusing on the trials of Dorothea, Eliot calls particular attention to a woman’s role in marriage. Ending on this thought makes Eliot’s concern with conventional marriage the central theme of the story. This move points to a particularly feminist type of thought in a novel long before feminism was a common ideology.