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The Feminist Polarity Involving Hetty Sorrell and Dinah Morris in George Eliot's Adam Bede

Assignment id 1001525
Discipline Self Improvement
Assignment type Essay
Words 1824
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During Adam Bede the figures of Dinah Morris and Hetty Sorrell are compared and contrasted, albeit occasionally indirectly, both can, at times, represent the Madonna and the harlot. It is not always clear which woman is the harlot and which is the Madonna. Many critics have commented about the exchange in roles and the position of such a woman in pre-Victorian society. Dinah is a pillar of the society, a good hardworking girl who's a charge to the Poyser family, pretty but not amazing by Hetty's criteria. Dinah is unusual in that her vocation goods beyond dairy work, she's a Methodist preacher, that is the only thing frowned upon by several members of the society. On the flip side, Hetty is aesthetically beautiful, but is simple and vain; she viewpoints work as something that destroys her hands. The opinion of much of the village is that she's a burden for her aunt and uncle, with dreams above her station. The story of Adam Bede is a narrative of polarity and opposition; Eliot critic Dorothea Barrett created this announcement: Rather than a simple opposition of Dinah the Madonna versus Hetty that the harlot, we have in 'Adam Bede' an opposition of oppositions, a dialectic in which every term is itself a dialectic, Dinah and Hetty are opposites. This is to state that the polarity can swing back and forth, Hetty is not always a harlot, yet can be considered something of a martyr of the judging pre-Victorian society. Barrett went on to accuse Dinah of behaving with 'malicious intent' in that she almost forces a confession from the already exhausted Hetty: Let us pray, poor sinner: Let's fall on our knees again, and pray to the God of all mercy. It seems that Hetty cannot repent sufficient for Dinah; it is like she needs to understand how.

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