Adam Bede: Chapter 14

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Summary of Chapter 14: The Return Home

 

Seth and Dinah leave the Bede cottage for the Hall Farm, so Seth can say goodbye to Dinah. Lisbeth talks to Adam about Dinah, saying she wishes she could have her for a daughter-in-law. Lisbeth sees Dinah doesn’t care for Seth, but she suggests that Adam could marry her. Adam defends Seth as worthy of Dinah.

 

Hetty runs into Dinah and Seth as they reach the farmyard gate, and Seth leaves as Hetty approaches. Dinah speaks to Hetty of the Bedes and tries to get her to talk about Adam, but Hetty is too engrossed in thoughts of Arthur. Dinah tries to explain to Hetty how she has visionary experiences about the people around her when she is alone. Her heart is drawn in sympathy to certain people, and she promises to keep Hetty in her awareness when she is in Snowfield.

 

Mr. Poyser is glad to see his two nieces return, for they are late, and Mrs. Poyser has been worried. Totty is sick, and she will not go to her cousin Hetty but goes readily to Dinah. The house is shut up and everyone goes to bed.

 

Commentary on Chapter 14

 

The two nieces are again contrasted. Hetty is full of her own secrets, and Dinah is open, sharing the life of others instead of constructing her private world to shut others out. She tries to reach out to Hetty in two ways. First, she tries to create some help for Adam, who is supposed to be Hetty’s suitor, thinking Hetty will talk about him. When that fails, Dinah tries to explain how she has a certain sympathy with people around her, and that she actually feels she shares the fate of those people, praying to God on their behalf. She knows Hetty is one of these. Hetty is not listening and does not understand what Dinah is talking about. It is significant that the child Totty will not go to Hetty’s arms, for Hetty does not like children and does not like having to care for Totty. The child naturally goes to the motherly Dinah.

 

This chapter also shows us a little of the character of Mr. Poyser. He is a mild affectionate man, except in terms of his fellow farmers. He is very critical of people like Luke Britton who runs a slovenly farm. Luke is one of Hetty’s admirers, but Mr. Poyser loudly favors Adam whenever he gets a chance. Hetty, however, is wrapped in her own dreams and thinks of neither Luke nor Adam.

 

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