Adam Bede: Chapter 32

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Summary of Chapter 32: Mrs. Poyser ‘Has Her Say Out’

 

The next day Squire Donnithorne  visits the Poysers to make a deal with them. He has a possible tenant for the Chase Farm but the man wants more plough land. If the Poysers would give up some plough land, they could have more dairy land and then Mrs. Poyser could make more money with her dairy. The Poysers see through this plan to cheat them of their land. Next, the squire threatens them that if they want their lease renewed, they should comply with his wishes. This is too much for Mrs. Poyser who tells off the squire on behalf of all the tenants for his cheap and miserly ways, for not keeping up the property, and for taking all the profits for himself. He rides off, and Mr. Poyser, though pleased at his wife’s action, is worried that they will be evicted.

 

Commentary on Chapter 32

 

 This is a comic scene where Mrs. Poyser’s wit is on display. She mentions that it is worth any price to have had her say, for “There’s no pleasure in living if you’re to be corked up for iver” (p. 149). When the squire threatens to evict them, she answers that it won’t be so easy to find another tenant to take their place because “a maggot must be born in the rotten cheese to like it, I reckon” (p. 348). The Poysers worry that they will be evicted on Michaelmas, twelvemonth. This means they have a year from Michael’s Mass on Sept. 29, the date when farming contracts were made. Mrs. Poyser says ironically that there is no telling what could have happened by then. This is another bit of foreshadowing.

 

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