Adam Bede: Chapter 54

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Summary of Chapter 54: The Meeting on the Hill

 

Adam is patient with Dinah’s absence and silence for six weeks; after that, he feels he must go to Snowfield to get her answer. He borrows Jonathan Burge’s horse so he can get there faster. As he travels there, he remembers the sad journey in search of Hetty, but his sorrow and experience have enlarged his perspective and make him appreciate in all humility the love for Dinah. He finds that Dinah is preaching in a small village a few miles off and goes there to wait for her. He chooses a spot on top of a nearby hill where she will pass on the way home so that he may speak to her in private. He waits an hour and then sees her figure winding up the hill. As Adam rises up to greet her, she turns to look at the village she has just left. He calls her name from behind. She does not answer at first, feeling it could be an inward voice, for she believes she is alone. He repeats her name, and she turns around. They move into each other’s arms. She cries as they walk in silence. Finally, she tells Adam that she is living a divided life without him. She believes God wants her to be with him, and he says they will never part.

 

Commentary on Chapter 54

 

This is an idyllic scene, set in nature, with the lovers harmonizing with the countryside as they declare their love. Earthly love and heavenly love are integrated, and it is done very naturally and peacefully. Their union completes the main action of the story by carrying out the healing of the individuals and their community. The narrator shows that both characters have grown spiritually and thus, deserve this happiness. Sorrow can bring “enlarged being” (p. 530). Adam’s love for Dinah springs out of the love for Hetty but is greater and more precious. He feels that Dinah is  “better than I am” and will look up to her for her wisdom (p. 530). With such a love he will be more fearlessly free to be himself, because there is someone else to trust.

 

If Adam looks up to Dinah as a heavenly being, Dinah has to learn to come down to earth. She knows with Adam’s love and strength she will be able to follow God’s will more easily. There is no divided love, only the same love in both hearts.

 

 

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