Chapters 16-20 Summary
Chapter 16: Arthur Donnithorne sets out to see the Reverend Irwine, but meets up with Adam Bede along the way. They stop to talk and Arthur is reminded of his admiration for this plain-spoken, upright carpenter. Arthur says he doubts that Adam is ever tortured with self-doubt, and Adam agrees. Their paths diverge and Arthur bids farewell to Adam. When he gets to the rectory, Reverend Irwine is engaged in eating a big breakfast. They talk philosophically for some time, and Arthur never gets around to raising the question about his relations with Hetty. Finally, Irwine must leave for an appointment and Adam heads home with the realization "he must trust now to his own swimming."
Chapter 17: In this chapter, the author indulges herself in a long-winded ramble about her feelings and perceptions of her characters. She speciously speculates on their motives and quizzes the reader on his/her perceptions....