Adam Bede Themes

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The tortured love affair between Hetty Sorrel and Arthur Donnithorne is emblematic of the separate worlds of British aristocracy and the common folk. During a fishing excursion in the country, the self-absorbed Donnithorne has a lighthearted affair with Hetty that leaves her pregnant. Donnithorne regards his encounter with Hetty as a diversion, not unlike fishing. The fact that he is an immature, spoiled rich kid means that he sees the world and the people in it as a vast playground available to him because of his wealth. It apparently never enters his mind until too late that he is playing with Hetty's heart because her feelings for him are genuine while his are, at best, ambivalent.

This difference in perspective is largely economically-based. In Hetty's world, there is hardly time or resources for trifling relationships because survival is always an issue. The country farm folk from whom...

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This section contains 764 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Adam Bede Study Guide
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