38 - and neighborhood gossip Hayslope is not idyllic plenty...

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The first chapter establishes the locale and to a certain extent the atmosphere for the whole novel.  As in most of George Eliot's works, the scene is laid in the English countryside. Hayslope is a quiet  town, isolated from contact with or even knowledge of the great events of the day. It is inhabited  mostly by merchants, illiterate farmers, and workers who spend their whole lives in the area of the  town and who concern themselves with such pragmatic subjects as barns, harvests, the weather, 
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Unformatted text preview: and neighborhood gossip. Hayslope is not idyllic; plenty of rough, crude people live here. Although Eliot tends to sentimentalize rural folk to some extent in her novels, she is careful to remain well within the bounds of probability. She is concerned with writing a realistic novel and builds up her setting as a believable representation of eighteenth-century country life in England....
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