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Adam Bede | Study Guide

George Eliot

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Adam Bede | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 18 June 1799

    Dinah Morris preaches a sermon of redemption for sinners and hellfire for the hard hearted.

    Book 1, Chapter 1
  • 18 June 1799

    Dinah tells Seth Bede she cannot marry him and give up her vocation as a preacher.

    Book 1, Chapter 3
  • 19 June 1799

    Thias Bede dies, freeing his sons to become more prosperous.

    Book 1, Chapter 4
  • June 1799

    Arthur Donnithorne flirts with Hetty Sorrel and begins seeing her in secret at the Hermitage.

    Book 1, Chapter 7
  • 18 August 1799

    Adam Bede sees Arthur Donnithorne kiss Hetty Sorrel, whom Adam loves, in the Grove and fights him.

    Book 4, Chapter 27
  • 21 August 1799

    Adam Bede delivers a letter to Hetty Sorrel from Arthur Donnithorne saying he will never marry her.

    Book 4, Chapter 30
  • 2 November 1799

    Hetty Sorrel, disappointed in love, and Adam Bede become engaged.

    Book 4, Chapter 34
  • Mid-February 1800

    On the pretext of visiting Dinah Morris, Hetty Sorrel, now pregnant, runs off to find Arthur Donnithorne in Windsor.

    Book 4, Chapter 35
  • 28 February 1800

    Adam Bede sets out to bring Hetty Sorrel back from Snowfield.

    Book 5, Chapter 38
  • 28 February 1800

    Hetty Sorrel is taken in by a widow and gives birth to her baby.

    Book 5, Chapter 43
  • 2 March 1800

    Alone and frightened, Hetty Sorrel abandons her baby in a pile of underbrush.

    Book 5, Chapter 43
  • A few days later

    Mr. Irwine informs Adam Bede of Hetty Sorrel's arrest for child murder.

    Book 5, Chapter 39
  • A week later on Friday

    Refusing to confess, Hetty Sorrel is found guilty and sentenced to hang.

    Book 5, Chapter 43
  • The same day

    Dinah Morris comes to Hetty Sorrel in jail and persuades her to confess and repent.

    Book 5, Chapter 45
  • Monday

    Arthur Donnithorne saves Hetty Sorrel from hanging with a reprieve.

    Book 5, Chapter 47
  • The next day

    Arthur Donnithorne commits to an army career, exiling himself from Hayslope.

    Book 5, Chapter 48
  • October 1801

    Realizing they love each other, Dinah Morris tells Adam Bede it is God's will they marry.

    Book 6, Chapter 54
  • November 1801

    A holiday is declared as Adam Bede and Dinah Morris marry.

    Book 6, Chapter 55
  • First half of 1807

    The Bedes learn Hetty Sorrel has died shortly before she is to return home.

  • June 1807

    Arthur Donnithorne returns to Hayslope and is accepted back into the community.


Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Book 1, Chapters 1–3 Comparing himself to Egyptian diviners who used ink as a sort of creative mirror, the narrator promises to use the ink... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 4–6 "Patient and complaining, self-renouncing and exacting," brooding and easily moved to tears, as she is described, Lisb... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 7–9 Captain Donnithorne wishes to look at the dairy because he wants to see the dairymaid, Hetty Sorrel, a 17-year-old of ... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 10–12 Adam is not present when Dinah comes to comfort Lisbeth, now grieving deeply for her husband, whose sudden death seems... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 13–16 When she sets off for home after her lace-mending lesson, Hetty expects to run into Captain Donnithorne in the Grove. ... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 17–19 In Chapter 17, addressed to the reader, the narrator digresses sharply from the story to defend the goodness of the cl... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 20–21 Lisbeth indirectly criticizes Adam for courting Hetty when she sees him wearing his good clothes on his way to visit a... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 22–24 Captain Arthur Donnithorne's 21st birthday has arrived, about six weeks since the beginning of the story. Everyone in ... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 25–26 The party for Arthur continues with games and the awarding of prizes, with Mrs. Irwine doing the honors. She remarks t... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 27–29 In the third week of August, Adam is heading to the Chase Farm to see about some repairs. To get home faster he takes ... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 30–32 A week after Captain Arthur Donnithorne leaves town, Adam Bede contrives to walk with Hetty Sorrel alone. She knows Ad... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 33–35 Word circulates about Mrs. Poyser's dressing down of the old Squire, and everyone is delighted. Mrs. Irwine says, "I l... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 36–38 The trip by coach to Stoniton is expensive, and Hetty, unaccustomed to travel, has little money with her, having thoug... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 39–41 When Adam Bede arrives in Broxton to confide in Mr. Irwine, Carroll, the butler, tells him a stranger is speaking with... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 42–44 Bartle Massey attends the trial in the morning, reporting to Adam that medical evidence is against Hetty. Mr. Poyser, ... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 45–48 Dinah arrives at the prison on Friday, intending to stay with Hetty through her ordeal. Hetty allows herself to be emb... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 49–52 Chapter 49 begins 18 months later. The Poysers have agreed to stay at the Hall Farm, and they have had Dinah for compa... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 53–Epilogue Adam attends the harvest supper at the Poysers' on Wednesday, but Dinah has already left. The narrator provides a deta... Read More
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