HomeLiterature Study GuidesDaniel DerondaVolume 4 Book 8 Chapters 62 64 Summary

Daniel Deronda | Study Guide

George Eliot

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Daniel Deronda | Volume 4, Book 8, Chapters 62–64 : Fruit and Seed | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 62

Leaving a concert one morning, Mirah is accosted by her father, Mr. Lapidoth, who brazenly asks her why she ran away from him. She reminds him she had reason to distrust him. When she walks with him back to the house, she informs him she is living Ezra Mordecai. She implicitly reminds him of his bad behavior with regard to her mother and brother and warns him "to stand before him is like standing before a prophet of God ... falsehoods are no use." Mr. Lapidoth declines to enter but asks for some money, and Mirah gives him her purse with whatever money is in it. She tells her brother about the incident, and he comforts her by saying, "Our lot is the lot of Israel. The grief and the glory are mingled as the smoke and the flame."

Chapter 63

Deronda happily returns to England with "a duteous bond which his experience had been preparing him to accept gladly." Mirah "had taken her place in his soul as a beloved type," which is why Gwendolen inspires in him only "the enthusiasm of self-martyring pity." Yet he feels helpless to woo Mirah because of "associations that forbade wooing," and his relationship with her brother has complicated things. He goes straight to the Cohens' from the London railway station to tell Mordecai the news he is a Jew, and what is more, he comes from a line of Spanish Jews whose sympathies are much in line with Mordecai's. He wants Mordecai to help him sort his grandfather's documents and means to embrace his friend's work. Mordecai then declares "the marriage of [their] souls." He asks Deronda to take his thought as whole cloth, although Deronda can't agree to that and proposes a "blent transmission." With regard to Mirah, Deronda needs some sign she has feelings for him before he can change his role from "benefactor" to lover. The effect of Daniel's news for Mirah is to lessen her jealousy about Gwendolen and to nurture some hope her own feelings might be reciprocated.

Chapter 64

Mrs. Davilow is overjoyed to have her favorite daughter back, "not merely with all the old affection, but with a conscious cherishing of her mother's nearness." When Mr. Gascoigne learns from Sir Hugo how he stands with Grandcourt's will, he feels remorse for not paying closer attention to the gossip about Grandcourt prior to his arrival at Diplow. Sir Hugo reiterates his disgust of Grandcourt's treatment of his widow, and Gascoigne admits he trusted Grandcourt too much and should have made him commit before marriage to a settlement in the event of his death. Gwendolen tells her mother she reserves the right to accept or reject what Grandcourt has left her. On her way back from Genoa, she had asked Sir Hugo to let Deronda know she wished to see him as soon as possible, and he promises to send him a note at his lodgings. Sir Hugo is certain she is much attached to Deronda and would like nothing better than to see them end up together, but he fears "Dan had ... got some scheme or other in his head, which would prove to be dearer to him than the lovely Mrs. Grandcourt."

Analysis

The motif of gambling in its literal sense reenters with the return of Mr. Lapidoth, a sick and inveterate gambler. In him, the author demonstrates the degree to which this vice can drain the addict of common human feeling and a sense of responsibility to friends and loved ones. The compulsion to gamble has the effect of blotting out all other things from consciousness. Mr. Lapidoth approaches his daughter with neither pity nor remorse, but only the enormity of his need for money to feed his habit.

Meanwhile, Deronda is quite happy to tell Mordecai he was right all along, and while he embraces his teacher's vision, he does so only with the caveat that he make it his own and interpret his new calling in the way he sees fit. Deronda cannot be a puppet for any man, and Mordecai's initial insistence that Deronda become nothing more than a mouthpiece reveals this Jewish prophet is far from perfect, despite what his sister may think. On the whole, however, putting his relationship with Mordecai on new footing is easy in comparison to Deronda's dilemma about Mirah. He is now free to pursue her as a Jewish man, but he still holds back until he is certain she reciprocates his feelings.

In Mrs. Davilow's household, Gwendolen now sees all the things she found dull and tiresome before her marriage with new eyes. She is most grateful for her loving mother. For Mrs. Davilow, "it seemed ... her darling was brought back to her not merely with all the old affection, but with a conscious cherishing of her mother's nearness." The hypocrisy of Mr. Gascoigne's patriarchal attitude is obvious when the narrator suddenly reveals he had heard credible gossip about Grandcourt early on, before he even arrived in the neighborhood. Yet he chose to ignore these hints of "former entangling dissipations, and an undue addiction to pleasure" for the sake of seeing his niece married off to the highest bidder. Further, the worst thing about Grandcourt's will, in Gascoigne's view, is that "female morality is likely to suffer from this marked advantage and prominence being given to illegitimate offspring." For the patriarchal male, nothing is more important than controlling female morality, which is why this so-called clergyman has no sympathy for Lydia Glasher, mother of four, or even for his own niece who has suffered at the hands of the amoral and decadent Grandcourt.

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