Little Dorrit and Middlemarch

A comparative analysis of “Little Dorrit” by Charles Dickens and “Middlemarch” by George Eliot.

This paper examines how two novels featuring young ladies as heroines produced around the same time and addressing the same sort of British society can be found in “Little Dorrit” by Charles Dickens and “Middlemarch” by George Eliot. It discusses how the two books show some similarities in spite of their authors having very different literary reputations and interests, including the fact that Dickens is a male, while Eliot, though she took a male name to be a novelist, is not. In particular, it shows how they come to a similar point of view about love and its meaning and about the way their heroines learn about life and develop a mature attitude toward home and family.
“The two books thus have different milieus, for though they are set in about the same time period, one is ore urban and the other more provincial in setting. Together, they give a full picture of British life and society at the time. That society is very isolated, so much so that when the two heroines manage to get out of England and into the world of the Continent, they have similar xenophobic reactions to the different world they see and a similar sense that home is best, though home means something different to each. Both books are concerned with the development of a mature married relationship and with the bumpy road traveled by each young lady on the road to finding that sort of marriage. Marriage in both cases is the end of the search, a common sort of ending for a nineteenth century novel.”