Discuss Adam’s education and growth to maturity through a process of suffering; as a demonstrated in George Eliot’s novel Adam Bede
The novel “Adam Bede” is based on its only character named as Adam Bede. This character is very minutely portrayed by George Eliot. He has moral values. He is the person, who can die for honour. He is hardworking person of his area. Although he is preeminent character yet he has also some drawbacks which gives him a tragic vision. He himself is good but his attitude towards sinner is very harsh and rude. He is of the view that when a person identifies sin then how he can commit it. He is a hardworking person and knows that the job, done in a good way, is best reward for a hardworking person. In the start of the novel we realize that he is harsh and arrogant person. His pride is everything for him but with the passage of time and with suffering, he learns and acquire new ways to spend life as well as maturity.
From the very beginning of the novel, when it opens, Adam Bede is working in his shop with his brother and after reaching home he knows that his father has not come home yet. Moreover, his father has to deliver the coffin till morning. He becomes rude and does not eat anything. He goes straight to the shop and works for the coffin box, which his father promised to deliver till morning. It is very much clear that he is too much arrogant even towards small matters of life. He took everything seriously. In simple words, it can be said that he lacks maturity.
As it is cleared that he is an immature character but at the end we find a new Adam Bede. The person who suffers and after the suffering, realizes that the way he deals with the life is not the only way. There are many other ways to complete a task. His behavior totally changes with the way of suppers (learn by doing). Although he was not responsible for Hetty’s sufferings yet he shares her pain. When he found that it was Arthur due to which Hetty suffered, he wanted to punish him but after listening to Mr. Irwin and Bartle Massey he calmed himself. His attitude towards Hetty was harsh when he knows that he kills her child but realizes that it is not the time to overstress it but the time to become part of her pain.
Adam was not only immature but also judgmental but he was mostly wrong in taking decisions. For instance, he chooses Hetty just because of her physical appearance. He could not recognize that she is a Shetty and selfish woman. It was his awareness through suffering that at the end he, forgets his pride, goes before Dinah, find her on the way and get married to her. The person who was arrogant after knowing about the affair between Arthur and Hetty has now different opinion about it. When he knew that his brother likes Dina, he does not proposes to her because of the satisfaction of his brother but when his brother gives up dreaming about Dina, he took the decision to propose her.
In this way George Eliot is very much accurate in depicting the character of Adam Bede. Although he is not a quick learner yet he learns with the passage of time and from his as well as other’s mistakes. His attitude towards sinners changes when he founds Hetty committing crimes. He, at the end realizes that positivity is something, which is necessary to learn for a man. The person, who in the start of the novel was arrogant, rude, unpleasant and negative becomes afresh person and eventually we see him a person with moral values, having a good and positive attitude towards sinners and a person who has gained maturity.
The outcome of the above discussion is that the novel expresses a process, through which the protagonist of the novel gains maturity. Adam Bede in the start is a good person but he is not best. He was neither mature nor he enjoyed any sense of humour but at the end he became a delightful and mature person. Adam’s mental suffering makes him a complete man. The novel begins with an incomplete person but sums up with a complete man, who learns by suffering, sorrows and griefs. It is his distress, pain, suffering, experience and help of Mr. Irwine along with Massey, which help him to gain maturity. His indeterminate love towards Hetty, changes his views about sin, life, sinners and God. To conclude, it can rightly be said that Adam Bede has proved that “Maturity comes with experience not with age”.