Things are about to get juicy. The thing that struck me most was a theme the this book seems to be sharing with Middlemarch. In Middlemarch, Dorothea falls in love with an older man, considered to be her intellectual superior. Dorothea is too intelligent for the women around her, so she is left to be an outcast and somewhat lonely. Ruth seems to have the same problem. She is an intellectual woman who has trouble when it comes to dealing with society. Now she has met an older, intellectually superior man with whom she is falling in love. The theme is of these highly intellectual women who give up their individuality for men. Now, Ruth had already given up part of her individuality when she got caught with the couple in France and began to change her appearance. Instead of focusing on the inside and her intellectual work, the study of Balzac, Ruth becomes consumed with looking good and feeling “in fashion”. She spends a good part of her money on looking better on the outside while digressing from herself on the inside. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Ruth and this married professor turns out. Will it be like Dorothea, and Ruth will realize how unhappy she is? Or, will she find true love with a soon-to-be divorcee?
Then, there is Mrs. Cutler. As much as I would hesitate to relate Mrs. Cutler to Rosamond of Middlemarch, I cannot help but think there is a relation between the two. They are both looking for a way out of an unhappy situation. Where Rosamond was looking for a man who can show her the life she wants, Mrs. Cutler is looking for a man who can give her freedom away from the death pit she has been living in. Both women think they need a man to solve their problems although Mrs. Cutler is a woman of independent means who merely needs to find a position in a different household.