Adam Bede

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Genres: Banned Books
Language: English
Type: Digital

Adam Bede is a novel by George Eliot, published in 1859. Set in rural England in the early 19th century, the novel tells the story of Adam Bede, a young carpenter who falls in love with Hetty Sorrel, a beautiful but flirtatious young woman.

The novel explores themes of love, class, and morality. It is considered to be one of Eliot's most important works, and it continues to be read and studied today.

Plot Summary

Adam Bede is a young carpenter living in the village of Hayslope, in rural England. He is a good and honest man, but he is also shy and lacks confidence.

Hetty Sorrel is a beautiful but flirtatious young woman who lives in the village. She is attracted to Adam's kindness and honesty, but she is also drawn to the attention of other men.

Adam and Hetty begin to fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by Hetty's flirtatious nature and her desire for social advancement.

Hetty becomes pregnant by a wealthy young man, Arthur Donnithorne, who is already engaged to another woman. Arthur convinces Hetty to leave Hayslope and go to Canada, but he does not intend to marry her.

Hetty's betrayal of Adam and the subsequent revelation of her pregnancy devastate Adam. He is ostracized by the villagers and he feels as if he has lost everything.

Hetty is eventually found and arrested for the murder of her illegitimate child. She is sentenced to death, but Adam saves her by writing a letter to the judge confessing his love for her and pleading for her forgiveness.

Hetty is released from prison and she returns to Hayslope, but she is no longer the same person. She is haunted by her past and she is unable to forgive herself for her mistakes.

Adam and Hetty eventually reconcile, but their relationship is forever altered by the events of the past.


Love: The novel explores the complexities of love, including its power, its pitfalls, and its transformative nature.

Class: The novel examines the social and economic divisions between the different classes in rural England.

Morality: The novel poses questions about the nature of good and evil, and the role of forgiveness in human relationships.

Critical Reception

Adam Bede was a critical and commercial success upon its publication. It was praised for its realism, its psychological depth, and its exploration of social and moral issues.

The novel has continued to be praised by critics throughout the years. It is considered to be one of Eliot's most important works, and it is often taught in schools and universities around the world.

Key Concepts

  • Realism: Eliot's novels are known for their realistic depiction of 19th-century English life. She drew on her own experiences and observations to create believable and relatable characters.

  • Psychological depth: Eliot's novels are also known for their exploration of the human psyche. She delves into the minds of her characters, revealing their thoughts, feelings, and motivations.

  • Social and moral issues: Eliot's novels often address social and moral issues, such as class, gender, and religion. She uses her novels to challenge social norms and to explore the complexities of human nature.


  • "The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, deep into the heart of reality. That is what we live for."
  • "It is never too late to be what you might have been."
  • "The greatest thing of all is to know how little one can know."


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