Outsider on His Way in

Lydgate is a newcomer to Middlemarch, but he quickly becomes an important player within the social group. He is met with many challenges as he starts to develop a role for himself in Middlemarch. His situation is rather unique in that the decisions and choices that he makes as a newcomer will determine his spot within the Middlemarch social group. His childhood as an orphan symbolizes that had never truly belonged anywhere and thus would have to make impressions on people in order to fit into and become a part of a group. He has always been an outsider that must choose his actions carefully in order to become an insider.
As a medical doctor, Lydgate seeks to revolutionize the medical field by establishing tissue as the basic building block of life and outdating old medicine. However, this task is particularly hard to do without “stepping on the toes” of other established doctors in Middlemarch and the medical field. A prime example of this is when Fred Vincy catches a fever, which Mr. Wrench, the family doctor, dismisses as minor. Lydgate comes in and says that it is much more serious and that Fred must be treated right away. He turns the Vincy family away from Mr. Wrench as the family doctor because of the new diagnosis Lydgate provides. This builds an enemy in Mr. Wrench. Lydgate should have been more respectful in order to keep an ally in a fellow doctor. However, he does become the new family doctor of the
Vincy’s.
Bulstrode decides to make Lydgate the superintend of a new hospital. However, a conflict ensues when Bulstrode prefers that the Chaplin of the hospital be Mr. Tyke rather than Mr. Farebrother. Bulstrode has given Lydgate this exciting opportunity but Lydgate becomes friends with Farebrother. After he weighs his options on where to ally himself he chooses to pick Tyke with his vote. Although it seems that he wanted to vote for Farebrother, he uses Farebrother’s gambling problem as a scapegoat not to vote for him. Farebrother understands why he chose to vote the way he did and does not resent him. This was a wise choice by Lydgate not to get a bad side with Bulstrode who financial supporting him through the hospital.
Another situation that arises is Lydgate’s new love interest in Rosamond. He maintains a flirtatious relationship with her but does not intend on marrying her. The relationship starts to draw attention from others that look on mostly with disproval. Selina Plymdale expresses her disproval that Rosamond would opt for Lydgate over her son, Ned. Rosamond and Lydgate eventually become engaged. This is a decision that could cause problems in the community. Selina’s big issue was that Lydgate was an outsider and he was chosen over Ned, a Middlemarch boy. These show the obstacles that Lydgate faces as he enters into the social standing of Middlemarch. As the novel continues I am interested to see if he continues to make bold decisions that stir up the community or if he loses his own agenda to fit in. So far he has been doing both and has made both enemies and allies because of it.

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