Birth, rank and Class in Middlemarch
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People within the novel have varying ideas of family obligation in the novel, though it is a strong force in Middlemarch society. Mr. Featherstone's relations believe they are entitled to money; Mrs. Bulstrode believes that she must help and advise her family in order to show support. Sir James shows his regard for his family by being very protective and a constant advisor as well. Casaubon dispenses of his obligation through money, and Bulstrode attempts also to do the same. Social position means a great deal in Middlemarch; it means how much respect a person gets, how people treat them, how they are regarded, etc. People of high status are generally treated more delicately than people with little money, like Lydgate and Will Ladislaw. Birth and connections are also important in determining a person's place, and also what benefits they will receive from society.