Life and Times of Michael K

Sympathetic Clairvoyance and Human Nature in The Lifted Veil College

George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil explores the nature of human sympathy from the perspective of a supernatural, clairvoyant character. The narrator of the story, Latimer, uses his power of clairvoyance to analyze the sympathies of others, which reveals his own naivete about his own sympathy towards other people.

At the very surface level, Latimer himself is a character that tends to evoke sympathy from his readers just by the very nature of his existence, beginning with the fact that he was a very sickly child and seems to suffer from a sense of childhood trauma. At first, before the appearance of his clairvoyant power, he had a childhood full of naïveté and no true sense of the future, allowing his very young years to be happy and blissful, but soon after, his childhood innocence is taken when he loses his mother: “That unequalled love soon vanished out of my life, and even to my childish consciousness it was as if that life had become more chill. I rode my little white pony with the groom by my side as before, but there were no loving eyes looking at me as I mounted, no glad arms open to me when I came back” (Eliot 5). Undoubtedly the imagery of a young boy missing his mother evokes the most simple form of sympathy from readers....

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