by George Eliot
Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
Everything seems to be neatly bundled up at the end of Daniel Deronda. Daniel has found out that he's Jewish and who his parents are – but that's not the end; there are still about a hundred pages to go after that! The eighth and final book of Daniel Deronda, entitled "Fruit and Seed," shows us the beginning of Daniel's new life as a Jewish man. He ties up all the loose ends and tells everyone that he's Jewish. The romance plotline ends as Daniel and Mirah reveal their love for one another and get married. Mirah's dad reappears and then leaves just as quickly as he came. Mordecai dies.
Still, there's a lot more to the ending than just neatly tying everything up into a little package. In order to understand the ending, we have to think about what might happen to these characters even after we turn the last page. Daniel and Mirah plan to leave England and travel east to learn more about Jewish faith and culture. Daniel hopes to have a part in starting a new Jewish nation (just a reminder, this ambition of starting a Jewish nation is called Zionism).
In a way, the whole novel wasn't just a buildup to the big reveal of Daniel's identity and his marriage to Mirah; it was leading up to the moments that we'll never actually get to see. The ending of the novel has the feeling of the passing of a torch – Daniel learns everything he needs to know through the course of the novel; now he can take on the task that Mordecai has laid out for him, which is to carry out Mordecai's ambitions for him. Hence the name "Fruit and Seed" – fully developed fruit gives off seeds, which then scatter, develop, and turn into fruit themselves. Huh? Let's just say, Daniel has been growing and developing into a man fully aware of his identity, and he's off to go plant those seeds in the minds and hearts of other Jewish people as he goes off to found a new nation in the East.