by George Eliot
Literary Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Drama
Daniel Deronda plumbs the depths of the thoughts, motives, and overall psychology of its characters in a thoughtful, philosophical manner, helping to classify this novel as a work of literary fiction. George Eliot didn't just write a dramatic work of commercial fiction when she penned this novel; she really pushed her readers to think about people in their society in a new way. Daniel Deronda was one of the first English novels to portray Jewish characters in a sensitive, positive way, moving away from stereotypes that we tend to see in other works from The Canterbury Tales to Oliver Twist. Eliot was able to achieve this effect largely through her portrayal of the thoughts and actions of her Jewish characters.
We can also view Daniel Deronda as both a coming-of-age novel and a family drama. So much of the novel is focused around the development of two characters, Daniel and Gwendolen, and the process of maturation that they respectively undergo. So much of what happens to them in this process is centered around the family and the home, particularly regarding their changing roles within these spheres.