Study Guide

Joshua Rann in Adam Bede

By George Eliot

Joshua Rann

Joshua Rann isn't a bad guy. He has good manners, owns a respectable shoemaking business, loves going to church, and takes pride in his nice singing voice—yet he's still a nuisance.

He comes into Mr. Irwine's home to tattle on a fellow named Will Maskery, who's "got tongue enough to speak disrespectful about's neebors" (5.27). And he won't take a hint and leave. But "Old Joshway," as Mr. Rann is "irreverently called by his neighbors" (2.20), reveals something important about the way Hayslope is structured.

You'd never mistake Old Joshway for a man of Mr. Irwine's station. (Imagine Mr. Irwine saying "neebors.") However, Joshua is concerned about religious affairs in the community, and speaks out. Though Hayslope isn't a democracy, the little guys—the Old Joshways of this world—still have a voice.