Study Guide

Daniel Deronda Chapter 32

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Chapter 32

  • Sir Hugo asks Daniel what he thought of Gwendolen at her wedding.  Daniel says he thought better of her this time around.
  • Sir Hugo tells Daniel not to flirt with Gwendolen.
  • Daniel hears from Mrs. Meyrick, who says that Mirah is doing really well and that the whole family loves her. She doesn't mention in her letter that Amy and Mab have gone to the synagogue with Mirah and they don't think that Judaism is where it's at.
  • Amy, Mab, Kate, and Mrs. Meyrick all muse about Mirah and her religion.
  • Daniel, on the other hand, has started to realize that he doesn't know anything about modern Judaism.  He starts to become more interested in learning about the religion and history of the Jewish people.
  • Daniel goes on a little journey to Frankfort. While he's there, he visits a synagogue. 
  • Before going on with the story, the narrator tells us more about Daniel's personality. The big takeaway is that he likes to identify with the "losing causes of the world" (32.24). He's out there to fight for the little guys. He's also interested in the pursuit of knowledge.
  • Daniel enters the synagogue. An old man with a white beard takes notice of Daniel. They make eye contact, but Daniel feels awkward so he looks away.
  • They sit through the service.
  • Later, the old man asks him who he is, and what his mother's maiden name is. Of course, this strikes an uncomfortable note with Daniel, since, you know, he has no idea who his family is and this is an issue that bothers him all the time. He just tells the man that he is an Englishman.
  • Daniel wonders about Mirah. He writes to Mrs. Meyrick to say he's going to visit.
  • Daniel arrives at the Meyrick household to find Mirah looking brand new.  She loves living with the Meyricks.
  • They chat for a while. Mirah says she's worried that she'll run into her father one of these days. She also worries that she hasn't been "a good Jewess."
  • Mirah also talks about her brother and how she's convinced that he's a good person.
  • Then Mirah goes to the piano and sings for them. It would be really sweet if people still did that at random today.
  • Mirah has an awesome voice, and Daniel suggests that she might be able to give lessons.
  • Daniel tells Mirah that he went to the synagogue while he was in Frankfort.  She asks him if it went straight to his heart.  Daniel talks about how Christianity is rooted in Judaism.
  • Mirah tells Daniel that she's always forgetting that he's not Jewish.
  • Mrs. Meyrick makes an insensitive comment about how there will be no more Judaism as Jewish people become more modern and assimilate into society. Mirah gets really upset. Mrs. Meyrick apologizes.
  • Then they talk about how Hans is going to come back for Christmas.

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