The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton, through vignettes of his life, portrays a character who is hard to like and easy to ridicule. Many people do ridicule as well as slander and despise him, until his suffering shocks them into fellowship and sympathy.
In Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story, Eliot brings forth conflicting value systems revolving around a young woman, Caterina, and two men, Wybrow, who is capable of loving only himself, and Mr. Gilfil, whose love for Caterina is selfless and perceptive.
The story Janet's Repentance is an account of conversion from sinfulness to righteousness achieved through the selfless endeavors of an Evangelical clergyman.
"It is a first-rate novel, and its author takes rank at once among the masters of the art." (London Times)