The Mill on the Floss | Sunday Observer

The Mill on the Floss

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot is set in rural England in the early nineteenth century. The plot of the novel revolves around the turbulent life of the protagonist Maggie Tulliver. It opens with a conversation between Maggie’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Tulliver regarding her elder brother Tom’s education. Mr. Tulliver is keen to educate Tom so that he does not have to work in the mill. But Tom is slow witted and does not like book learning. He prefers to learn through practical knowledge and experience. Maggie on the other hand, loves books and has an inclination for the arts, literature and music and needs to be intellectually stimulated.

The author portrays Maggie as an unconventional woman with dark hair and dark eyes and she is compared with her cousin Lucy Deane who is a conventional woman with blonde hair and light skin.

The conflict in the novel arises because Maggie does not conform to the stereotype of a conventional woman in the early nineteenth century. She displays an intellectual ability which is looked down upon instead of being admired. Maggie is an intelligent, unconventional woman who is unfortunately trapped in a society that is governed by strict conventions and norms. Maggie can be perceived as a modern woman whose tragedy results from her being born in the wrong era.

Reviewed by Hannah George

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