The Mill on the FlossThe Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story of the Tulliver siblings, Maggie and Tom, but more so of Maggie. Maggie Tulliver is kind and sensitive, but also deeply passionate and inclined to act impulsively, ending up quite often doing the “wrong” thing (initially, I found some of her actions too extreme but others I could relate to, but as the story moved on, I found myself sympathising with her increasingly)―she is intelligent, out of the ordinary really, and never fits into any mould that society has created. Her father certainly loves her (as do her other family members in their own way) but from others she only faces disapproval―her mother is sorry that Maggie is “dark” (this was surprising since one expects this attitude in a whole other part of the world) and her hair unruly, her relatives disapprove of her recklessness and of not being lady-like or a more well behaved child like her cousin Lucy (angelic but lovable nonetheless) but what hurts her most, through her life is not getting the acceptance and love that she wants from her brother Tom, who she loves quite unconditionally. Tom is in many ways Maggie’s opposite, he is dutiful and hardworking, a little arrogant but also relentless, unforgiving, and a person who thinks only in terms of right and wrong―as is socially acceptable, but never really from his heart as Maggie does. As a result, he is never able to truly understand her nature and give her the love and support that she craves so much. Life tests the Tullivers many many times, and they struggle in their own ways, but Maggie because of her nature suffers most―her struggles are far deeper and more heart-wrenching. Poor Maggie is never able to fit in to the moulds society has created, and though she struggles and suffers, she also falters, and ends up paying a far higher price than she needs to. But she continues to love, to feel for others, and is never bitter, making her a rather extraordinary heroine who one can’t help but love (and in some ways also admire).

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2 thoughts on “Book Review

  1. Great review! It is essentially a study in character contrasts, as you point out. The story is more or less incidental. Must go back to it with an adult perspective. I read it last as an English Literature text in school.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This time around I thought I noticed Maggie’s struggles better and the fact that other than Tom being harsh, he wasn’t actually able to understand her at all which was what caused her a lot of heartbreak.


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