Format: Trade Paperback
Published: November 13, 2001
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 037575783X
ISBN - 13: 9780375757839
Read from the Book
Chapter 1 Outside Dorlcote Mill A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on between its green banks to the sea, and the loving tide, rushing to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace. On this mighty tide the black ships—laden with the fresh-scented fir-planks, with rounded sacks of oil-bearing seed, or with the dark glitter of coal—are borne along to the town of St. Ogg’s, which shows its aged, fluted red roofs and the broad gables of its wharves between the low wooded hill and the river brink, tinging the water with a soft purple hue under the transient glance of this February sun. Far away on each hand stretch the rich pastures, and the patches of dark earth, made ready for the seed of broad-leaved green crops, or touched already with the tint of the tender-bladed autumn-sown corn. There is a remnant still of the last year’s golden clusters of beehive ricks rising at intervals beyond the hedgerows; and everywhere the hedgerows are studded with trees: the distant ships seem to be lifting their masts and stretching their red-brown sails close among the branches of the spreading ash. Just by the red-roofed town the tributary Ripple flows with a lively current into the Floss. How lovely the little river is, with its dark, changing wavelets! It seems to me like a living companion while I wander along the bank and listen to its low placid voice, as to the voice of one who is deaf and loving. I remember those large dipping willows. I
From the Publisher
One of George Eliot''s best-loved works, The Mill on the
Floss is a brilliant portrait of the bonds of provincial
life as seen through the eyes of the free-spirited Maggie Tulliver,
who is torn between a code of moral responsibility and her hunger
for self-fulfillment. Rebellious by nature, she causes friction
both among the townspeople of St. Ogg''s and in her own family,
particularly with her brother, Tom. Maggie''s passionate nature
makes her a beloved heroine, but it is also her undoing.
The Mill on the Floss is a luminous exploration of
human relationships and of a heroine who critics say closely
resembles Eliot herself.
From the Jacket
One of George Eliot''s best-loved works, The Mill on the Floss is a
brilliant portrait of the bonds of provincial life as seen through
the eyes of the free-spirited Maggie Tulliver, who is torn between
a code of moral responsibility and her hunger for self-fulfillment.
Rebellious by nature, she causes friction both among the
townspeople of St. Ogg''s and in her own family, particularly with
her brother, Tom. Maggie''s passionate nature makes her a beloved
heroine, but it is also her undoing.
The Mill on the Floss is a luminous exploration of human
relationships and of a heroine who critics say closely resembles
About the Author
Margot Livesey, a native of Scotland, is the author of Eva
Moves the Furniture, The Missing World,
and Criminals. She lives in Massachusetts and
"As one comes back to [Eliot''s] books after years of absence they
pour out, even against our expectations, the same store of energy
and heat, so that we want more than anything to idle in the
1. In the first scene in the novel, Maggie is set in opposition
to her surroundings, her family, and the notion of what it means to
be a Victorian woman. Examine the last four pages of the Chapter II
of Book First. How is this juxtaposition highlighted, and through
what means? What role does the narrator's voice play in this
introduction to our heroine?
Mrs. Tulliver is portrayed as a stagnant and passive woman. Examine
her unraveling in Book Third, Chapter II, as her material
possessions are taken away from her. What does this say about her
identity and its relationship to the material things in her life?
How does this relate back to the ideals about women presented in
the beginning of the novel?
The contrast between fantasy and reality is a theme that permeates
the entire novel. Examine the passage in Book Fourth, Chapter I
which contrasts the ruins of castles along the
Rhine with the "angular skeletons of villages on the Rhone." How is
reality portrayed here and in contrast, what is its relationship
with fantasy? Is one an escape from the other or are they mere
opposites? What does this passage suggest about the human need for
fantasy? Is fantasy an escape or is it portrayed as
How does this contrast between reality and fantasy or nostalgia
relate to Maggie? In Chapter III of the same section above, Maggie
laments the lack of fantasy and nostalgia in her own life and her
desire for the "secret of life" (the paragraph that begins with
"Maggie's sense of loneliness…") What answers does
this passage offer to this question? Does Maggie accept them?
Compare Maggie and her dialogues with Philip to the Maggie during
her romance with Stephen. How does the change in her mirror the
turn of events in the novel? How and why do the two men affect her
in such different ways? Is it merely their own personalities
affecting Maggie, or is it something more internal in Maggie that
the two men merely bring out in her?
Examine Maggie's relationship with Lucy. The contrast between the
two women are clear from the beginning of the novel. How does this
contrast shift throughout the novel? How does Maggie's opinion of
Lucy change? How does the world that Maggie inhibits differ from
Representations of "home" vary from chapter to chapter throughout
the book. Compare and contrast the multiple allusions to "home" and
"nurture" and how they affect the various characters. For example,
consider the passage at the end of Chapter III in Book Fifth, where
"desire" is juxtaposed with "home" What does "home" represent for
Maggie and how does her attitude toward it shift throughout the
novel? (Consider the passage towards the end of the novel where
Maggie exclaims "I wish I could make myself a world outside it, as
Examine Maggie's relationship with Tom. What does their
conversations throughout Book Fifth suggest about gender? How does
her relationship with Tom affect Maggie and her outlook?
Consider the ending of the novel. Why do you suppose the last
chapter is titled "Final Rescue" even though the novel ends with
Maggie and Tom's tragic death? What does this suggest about the
novel's purpose? Looking back, how does this ending justify or
explain Maggie's journey throughout the novel?