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The Mill on the Floss

In: English and Literature

Submitted By zeemasood
Words 1413
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Eliot gives us a lot of very complex characters in the novel, many of whom are not entirely good or bad. Who would you classify as a protagonist, or a hero, and an antagonist, or a villain?
“Tragedy lies…under a lot made suddenly hard to [someone], under the dreariness of a home where the morning brings no promise with it, and where the discontent of worn and disappointed parents weighs on the children like a damp, thick air in which all the functions of life are depressed.” (Barbara Hardy) In The Mill on the Floss, Eliot has illustrated how children of an old-fashioned unit are affected due to the “oppressive narrowness” of the families and society they are a part of. To portray this, Eliot dwells on the relationship of a brother and sister, aided by various other characters, whose reactions to this narrowness varied, as a consequence to which the readers can “discern an understandable and undisfigured nostalgia; a need to explain and justify in concretely imagined terms and the falsifying pressures of a wish-fulfilling reconciliation.” (Barbara Hardy)
The Mill on the Floss, considered an autobiographical work of Eliot, makes one think of Maggie as the ostensible “fated creature”, who could “never go far into anything.” Even though the readers cannot help but sympathize with the “odd little girl”, with eyes that “were full of unsatisfied intelligence and unsatisfied, beseeching affection”, it is Tom who has been misunderstood. Dislike of Tom and excessive indulgence towards Maggie are common responses, however, they are also wrong responses.
Maggie’s life, on the one hand, as depicted throughout the book, was not a happy one. She committed some “irrevocably wrong” deeds and thought that the alienation of love she had to face was the “repentance” of them. Maggie, unlike “other folks’ children” was a “mischief” who in contrast to her cousin Lucy, painfully...

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