George Eliot – The Mill on the Floss

The Story of George Eliot
I just started the first chapter of The Mill on the Floss and was delighted with the descriptive writing of the author, George Eliot.
Chapter 1
The narrator stands on a bridge over the Floss next to Dorlcote Mill. The narrator peacefully watches a little girl and her white dog that stand on the bank of the river, watching the mill. The narrator can see the light of a fire burning inside the little girl’s house.
Mary Anne Evans was born in England in 1819. This was a time when women did not typically pursue any sort of professional work; they were expected to be pious daughters, obedient wives, doting mothers, and devoted churchgoers. While there were, of course, exceptions to every rule throughout history, most women would never have dreamed of becoming a professional anything, much less a translator and novelist.
The Mill on the Floss – by George Eliot. To be read in reverse, hence the chronological order. Marie T (cont) 
Click this cover for a(n) eBook sample of The Mill on the Floss.
Chapter II
Mr. Tulliver explains to Mrs. Tulliver his wish to send their young son Tom for further education, so that Tom might have a lucrative career and enough scholarly knowledge to help Mr. Tulliver with confusing legal processes. Stout, blond Mrs. Tulliver submissively does not object but wants to have her sisters to dinner to hear their thoughts on the matter. Mr. Tulliver refuses to ask his sister-in-laws’ advice.

Mrs. Tulliver prattles on about her wish that Tom not be sent to a school too far away so that she can still do his washing. Mr. Tulliver, using analogy about not hiring a waggoner because of only a mole on his face, warns her not to set herself against a perfectly good school if they can only find one farther away. Mrs. Tulliver takes his analogy literally, and Mr. Tulliver tries to explain, but then gives up—”it’s puzzling work, talking is.” Bessy Tulliver continues talking about laundry while Mr. Tulliver resolves to himself to ask Mr. Riley’s advice about a good school. Mr. Tulliver brings up his only doubt over Tom’s education—that Tom is a bit slow, taking after Bessy’s family. Mr. Tulliver laments the fact that his daughter instead of his son takes after his own family in her cleverness.

More than happy to concede Maggie’s likeness to the Tulliver family line, Mrs. Tulliver calls her a “wild thing” and complains of her messiness, absentmindedness, and “brown skin as makes her look like a mulatter.” Mr. Tulliver dismisses his wife’s complaints, citing Maggie’s ability to read “almost as well as the parson.” Mrs. Tulliver wishes Maggie’s dark hair would curl, like that of her pretty cousin Lucy Deane.

At this moment, Maggie enters the room and throws off her bonnet and refuses her mother’s injunctions to work on her patchwork for Mrs. Glegg, whom Maggie doesn’t like. Mr. Tulliver chuckles at her honesty as she leaves the room.

I should be summarising the chapters myself as opposed to using spark notes. It’s not the correct way to digest contents, but I haven’t got into the characters as yet. Besides, this chapter is written in northern English dialect, and not too easy to grasp on first quick reading.


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