Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Maggie Tulliver, the impetuous and generous young heroine. Regarded as wild and gypsy-like by most of her respectable relatives, the sensitive and imaginative Maggie does not fit into the provincial society in and near St. Ogg’s on the River Floss. She worships her brother Tom, who judges her harshly and thinks her unreliable. She loves Philip Wakem, the crippled son of her father’s worst enemy, but must promise never to see him. Despite her feeling for Philip and her love for her cousin, Lucy Deane, Maggie is strongly attracted to her cousin’s fiancé, Stephen Guest. Stephen persuades her to go boating, but they neglect their destination and are forced to spend the night on a freighter that rescues them. Almost everyone in St. Ogg’s, her brother included, thinks Maggie responsible and regards her as an evil and designing woman. In the final scene, during a flood, Maggie takes a boat to rescue Tom, who is at the family mill. The two are reconciled before the raging river drowns them.
Tom Tulliver, Maggie’s brother. Although never quick at school, Tom assumes financial responsibility for the family when he is only sixteen, after the father has lost his mill and home through a series of lawsuits. Tom pledges to follow his father in having nothing to do with the Wakem family. He works hard and, through his industry and careful investments in partnership with Bob Jakin, pays off his...
(The entire section is 1105 words.)
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Lucy, Maggie's cousin, is her opposite: as fair as Maggie is dark, well-behaved, quiet, and proper where Maggie is boisterous. The Dodson sisters all consider her to be the perfect little girl, but surprisingly, Maggie likes and admires her instead of hating her. She is not stupid, but neither is she notably intelligent. However, she is kindhearted, innocent, and sweet, never seeing evil in anyone. Even when Maggie and Stephen are obviously interested in each other, Lucy trusts that they are merely friends.
Mr. Deane is a shrewd businessman, who is proud of himself and scornful of frivolous learning, such as the Latin and geometry Tom studies; he believes in the value of hard work and useful skills such as bookkeeping. He began as a lowly worker and rose to his present position as a new partner in the firm of Guest and Company. He gives Tom a warehouse job and lends him money, which allows Tom to invest in a scheme that makes enough money for him to buy back the mill.
Mrs. Deane is the third Dodson sister; she values propriety and appearances. Her character is not well defined, but she is respected by all because her husband, Mr. Deane, is a wealthy businessman. At first, her sisters thought she was marrying beneath her, but time has shown her to have been the most successful, at least in terms of marital prosperity.
Mr. Glegg is a retired...
(The entire section is 2069 words.)