The Mill on the Floss

by George Eliot

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What is the theme and basic idea of the novel "The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot?

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“The Mill on The Floss,” is the story of Maggie Tulliver, (“who is impetuous, warm, and highly intelligent, but she is also forgetful and impulsive”), and her brother, Tom, (“who is bossy and convinced that he always knows what's good for everyone else, traits he displays in childhood and continues throughout the book”), living in a mill on the Floss River. Their father is a proud man who loves his children but angers easily in other areas, especially those concerning his business. He is easily gets his back up in a huff, and then does not easily forgive the person who angered him.

Maggie wants to be loved and accepted by her brother. Unfortunately, Tom takes her for granted. If he has something go wrong, he will take it out on her. Then he will miss her and pet her again; her world becomes fine again. When Mr. Tulliver's business fails, all his rage is directed at the man he feels is responsible. He then drags Tom and Maggie into his vendetta. Tom sides with his father. Maggie is caught in the storm of family issues.  This book is full of description and far too long to summarize in full here.  Look at the links provided below. The theme is simply a novel about the middle class family in England and the concept of the individual against society. Alan Bellringer has commented, "The two main themes of the novel, growing up and falling in love, lend themselves to amusement, but it is stunted growth and frustrated love that are emphasized."

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