George Eliot's novel about social norm versus individualist conflict stems from the British traditions of the time period. The character of Maggie, being raised with the social morals of the day, presents a unique perspective in a woman who tries to be her own self within the strict social norms of the day. Eliot does not begin with Maggie's apparent personality, but with the psychological forces and basics underlying the personality.
Maggie sees the world around her as well as her relationship to her father and brother with an intellectual lens that colors her emotional need for them. "She presents aspects of human nature which the Victorians cannot. She successfully describes how a character develops. Others cut a character into good and bad without explaining the essential uses that make a good character bad and vice versa. Eliot, however, portrays the evidences of this change with acuteness of observation. "