The Mill on the floss – A classic masterpiece by George Eliot

‘If life had no love in it, what else was there for Maggie?’ – Excerpt from the book

This book ‘The Mill on the floss’ was on my wish list for a long time. Somewhere or other, I never got my time to read this literary masterpiece by Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot was her pen name). In Victorian era, female authors were never given the expected encouragement, scope and success compared to the male writers. Thus, Mary Ann Evans adopted a masculine name for her literary identity. Like Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, George Eliot paints an intense picture of emotions in her maiden novel – The Mill on the floss. Especially the female protagonist Maggie Tulliver is a strong character in the book that overshadows the male protagonist – Tom Tulliver.

The story revolves around a prosperous and wealthy Tulliver Family who own a flourishing mill near the river floss. Mr. and Mrs Tulliver are blessed with two kids – Tom and Maggie. Tom and Maggie are completely contrasted in nature. While Tom is a reserved boy, Maggie is reckless like an untamed mare. Maggie adores and worships her brother so much that sometimes she ends hurting him. The happiness of Tulliver family comes to an end when a cunning lawyer Mr. Wakem usurps all the property of Tulliver by wrong means. Mr. Tulliver even loses his mill to the cunning Wakem. By a strange irony, Philip, the son of Wakem and Maggie fall in love with each other.Though Tom separates Maggie from Philip, he loses the love of his sister. What happens later is a sequence of tragic events that determine the fate of Tulliver Family and robs the happiness of Tulliver Family.

What appealed me in this book was the strong characterization. Maggie Tulliver is the main protagonist around whom the whole story revolves. She is wild, fierce like a gypsy girl who is adored by father but criticized by her mother. On the other hand, Tom is a reserved boy who works hard to clear off the debts incurred on his family.

Author George Eliot has also sketched out a strong character in Mr. Tulliver who imbibes the values of integrity, honesty, morality in his children. ‘The Mill on the floss’ is one novel that every parent should read. The climax of the book is very tragic. Unfortunately, Maggie is deprived of love she always deserved for. After reading the adapted version of ‘The Mill on the floss’, I am keen to read the full length version. I am also looking forward to other writing works of George Eliot – Adam Bede and Silas Marner.

If you enjoyed reading intense emotional novels like ‘Wuthering heights’ , then ‘The Mill on the floss’ is definitely worth the read.


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