The Mill on the Floss Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Study Guide

Original title:
The Mill on the Floss

The Mill of the Floss is the family drama novel written by George Eliot. Some of the parts of the story are considered autobiographical, but the plot shows us the relationships that can happen in every rural patriarchal family of that times.

The story starts from the family that lives on the mill and consists of the miller, his wife and two children. From the very beginning we see that the younger girl is abused by her older brother. More so when she befriends the son of the neighboring lawyer, a lifelong rival of the miller. The girl is too kind-hearted and naive to understand what is happening between the adults, but her brother does everything to “protect” her and all their family from such a “disgrace”.

Both of the kids become victims of that rivalry. When the lawyer gets the mill into his property despite all the efforts of the family, the older son has to work incredibly hard to buy the mill back. He is a young man, but all the adult responsibility and old hatred is burdening him now. Because of this hatred he prefers to ruin the life of his sister than to allow her to fall in love with the son of the family enemy.

The story of the family isn’t as tragic and romantic like the tale of Romeo and Juliet, but the plot shows us that all the former kids are tied by their duty: to their friends or family. They all have to repress their feelings or suffer deeply if they dare to follow their hearts. The disapproval of society and the abandonment of the family may leave them absolutely no options in their lives. Only the great disaster can reconcile the family members and finally let them understand each other - and the value of true feelings and family bonds that is much more important than any mill and rivalry in the world.

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