Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Essay

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Winters is a freelance writer. In this essay, Winters considers the conflict between self-realization and acceptance in Eliot's novel.

In Studies in the Novel, June Skye Szirotny commented that, of all Eliot's works, only in The Mill on the Floss does she "explore the conflict between self-realization and acceptance that makes for the ambivalence at the heart of all her fiction—ambivalence that she will set herself to resolve in the rest of her fiction."

This ambivalence runs, like the River Floss, throughout the novel and is the heart of Maggie's conflict with her family and society. It is made worse by the fact that "acceptance" or "love" is rarely given freely by the other characters in the book; it is always conditional. In effect, her family lets Maggie know that "[o]nly if you behave as you're supposed to will we love and accept you."

When...

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This section contains 1,885 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Mill on the Floss Study Guide
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The Mill on the Floss from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.