Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Hagan discusses what he considers the questionable interpretation of polarity in Mill on the Floss by various critics.

One of the reasons the critics I have been considering offer a questionable interpretation of the novel's tragic central subject is that they narrow the range of George Eliot's outlook and thus create a polarization which does not exist in the novel itself. Each reading ignores the explicit indication of her perspective which she provides near the beginning of Book IV, where, after explaining that she has been depicting the "oppressive narrowness" of Tom's and Maggie's environment in order that the reader may understand "how it has acted on young natures in many generations," she identifies the young natures with whom she is specifically concerned as those "that in the onward tendency of human things have risen above the mental level of the generation before...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 4,658 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
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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.