<![CDATA[‘The Mill on the Floss’ is the story of Tom and Maggie Tulliver growing up in the Dorlcote Mill in the fictional village of St. Ogg’s. It follows the life of these two siblings from childhood to adulthood. Published in 1860 the novel is considered Mary Anne Evan’s (popularly known by her pen-name George Eliot) most autobiographical work. Maggie Tulliver is an intellectual and vivacious young girl who tries to seek approval from her brother Tom at every step of her way. She loves Tom from the depths of her heart and really admires him. Tom on the other hand is quite opposite to Maggie in nature. He is not interested in studies, but is engrossed with all kind of physical activities. He is a practical man of business. Despite this, it is decided that he should be the one who should receive high quality education. One cannot fail to ignore the gender based discrimination that was present in the society of those times. Against these stringent rules of the society stands Maggie, trying to find her way in the world on her own terms. A feminist reading of this novel will leave one with nothing but admiration for her. She leaves no stone unturned in facing the challenges head on in her life but at the same time knows to sacrifice her dreams and aspirations for those whom she loves. The complex relationship between Tom and Maggie is beautifully explored. Perhaps George Eliot is able to explore it with the intensity that it requires because it runs so close to her home. The autobiographical reading of the novel is completely unavoidable. The troubles George Eliot had to face when she married George Henry Lewes and the alienation by her brother Issac is closely resonated in Maggie’s love affairs and her relationship with her brother. The various shades of the relationship between the two siblings is closely analysed and leaves no doubt that the author must have felt these emotions personally to have brilliantly explored it with such ingenuity. As we look into the childhood of Maggie and Tom it brings a sense of nostalgia. The sensitivity with which the stories of these young children are recalled makes us acutely aware of the innocence of that age which gets lost over a period of time. ‘The Mill on the Floss’ is a captivating read and I found it difficult to put it down once I started reading it. The various relationships that are delved into leaves the reader emotionally drained yet makes them yearn for more. It is successful in resonating with the youth even in the 21st century because of its themes of dreams, aspirations and rebellion against the societal norms. Maggie’s need for love and acceptance makes her one of the most likeable characters in the novel as it becomes very easy to resonate with her. Though Tom’s character might seem unfavourable at lot of places, it does not become impossible to empathise with him. It is a book which will leave a mark behind and will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. Image Credits: E-Books Directory Anukriti Mishra ([email protected])]]>
With her heart set in Hogwarts, and body residing in Delhi. Joyee is a Political Science major from Miranda House, who is often found with a cup of 'chai' in her hands and her head in the clouds. A romantic at heart and a realist in life.
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