Given how depressing most of the characters’ lives are in The Mill on the Floss, it make sense that they look for some sort of amusement and entertainment. And art and culture, be it literature, music, or painting, definitely fit the bill. But art and culture are more than mere entertainment here. Art and culture, music in particular, often represent something profound and meaningful, something that is better than most characters’ everyday existences. Philip and Maggie in particular take solace, or comfort, in culture and the arts, using them as an emotional outlet and as a refuge from the worries and concerns they have in their daily life.
The novel argues for the important role of culture and the arts in people’s lives – without things like literature, art, and music, people lead very limited, unimaginative, and often sad lives.
For Maggie, the arts, particularly music, are closely linked to love and romance.