The Mill on the Floss
by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss Book 5, Chapter 3 Summary
The Wavering Balance
- Maggie’s internal conflict continues: she doesn’t know if she should keep seeing Philip in secret or not. Though she really wants to see him, she decides that she has to break off contact with him.
- Maggie goes back to the Red Deeps to find Philip and she tells him that they can’t see each other ever again.
- Philip is seriously bummed out but stalls Maggie by saying they should have one last visit together.
- Philip asks Maggie if he can sketch her and she says OK. Philip comments on how he enjoys painting and music and literature but that he flutters about and doesn’t have a serious occupation.
- Maggie thinks having multiple talents is a great but Philip wants a single overriding passion in his life. Maggie blows past this reference to herself and talks about her religious views some more.
- Philip starts up their debate once again and tells Maggie that denying herself is very bad. He tells her that she’s deliberately stupefying herself.
- Maggie is very upset and tells Philip that he would have been an excellent brother. She explains that she always wanted too much of everything, which is why she’s cutting herself off from life now.
- Maggie asks Philip to sing her a song, since she misses music most of all. Philip sings a bit and Maggie is overcome and takes off for home.
- Philip once again begs Maggie to stop torturing herself since it’s unnatural. He asks to be her friend and book/culture provider.
- Maggie is conflicted. Again.
- The narrator butts in to give us some background on Philip. She says that he never got enough love in his childhood. Philip has had a very isolated life which is why he is so desperate to remain friends with Maggie.
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