The Mill on the Floss
Compassion and Forgiveness Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
[Tom] was particularly clear and positive on one point, namely that he would punish everybody who deserved it: why, he wouldn’t have minded being punished himself if he deserved it, but then, he never did deserve it. (1.5.64)
This is a clear introduction to Tom, who was really arrogant even as a kid. Tom thinks that he is always right and can administer justice accordingly.
Maggie moreover had rather a tenderness for deformed things; [...] and she was especially fond of petting objects that would think it very delightful to be petted by her. (1.5.2)
Maggie’s compassionate nature and her love of the underdog is linked here to her desire for others to love her. She seems happy to love things that are most likely to love her back – such as a "deformed" creature who might be grateful for her attention.
It had been Philip’s first thought when he heard of the accident - "Will Tulliver be lame? It will be very hard for him if he is" - and Tom’s hitherto unforgiven offences were washed out by that pity. (2.6.8)
Philip’s compassionate nature comes through here. It is interesting that his grudge against Tom is only changed after he has a reason to pity Tom. Compassion often needs a nudge in this book, such as a crisis that can help people put a grudge, or anger, aside.