The Mill on the Floss
How we cite our quotes:
"But, you see, when a man’s got brains himself, there’s no knowing where they’ll run to; an’ a pleasant sort o’ soft woman may go on breeding you stupid lads and ‘cute wneches, till it’s like as if the world was turned topsy-turvy. It’s an uncommon puzzlin’ thing." (1.3.31)
Mr. Tulliver’s thoughts on the genetic lottery aside, these ramblings thoughts actually make an interesting statement on the unpredictable nature of families and children.
He had not a rapid imagination, but the thought of Maggie was very near to him, and he was not long in seeing his relation to his own sister side by side with Tom’s relation to Maggie. Would the little wench ever be poorly off, and Tom rather hard upon her? (1.8.26)
Mr. Tulliver’s sympathetic nature and his strong family loyalty are highlighted here. This realization is significant too, and it becomes the cornerstone of the advice he gives Tom regarding Maggie. Tom takes the advice, but he doesn’t uphold the compassionate spirit of it in regards to Maggie.
"Why do you come, then" she burst out, "talking and interfering with us and scolding us, if you don’t mean to do anything to help my poor mother - your own sister - if you’ve no feeling for her when she’s in trouble, and won’t part with anything though you would never miss it, to save her from pain." (3.3.57)
Maggie scolds her aunts and uncles here for their lack of substantial help after the family goes bankrupt. For Maggie, family should offer compassionate support and understanding, rather than judgment.