The Mill on the Floss
by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss Theme of Home
Home may be where the heart is, but in The Mill on the Floss it's also where the self is. Home isn’t really just a place. And it’s not something sappy like family either. Well, not entirely. Home is an entire network of familiar people, places, objects, and memories that enable a person to really be herself. Both Maggie and her father refuse to leave their homes, after all, saying that they would no longer be themselves if they left. For Maggie especially, home becomes a concept to which she clings, containing her family, her past, and herself.
Questions About Home
- Maggie is almost never seen outside of the St. Ogg’s neighborhood. Do you think this is a significant detail in any way? If so, why?
- Why do you think Maggie refused to live with family after her father’s death and insisted that she needed to earn her own living?
- Maggie is extremely reluctant to leave St. Ogg’s after her failed elopement with Stephen. Do you think Maggie would have actually been happier if she had left and started over some place new, or was Maggie right in her determination to not leave her home?
- Both Maggie and her father feel very strongly about their home and refuse to leave it when they are given the option of moving away. Do you think this is a good attitude to have, or is it better to be willing to change and go to new places?
Chew on This
The Tullivers all develop a very strong sense of home and of the importance of home only after they are threatened with, and later actually lose, their home. Before this loss they take their home for granted.
The Tullivers strong desire to reclaim the Mill and their home is actually misguided, since home is really more than a physical place.