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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Mill on the Floss

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Given the ending of this novel, it’s not really surprising that water and floods are an important symbol. In fact, water and flood imagery is found throughout the novel, and the river itself...

Setting

Fun fact to kick things off: St. Ogg’s and Dorlcote Mill are actually based on Eliot’s own childhood home in Warwickshire, England. Warwickshire is a county located in the middle of Eng...

Narrator Point of View

For the most part, the narrator is omniscient. The narrator gives us detailed insight into all of the characters and tells us their thoughts and feelings. However, the narrator sometimes switches o...

Genre

That’s a lot of genres, but this is a pretty complex book. First off, family drama. This novel is a careful portrait of the lives of siblings Tom and Maggie Tulliver. Tom and Maggie are at th...

Tone

The narrator here is above all else sympathetic. Characters are frequently referred to as "poor" whoever, and the narrator is very careful to give us detailed insight into all the characters’...

Writing Style

Some of those terms might seem weird. How can a style be "fluid" after all? First off, verbose is a fancy way of saying "wordy," which Eliot definitely is. This book is over five hundred pages long...

What’s Up With the Title?

The title of this book has nothing to do with dentistry. The "Floss" is actually a river. And the "Mill" in question is actually Dorlcote Mill, the family home and business of the Tullivers, conven...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

In their death they were not dividedThis is actually a quote from a biblical passage, 2 Samuel 1:23. A longer version of the quote goes like this: "Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in the...

What’s Up With the Ending?

The ending of this book is pretty infamous, which means it’s famous in a bad way. The two main characters, Tom and Maggie, drown during a flood, which is about as depressing as you can get. T...

Tough-o-Meter

This book is challenging, but don’t let that scare you off. Eliot’s writing style can take a little while to get the hang of. Her sentences are long, she uses some pretty big words and...

Plot Analysis

Beginning of the book until Tom leaves schoolIn these early chapters we are introduced to nearly all the main characters and get detailed sketches of Tom, Maggie, and their often stormy relationshi...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

From the beginning of the book until Tom leaves for schoolDuring this stage we get to know our two main characters, Tom and Maggie. We learn about their respective personalities and how their chara...

Three Act Plot Analysis

From the beginning of the novel until Mr. Tulliver loses his lawsuitThe aftermath of the lawsuit until Mr. Tulliver’s deathFrom Maggie’s introduction to Stephen Guest until the flood an...

Trivia

George Eliot wasn’t just a fiction writer. She also wrote prose pieces and essays and was the editor of the Westminster Review magazine. It was really unusual for a woman to be the editor of...

Steaminess Rating

There’s nothing very explicit in terms of sex here. The first half of the book is focusing on a couple of kids after all. And the first romance we do get (the one between Maggie and Philip) i...

Allusions

Manichaeism (1.3.2)Hotspur in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 (1.3.3, 5.7.1)Daniel Defoe, The History of the Devil (1.3.23)Aesop’s Fables (1.3.27)Jeremy Taylor, ‘Holy Living...
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