Mr. Tulliver probably sums up society best by calling it "puzzling." The society of St. Ogg’s can be very confusing and even contradictory. Though the society here operates on strict rules, it is also prone to some pretty outlandish and harmful assumptions. Society can be also be quite cruel in The Mill on the Floss. Gossip and prejudice and judgmental attitudes seem to dominate. And a society this watchful can be a dangerous place too, where any action can be taken the wrong way. This confusing mess of rules and rumors is also one of the book’s chief antagonists. Society allows and even encourages many characters to behave badly towards others.
Maggie would have been better off if she had gone ahead and married Stephen – her reputation would have been preserved and her family would have better accepted the situation.
The extended Dodson family actually represents the greater society of St. Ogg’s on a micro-scale. Like St. Ogg’s society, the Dodson clan is ruled by strict rules and a large amount of gossip and scandal.