The Mill on the Floss
How we cite our quotes:
He hurried down-stairs and left poor Maggie to that bitter sense of the irrevocable which was almost an everyday experience of her small soul. She could see clearly enough now the thing was done that it was very foolish, and that she should have to hear and think more about her hair than ever [...] (1.7.91)
Maggie often suffers as a child because of her complex personality. She is both highly impulsive and highly prone to obsessing over the past and the decisions that she has (impulsively) made. It’s a definite recipe for suffering.
But poor Tom was only the more cowed and confused by this double novelty, for he had never been used to jokes at all like Mr. Stelling’s, and for the first time in his life he had a painful sense that he was all wrong somehow. (2.1.4)
Tom does get some share of sympathy for the narrator, and Tom definitely suffers, even though it’s easy to blame him for his own problems. Tom’s personality seems to cause a lot of his issues. Here, though, he is young and in a weird place and is feeling much less confident than usual.
Poor Tom! he had just come from being lectured and made to feel his inferiority: the reaction of his strong, self-asserting nature must take place somehow, and here was a case in which he could justly show himself dominant. Maggie’s cheek flushed and her lip quivered with conflicting resentment and affection and a certain awe as well as admiration of Tom’s firmer and more effective character. (3.5.68)
Tom and Maggie often cause one another suffering due to their opposite personalities, as this passage reveals. The two often manage to hurt one another without even meaning to do so.