Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 1, Chapter 1

By George Eliot

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Book 1, Chapter 1

Outside Dorlcote Mill

  • An anonymous narrator describes the Floss to us, which is a river. Good to know it’s not of the dental variety, because this book would be really bizarre then.
  • The narrator points out Dorlcote Mill to us. A mill is basically a factory. Want to learn more about what a mill is? Check out the "What’s Up with the Title?" section.
  • The narrator describes a picturesque, or pretty, nature scene.
  • The narrator emphasizes how noisy the mill and the river are and notes that the sound cuts off the mill from the outside world.
  • A little girl appears on the scene and the narrator watches her while standing on the bridge. The little girl is playing with a dog.
  • Finally, the girls runs off and the narrator comes out of a daydream. The narrator lets us know we’re about to hear about Mr. and Mrs. Tulliver. This dozing narrator is never mentioned again, oddly enough – it’s never made entirely clear if this is Eliot herself or if the narrator is another person entirely. Want to read more about the narrator? Check out the "Narrative Technique" section.

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