Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 1, Chapter 5

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Book 1, Chapter 5

Tom Comes Home

  • Tom finally arrives. We learn that Mrs. Tulliver plays favorites with her kids and that she is much nicer to Tom than she is to Maggie.
  • Tom looks like a typical English kid around the age of twelve or thirteen.
  • Being a nice brother, Tom has brought Maggie a present. He gives her a fishing rod and tells her that he’ll take her fishing with him tomorrow.
  • Tom brags about what an awesome brother he is and Maggie agrees with him.
  • Maggie says Tom is brave like Samson and asks Tom to imagine how he would fight a lion. Tom thinks imagination is stupid and won’t play along with Maggie.
  • Maggie now tries to brace Tom for the news that his rabbits are dead. Tom doesn’t take the news well and he blames Maggie for killing all the rabbits. Between the "Fetish" doll and the rabbits, Maggie may very well be a future serial killer. Just saying.
  • Maggie starts crying and apologizing, but Tom is harsh with her and storms off.
  • Maggie runs off to cry in the attic. Watch out wooden doll!
  • Meanwhile her parents are looking for her, and Tom lies and says he doesn’t know where Maggie is, since he isn’t a tattle-tale.
  • Tom goes to get Maggie and she apologizes some more. Tom decides to forgive her and brings her downstairs for tea.
  • The next day Tom and Maggie go fishing and Maggie catches a fish. The two are very happy and have lots of fun.
  • The narrator busts in on the idyllic scene to warn us of impending doom. But, despite how much Tom and Maggie change in the future, they never lose this happy little childhood memory and their love of home.

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