Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 2, Chapter 7

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Book 2, Chapter 7

The Golden Gates are Passed

  • We jump forward in time – Tom is now sixteen and has been studying all the while at Mr. Stelling’s.
  • Tom and Philip never recover their temporary friendship and Maggie rarely sees Philip anymore.
  • Mr. Tulliver is now engaged in his lawsuit with Mr. Privart and Mr. Wakem, and Maggie is sad that this probably means the end of her relationship with Philip.
  • Despite his rather ineffectual education, Tom is now a self-confident young man who is looking forward to finishing school. He is confident that his father’s lawsuit will be settled soon.
  • One day Maggie, now thirteen, shows up unexpectedly.
  • Maggie has awful news: their father has lost his lawsuit and the family is now financially ruined.
  • Tom is horrified and is suddenly thrust into the adult world without warning.
  • To make matters worse, their father is very ill and seems to have lost his mind – he doesn’t recognize anyone and is really out of it.
  • Tom quickly goes to tell Mr. Stelling the news and the two Tulliver siblings head back home.
  • The narrator closes the chapter by lamenting the loss of Tom and Maggie’s childhood innocence and hints that their lives are going to get much worse in the future.

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