Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 3, Chapter 7

By George Eliot

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Book 3, Chapter 7

How a Hen Takes To Stratagem

  • A few more days pass and Mr. Tulliver gradually begins to get better.
  • Meanwhile the Tulliver’s land and farm animals are all being sold.
  • Mr. Deane is considering having Guest and Co. buy the family mill, but he hesitates since Wakem still owns the mortgage. The Gleggs look at the Mill, but Mr. Glegg doesn’t want to use his money to buy it.
  • Mr. Tulliver is declared bankrupt and Tom’s pride smarts at this blow to the family honor.
  • Tom takes an entry position at Guest and Co. and is basically slaving away for minimum wage.
  • Meanwhile, Mrs. Tulliver is scheming. She decides to go see Mr. Wakem to beg him to not throw them out of their house. She feels that Mr. Wakem will be nice to her since this was all her husband’s fault and since she used to be a Miss Dodson and everybody loves the Dodsons, apparently. The Dodsons love themselves at any rate.
  • So, Mrs. Tulliver goes to see Mr. Wakem, who is really confused by her visit to his office.
  • Mrs. Tulliver rambles on till Mr. Wakem finally cuts her off and tells her to get to the point already.
  • Mrs. Tulliver finally blurts out that she wants Mr. Wakem to let Guest and Co. purchase the mill so that the Tulllivers can stay there.
  • Mr. Wakem didn’t know about the Guest and Co. plans. Uh oh!
  • Mr. Wakem suggests that he buy the mill and let Mr. Tulliver stay on as the manager. Mrs. Tulliver says that’s nice but that her husband hates his guts and probably won’t agree to work for him.
  • Wakem calls Mr. Tulliver some mean names and Mrs. Tulliver gets worried. She tries talking about Mrs. Wakem to calm him down.
  • Mr. Wakem quickly has Mrs. Tulliver thrown out of his office. He then asks his secretary when the mill is being sold and obviously plans to buy it himself, as he is an evil lawyer.
  • But the narrator breaks in now to give us a very lengthy run down of Mr. Wakem’s motives. Wakem isn’t evil per se. He’s just a rich man who often enjoys messing with poorer people for kicks and giggles. Like Dr. Frankenstein, Wakem buys things and takes a little revenge against his neighbors just because he can.
  • Wakem does have some nice qualities though – he was devoted to his late wife and he is good to his son Philip, despite his deformity. But overall he’s kind of a punk. And a soon-to-be mill owner.

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