Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 4, Chapter 2

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Book 4, Chapter 2

The Torn Next Is Pierced by the Thorns

  • We meet up with Maggie once again, who is in the middle of a major life crisis.
  • She has a lot of inner turmoil and is torn between her own internal longings and the outward realities that limit her life.
  • Mr. Tulliver is recovered and is back at work as the Mill’s manager. Mr. Wakem is now his boss.
  • Tom is working for Mr. Deane still and is exhausted.
  • Mrs. Tulliver is depressed and bewildered and throws herself into mothering Maggie and Tom since she doesn’t know what else to do.
  • Maggie is most upset by her father’s depression, though.
  • The only thing her father takes a real interest in is counting the money that he keeps in a lock-box. Tom contributes most of his wages to the family fund.
  • The Tullivers have a very strict view of debt and they live on the smallest budge possible in order to save up the money to pay off their debts quickly.
  • Maggie is depressed because both her father and Tom ignore her and the whole household is chronically in a bad mood.
  • The family has very few visitors and each day passes like the one before. It’s a very bleak existence for the Tullivers.

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