Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 5, Chapter 7

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Book 5, Chapter 7

A Day of Reckoning

  • Ominous chapter title alert.
  • The next day, Mr. Tulliver is back to his old self. He is in a good mood and makes a short speech to the creditors about how he’s an honest man and explains that he triumphed over the evil lawyers.
  • Tom then gets up and makes a great speech about regaining the family honor. It impresses everyone in the room.
  • The narrator drops in a line about how this is the only speech of Tom’s life though, which may not bode well for his future.
  • Mr. Tulliver heads home to tell his wife about how awesome everything was today. But then he spies Mr. Wakem.
  • Mr. Tulliver goes up to him and Mr. Wakem implies that Tulliver doesn’t know how to do his job and that he won’t be making employee of the month at the mill.
  • Mr. Tulliver starts insulting Mr. Wakem and says that he’s paid his debts and that he thinks Wakem is the worst person ever.
  • Wakem thinks Tulliver is drunk and tries to leave, but his horse is agitated and throws him.
  • And then Mr. Tulliver loses it – he sees Wakem on the ground and rushes him and starts beating him. There’s a horsewhip involved. Ouch.
  • Maggie runs up and screams for her dad to stop.
  • She holds onto her dad and Luke comes up to help Mr. Wakem.
  • Wakem gives an expected "you’ll pay for this" speech and rides off to find a doctor, presumably.
  • Mr. Tulliver is about to pass out and his family hustles him home.
  • Tom comes home an hour later with Bob. Tom is a pessimist and feels that something must go wrong since he’s had such an awesome day so far. Tom totally jinxed himself.
  • He hears about what his father did and is depressed once again.
  • The other Tullivers feel that Mr. Tulliver just needs to rest.
  • But that night Mr. Tulliver sends for his kids and Mrs. Tulliver sends for a doctor.
  • Mr. Tulliver is dying. He asks Tom to try to get the mill back from Wakem and to take care of his mother and his sister.
  • Mr. Tulliver is getting weaker. He refuses to forgive Wakem even on his deathbed and his last words are about how confusing the world is.
  • Mr. Tulliver dies a few hours later.
  • Tom and Maggie come together again in their shared grief.

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