Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 6, Chapter 11

By George Eliot

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Book 6, Chapter 11

In the Lane

  • Maggie has been at her Aunt Moss’s house for a few days.
  • Suddenly, Stephen shows up unexpectedly.
  • Maggie and Stephen go for a walk together.
  • Stephen finally blurts out that he’s in love with Maggie and can’t fight this feeling anymore.
  • Maggie is upset and tells Stephen to be quiet.
  • Stephen begs Maggie to stay with him and admit that she loves him too.
  • Maggie is conflicted.
  • She is worried about Lucy and Philip.
  • Stephen insists that their love triumphs over all and that they’re being dishonest to Lucy and Philip by hiding how they feel about each other.
  • Maggie is swayed by Stephen, but still has doubts
  • Maggie insists that they are each bound to another person and really shouldn’t be together.
  • Stephen reiterates his belief that love conquers all.
  • Maggie gives a climactic speech: she tells Stephen that love isn’t the only thing that matters and that people have duties to their pasts, their families, previous promises and obligations, their selves. She says that she can’t sacrifice the happiness of others for her own and begs Stephen to leave her alone.
  • Stephen is so moved by this noble speech that he kisses her.
  • Maggie runs back to the house and cries. Mrs. Moss tries to comfort her.

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