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Cassandra_Mortmain

The Mill on the Floss

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Is it worth reading on?

I would say so, Cassandra, yes. Mind you, my favourite parts of the book are those early passages of Tom and Maggie's childhood - I think they're beautifully evocative and very sensitively portrayed. After they grow up, though, the feel of the book changes somewhat and events take some interesting turns, which then become poignantly juxtaposed with those childhood days.

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Gosh, yes, definitely. [i don't just say that because I was a put-upon younger sister]. It builds up a strength of feeling through character and place that makes it one of my favouite classic novels.

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I've just started this too! I had taken it away with me as my "If All Else Fails" book, and all else had failed! I'm just past the sisters' argument, and being on the train back from a visit to my own (argumentative) sister, I enjoyed this bit. I didn't get very engrossed, but I just wasn't in a reading mood, with all that lovely scenery outside. I think I will take it slowly, and intersperse something else.

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Stick with it I say. I recently read Eliot's Middlemarch and it took me absolutely ages before I was really suckered in to the story - I suspect this will be the same.

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I agree with David that the best bits are the childhood scenes. Despite having read it about a dozen times for my GCSE exam, these are the bits that I remember most clearly.

 

I'm afraid this is another casualty of those books that will be forever spoiled for me with the over-evaluation that GCSE classes demand.

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Having just started - being about 100 pages in - I have to report that this book has gripped me from the very first page.

 

The writing style seems much freer to me that Middlemarch was (read last year) and there is so much humour. I laughed out loud at the visit of the Aunts and Uncles. Mrs. Pullet's arrival in particular was hilariously described including

 

Mrs. Pullet brushed each doorpost with great nicety, about the latitude of her shoulders (at that period a woman was truly ridiculous to an instructed eye if she did not measure a yard and a half across the shoulders), and having done that sent the muscles of her face in quest of fresh tears as she advanced into the parlour where Mrs. Glegg was seated.

 

 

Really enjoying this one.

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The writing style seems much freer to me that Middlemarch

I think that's true, though I suspect you'll notice a difference as the novel progresses. That freedom in style seems wrapped up with the portrayal of childhood, giving you a wonderful sense that Eliot has become lost as well in the carefree scenes she is portraying, allowing her to suspend her more usual cool intellectualism.

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The writing style seems much freer to me that Middlemarch was (read last year) and there is so much humour.

That's good to hear - while I enjoyed MM, it put me off George Eliot. :D That sounds like a complete contradiction, but I did enjoy MM, I just wasn't overwhelmed by Eliot's style or moralism.

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I loved The Mill on the Floss. After Middlemarch, I wasn't sure about reading another Eliot as I found that so heavy going. But as I said earlier, the first part of this book is so far removed from the MM style that you get into the characters and time and place very quickly.

 

Despite the fact that as you say David, the pace slows in the second half of the book, I still felt that (apart from the moralistic pontificating of Eliot) it still flowed very well. It is in fact a very interesting and readable story.

 

The usual portrayal of men and their assumed inalienable right to be the superior sex in everything is wonderfully written. Whilst Mr. Tulliver is the paramount example, other males, such and Mr. Glegg, are shown in varying degrees of this state.

Seeing Mr. Tulliver's downfall was very satisfying for the reader of course, but to know that his comeuppance was at the price of his family losing everything that gave them security and a home, was sad.

 

 

I am sure I read somewhere here that it was surprising that Maggie became entangled emotionally with Stephen. My reading was that of a young girl who had been so starved of emotional care during her childhood that she was at a loss to manage such a forceful expression of love.

Yes Stephen is shown as a very opinionated and selfish man but I felt Maggie only saw part of the man in her blindness of feeling the emotional pull. For me Maggie was reacting to the purely physical chemistry that emanated between her and Stephen. What ensued was the interesting struggle within Maggie to find the strength of overcome the physical attraction and replace it with the mental fortitude that would give her peace of mind over time

 

 

I found Maggie's mother a very simple and interesting character.

Her distress at losing her personal possessions when the mill was sold was perfectly understandable. What surprised me was the reference her mother made when Maggie returned from York. Maggie remarks that her mother might have been happy at last, back in the mill, if it hadn't been for her and the mother's reply includes 'I must put up wi' my children ... there's nothing else much to be fond on, for my furnitur' went long ago...' And so I ask myself are children possessions too? Or does the mother feel she's lost everything except her children. It intrigued me anyway.

 

 

In fact I have to say I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone as a really good read.

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I just finished this - the first that I've read of Elliot. It was surprising funny in parts. But it was so incredibly portentous from the get-go, that I had a bit of a hard time continuing reading it. It just wasn't something that I was much looking forward to reading because you just knew something bad was going to be happening.

 

It's well portrayed, but for me, the fascination lies within the dilemma that Maggie exemplifies. Is it really worthwhile to forsake happiness in pursuit of the integrity of your moral (often religiously imposed) convictions? Can such people ever be happy? Personally, I am beginning to think the answer to that is no. And in the end, such people simply wonder why they didn't choose happiness while they had the chance.

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I have just started this book having read a number of George Eliot books already this year. I have not read any of the previous comments as I do not wish to spoil anything but will do so at the end. As is usual with George Eliot I have been charmed with both her writing style itself and her wonderful understanding of human nature from page one. I have great hopes that this book will be as much of a joy to read as the previous ones!

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I am now about a third of the way through this book and as I suspcted from the beginning I am loving it. It is very easy to read which is not always the case with writing from this time. Although, as is usually the case with books by this author, it deals with some real issues there is still a certain amount of humour. It is as if the author understands her fellow man very well and although she can see the flaws she understands the reasons for them and can even smile at them.

 

Once again I can see a number of regular themes running through this book many of which I have viewed in other Eliot books. The most obvious of these is the theme of causality and it can be seen that just two events, the asking of Mr Riley what school Tom should be sent to and the falling out between Mr Tulliver and Mrs Glgg, seem to be leading to chain of events.

 

So far I have seen no obvious religous theme which I find surprising as religion has always played a great part in previous books. Aside from the fact that Tom is being tutored by a clergyman and a passing reference to both politics and religion there does not seem to be much mention of it.

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I am now about two thirds of my way through this book and thoroughly loving it. I love Maggie especially but many of the other characters are also becoming very dear to me. As I have said on previous posts, not just concerning this book but also when discussing other books by this author, that George Eliot really was a women ahead of her time. She had an amazing insight into human nature and the way that we we often behave. I love her descriptions of the thought processes of The Dodson sisters especially in this book. I also love the way that other characters, such as Bob with mrs Glegg, handle the sisters. Bob is a character, although having a small part, is a joy to observe. I just love to be able to observe the way in which his mind works, his simple but sound logic and his understanding of others.

 

I stated in my last post that many obvious themes such as that of causality where one event leads to a chain are also appearing in this book but that I was surprised that little mention of religion had been made. Now that Maggie is turning into a young women and finding life difficult she seems to be finding a religion of her own following the gift to her of a book written by a monk many centuries ago. In many ways a form of religion seems to be playing it's part in for forming of the character of the adult Maggie. Àgain I am finding it a real joy to watch the struggle that Maggie often seems to have with her personality, often trying to surpress it to enable her to continue with her self imposed "religion" or beliefs. I have put the word religion in inverted commas as the description is used very losely.

 

As in other Eliot books one of the young male characters, in this case Tom, seems to be emerging as a stronger character following adversity. In virtually all of the books that I have read by Eliot such characters seem to play a part. I feel that Eliot wanted to display the human spirit in all of it's glory, first showing the flaws and then the stregnths. As I have said before Eliot does seem to have loved all aspects of the human personality, the not so good as well as the good.

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I should get this book from the library, I read it years ago and it would be just like never having read it before as none of the characters you mention cp seem at all familiar. Will be good to become reacquainted with them.

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Me again, just checked on Amazon and got it for less than a $. Can't beat that so no trip to the library needed. :)

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Me again, just checked on Amazon and got it for less than a $. Can't beat that so no trip to the library needed. :)

Hope you enjoy it as much as I am Momac. Although I have never read the book before I am sure that I saw a relevision adaptation of the book a number of years ago. The only thing I do seem to remember is the very end but I have no idea if it was true to the book so am still not sure how this story will end. Just the way I like it!!

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Will report back cp once I have finished the book, have a couple of books going at once here.  :(

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Will report back cp once I have finished the book, have a couple of books going at once here.  :(

I will be interested to read your views when you do read it Momac. It will be lovely to have the thoughts of someone who has read it recently as all the comments on virtually all the Goerge Eliot books that I have read this year have been made some years ago.

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Not very far along with this cp but having a smile at how things had to be done in a certain way in the Dodson family - just at the part where Mrs. Tulliver is making preparations for the visit of the Aunts and Uncles. It's a treat to step back into that time and get away for the moment from today's world. Love the writing.

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I finished this book a short while ago and, from what I remember of the television adaptation, the end was pretty much what I expected. Having finished it, as much as I have loved it, I would not say that it was my favourite Eliot book.

 

I now think that I was wrong when I stated earlier that I had viewed little evidence of a religous or moral theme. I now think that the whole story hinges on such a theme and Magies struggle even from early childhood to act as she feels that she sould and not as she would always want to. She is actually a very strong moral person although she never thinks that she is. Much more sinned against than sinning I would say. She is also very kind and loving as can been seen by her friendship with Phillip Wakeham.

 

Once again the plight of women and the fact that they are almost totally controled by men at the time in which the book is written is portrayed very well without being to "in your face". Maggie is manipulated by men during the whole of her life. She is also considered of little importance as she is female and although she is the far brighter of the brother and sister no time or money is spent on her education. She also seems to be starved of love and attention and the fact that she is not like other girls seems to make this worse. Her own personality does not help her here either. She feels everything very deeply just as many other Eliot leading women do.

 

I would probably agree with other readers and say the I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second. However I did love to see the developing of Maggie into the special women which I feel she became. Once again I have loved reading George Eliot and know that this book will be one of the highlights of my reading year. I would highly recommend it to others.

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I'm stalled on this about a third of the way through but I did tell cp I'd finish it and so I will, project for 2016!

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A great novel if you have the time. One of my favourite Eliot novels. Maggie is a delight and even the other Tullivers are sympathetic. Of course the ending is a fix, but that's the way they liked it in those days. Is GE too moralistic, I wonder at times.

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