The Mill on the Floss By George Eliot Study Help Essay Questions

1. Would the author agree that Maggie dies just as she is reaching a crucial stage in her development?

2. In what ways does the author use irony, and what is her purpose in using it?

3. Compare the decision which Maggie makes in giving up Stephen to Dr. Kenn's decision to send her away. What is the moral basis of each decision? How does one reflect upon the other?

4. What sort of commitments does Maggie feel she has broken when she elopes with Stephen? Would the other characters feel as she does about these commitments? What factors in her early life might lead Maggie to hold these views?

5. Distinguish those characters in the novel who exist functionally — that is, to state a point of view — from those whose existence is an end in itself.

6. Is Maggie idealized because of George Eliot's emotional involvement with her?

7. D. H. Lawrence considered Eliot to be the first novelist to start "putting all the action inside." Apply this to The Mill on the Floss.

8. How does the novel illustrate that character is "not the whole of our destiny?"

9. Contrast Aunt Moss's home life with that of Mrs. Glegg and Mrs. Pullet.

10. Comment on George Eliot's dramatic sense or her descriptive powers or her ability as a philosopher.

11. What purposes does imagery serve in The Mill on the Floss?

12. "It is the habit of my imagination to strive after as full a vision of the medium in which a character moves as of the character itself." Does Eliot succeed in this?

13. It has been said that Eliot's work has "Tolstoyan depth and reality without Tolstoyan range." How well does this apply to The Mill on the Floss?

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