The Mill on the Floss By George Eliot Summary and Analysis Book 2: School-Time: Chapter 5 - Maggie's Second Visit

Summary

Tom sees no reason not to make up this quarrel with Philip "as they had done many others, by behaving as if nothing had happened"; but Philip does not respond. However, when Maggie comes, she is interested in Philip, especially because she "had rather a tenderness for deformed things."

Tom has prepared a surprise for Maggie with his sword. He goes upstairs and then calls her up and appears before her made up with burnt cork and wearing the sword. He tries to look ferocious, but Maggie laughs. To better impress her, Tom draws the sword, but it is too heavy for him. It falls and wounds his foot.

Analysis

Tom has no conception of what might be important to others. Although he has insulted Philip's father, he "saw no reason why they should not make up this quarrel as they had so many others." Maggie is very different. She is open-minded, and "could not help looking with growing interest at the new schoolfellow." Furthermore, she has "a tenderness for deformed things." This is partly because they appreciate her petting, unlike Tom, who does not care that she loves him. This "tenderness for deformed things" colors her relationship with Philip even years later. It is always part of her love for him, and he fears with some reason that it is the only part which matters to her.

Nevertheless, it is a real love: Maggie is the opposite of Mrs. Stelling, for she does have "the power of love."

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After the lawsuit and Tom arrives home from school, what does he find his mother most concerned with?




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