Discussion Questions: The Mill on the Floss

December 8, 2009 at 12:10 am 1 comment

Hey, everyone! This will be the last set of discussion questions for this month’s Classics Challenge. Remember, you must participate in at least one discussion post in order to qualify for the Penguin Clothbound classics giveaway….and as no one has commented so far, if you do, there’s a good possibility you’ve got yourself a free book. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here. If you know exactly what I’m talking about, let’s continue on to the questions!

George Eliot is one of those rare authors who is widely known to be female, but who is still referred to by her male pseudonym. Do you believe knowing (or not knowing) her true gender affects your reading of this novel? How so? Should it have?

The Mill on the Floss is generally recognized as Eliot’s most autobiographical novel, as she and Maggie Tulliver share similarities in character, appearance, and life events. Does reading this work as autobiographical take away from the story at all, or merely enhance it? Would you prefer to read this book as just a novel, or as a reflection of the author’s own life?

The ending has been described by some critics as a deus ex machina, or a contrived plot point the author used to work her way out of an impossible corner. Other critics, however, believe Eliot intended to end the novel that way all along. Did the ending feel contrived to you?

That’s it! Thanks to those of you who have been following, and I’ll see you Thursday for our last full discussion post.


Entry filed under: LT Classics Challenge. Tags: , .

“We band of brothers” The Clip Show: Part II

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. silverseason  |  December 28, 2009 at 7:46 am

    The ending was not contrived, but foreshadowed throughout the novel, with many references to the river and the flood. Maggie died twice: the first time when she floated down the river with Stephen and let herself drift away from her moral center; the second time when she returned to herself but died trying to save Tom and Lucy.

    I love this book and have read it several times. It is autobiographical in the best sense in being true to Eliot’s feelings about her own brother. After Eliot began living opening with Lewes (they could not marry because Lewes had a wife), her brother refused all contact with her for years, until after Lewes died and she regained “respectability”. The situations are only parallel, not exact, but the emotional force is very real.

    To paraphrase Eliot, if she had done what most people do (slept with Lewes but not lived with him unmarried) she would still have been invited to dinner.

    I did not need to know this to enjoy the book, but it gave it greater impact.


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