Maggie Tulliver and her older brother Tom live a happy, sheltered childhood at Durlcote Mill on the River Floss. Though Maggie and Tom are drastically differentâ??he is pragmatic and rational, while she longs for intellectual gains and worldly experiencesâ??they share a strong bond that is strengthened as they are forced to deal with a great family debt, the loss of the mill, and the eventual death of their father. When Tom leaves to earn back the familyâ??s former estate, Maggie finally gains the freedom to experience life beyond the mill. But the relationships she cultivates in her new-found independenceâ??those with men, in particularâ??complicate her connection with her brother and the two find it impossible to go back to their simple life at the mill on the Floss.
Encompassing filial duty, female independence and the rigid morality of early nineteenth century England, The Mill on the Floss partially reflects the scandal created by author George Eliotâ??s relationship with the already married George Henry Lewes. The Mill on the Floss has been adapted for the stage, film, and television, including the 1997 single-episode adaptation of the novel, with Emily Watson and Bernard Hill portraying the characters of Maggie and Mr. Tulliver.
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