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Literature Study GuidesThe Mill On The Floss

The Mill on the Floss | Study Guide

George Eliot

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Course Hero. "The Mill on the Floss Study Guide." Course Hero. 3 Nov. 2017. Web. 28 May 2023. <>.

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In text

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Course Hero. "The Mill on the Floss Study Guide." November 3, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Mill on the Floss Study Guide," November 3, 2017, accessed May 28, 2023,


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George Eliot

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

The Mill on the Floss features a third-person omniscient narrator, who periodically lapses into using the first-person singular pronoun I. The narrator continually comments on the action of the story, often using an ironic tone. The narrator's use of verbal irony throughout the novel is sometimes playful and humorous and sometimes biting and bitter. Eliot gives the narrator a male persona, although many critics point out how close the author is to her protagonist, Maggie Tulliver. Thus the narrator at times seems overly sympathetic toward Maggie to the degree that he doesn't see Maggie clearly. The narrator includes the reader in the text by referring to himself and the reader on occasion using the first-person plural pronoun we.


The Mill on the Floss is written primarily in the past tense, although the narrator occasionally lapses into the present tense when referring to himself or addressing the reader.

About the Title

In The Mill on the Floss, the mill of the title, Dorlcote Mill, belongs to the Tulliver family and is responsible for their prosperity until Mr. Tulliver loses it in a prolonged legal battle and brings his family to ruin. The Floss is the river that flows through the town and eventually takes the lives of Maggie and Tom Tulliver when it overflows its banks.


This study guide and infographic for George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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