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The Mill on the Floss | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Spring 1829

    Tom returns from the academy and brings Maggie a fishing line.

    Book 1, Chapter 5
  • Easter week 1829

    The Dodsons are invited for dinner; Mrs. Glegg quarrels with Mr. Tulliver.

    Book 1, Chapter 7
  • The next day

    Maggie pushes Lucy into the mud.

    Book 1, Chapter 10
  • A few hours later

    Maggie runs away to join the gypsies.

    Book 1, Chapter 11
  • Spring 1830

    Maggie meets Philip Wakem at King's Lorton and spends time with him in Tom's sickroom.

    Book 2, Chapter 6
  • November 1832

    Tom leaves school after Mr. Tulliver loses the lawsuit and is bankrupted.

    Book 2, Chapter 7
  • January 1833

    Mr. Tulliver recovers and agrees to tenant the mill; he curses Mr. Wakem in the Bible.

    Book 3, Chapter 9
  • 1833

    Maggie reads An Imitation of Christ and embarks on the path of renunciation.

    Book 4, Chapter 3
  • June 1836

    Maggie and Philip meet at the Red Deeps for the first time.

    Book 5, Chapter 1
  • April 1837

    Tom uncovers Maggie's visits with Philip and demands she renounce him.

    Book 5, Chapter 5
  • Three weeks later

    Tom pays off the Tullivers' debt; Mr. Tulliver whips Mr. Wakem and then dies.

    Book 5, Chapter 7
  • May 1839

    Maggie returns to town after two years and meets Lucy's beau, Stephen Guest, at the Deanes' home.

    Book 6, Chapter 2
  • June 1839

    Stephen declares his love for Maggie, and she refuses him rather than hurt Lucy and Philip.

    Book 6, Chapter 11
  • A week later

    Mr. Deane purchases the mill from Mr. Wakem; Tom will manage it for Guest & Co. and work off the debt.

    Book 6, Chapter 12
  • A few days later

    Stephen and Maggie leave St. Ogg's to elope.

    Book 6, Chapter 14
  • Five days later

    Maggie leaves Stephen at Mudport and returns to St. Ogg's unmarried.

    Book 7, Chapter 1
  • Same day

    Tom disowns Maggie, and she moves with her mother to Bob Jakin's lodgings.

    Book 7, Chapter 1
  • August 1839

    Philip writes a letter to Maggie, forgiving her.

    Book 7, Chapter 3
  • August 1839

    Lucy visits and forgives Maggie.

    Book 7, Chapter 4
  • September 1839

    Maggie burns Stephen's letter renewing his proposal, then realizes Bob Jakin's house is flooding.

    Book 7, Chapter 5
  • The same night

    Maggie rows to the mill in Bob's boat to save Tom; they both die in the flood.

    Book 7, Chapter 5
  • Many years later

    Lucy and Stephen marry; Lucy, Stephen, and Philip visit the graves.

    Conclusion

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Book 1, Chapters 1–3 The narrator directly addresses the reader, describing the great Floss River and the black ships, "laden with the fres... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 4–6 Maggie is not allowed to go with her father to pick up Tom from his school because of the rain, and in a fit of pique,... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 7–9 The narrator ironically says the eldest of the Dodson sisters, Jane Glegg, who though still attractive at 50 seemed ug... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 10–13 Tom is angry with Maggie because she knocked over his house of cards in the morning after he said he wished Lucy was h... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 1–3 Tom becomes very unhappy when put under the care of Rev. Walter Stelling at King's Lorton. He first must reconcile him... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 4–7 Although Tom continues to regard Philip with wariness, he accepts his help with Latin and is happy to listen to storie... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 1–3 At first Mr. Tulliver had thought he could save his disastrous situation by selling his property to the mortgage holde... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 4–6 Mr. Glegg and Tom enter Mr. Tulliver's bedroom to look for the £300 promissory note from Mr. Moss. Mr. Tulliver awaken... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 7–9 Mr. Tulliver begins to recover, and Dorlcote Mill is on the market. Mr. Deane is thinking that his firm, Guest &amp; C... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 1–3 Book 4 opens with a rumination on history, using journeys down the Rhone and Rhine rivers, respectively, as metaphors ... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 1–3 On one day late in June, Mr. Wakem calls on Mr. Tulliver with his son Philip, and Maggie runs upstairs to avoid a reun... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 4–7 The narrator fast-forwards to April of the following year: Maggie and Philip have been meeting regularly in the Red De... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 1–3 Book 6 opens two years later in the Deanes' drawing room. Lucy Deane wears mourning for her mother and is entertaining... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 4–6 Maggie visits her brother at Bob Jakin's house where Tom is a lodger. Jakin has since married and bought a house by th... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 7–10 Philip arrives the next day, and Maggie greets him with warmth and tears. Lucy leaves so they can talk privately, and ... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 11–14 Maggie has been visiting her aunt, Mrs. Moss, when Stephen suddenly shows up and asks Maggie to walk on the lane with ... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 1–3 Five days later Maggie shows up at the mill, asking Tom to take her in, but he turns her away. "You have been base—dec... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 4–5 and Conclusion After his exertions on Maggie's behalf, Dr. Kenn must admit that no one will hire her. He is recently widowed, so he h... Read More
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