About the novel 

Mill on the Floss is a novel by George Eliot. Before moving to literary analysis of themes in Mill on the Floss, we need to know few vital points.

This novel is also believe to be an autobiographical story of George Eliot. Eliot has also faced almost same hardships that character of Maggie went through.   

the literary themes of childhood, women’s role, tolerance and ignorance present in this novel by Eliot. 

Literary analysis of themes in Mill on the Floss 


The town in which Maggie and Tom grew up called St. Ogg’s. This town was the place where ignorance was more comfortable. In the overall novel, both, Maggie and Tom are working hard to deal with the narrow minded norms of this town. Tom gained the respectable position within town by learning about trading business through practical ways. as compared to Tom, Maggie was more a bookish person and it makes her an outcast in the town of Ogg’s. 

Ignorance in Tom’s education 

The ignorance aspect is present in the entire novel on many places. for instance, Mr Tulliver is not educated enough, this is why, he was not aware much about his son’s classroom. At another point, Mr Tulliver’s friend, Mr Riley suggested him about a teacher for tutoring Tom. Mr Stelling was not a  good tutor at all rather he had no talent of teaching. He taught subjects like geometry and Latin to Tom, which were of no use to him in his work life.

On the other hand, Mr Tulliver was expecting that Stelling will teach subjects like accounting or bookkeeping to Tom. When he goes to get job from his uncle Mr Deanes in a shipping company, it was revealed that he has no such knowledge of work. Mr Tulliver spent thousands on the education of Tom that turned out to be useless. Mr Tulliver’s ignorance towards learning further was also the reason that Tom’s future suffered. 

Ignorance by Tom’s uncles and aunts 

In the literary analysis of themes in Mill on the Floss, ignorance certainly makes a greater part. Ignorance is present within the St. Ogg’s people so deeply that they do not feel it as something wrong. The Dodson’s are the biggest example who repeatedly disapproves the Tullivers’ children. Apparently, they have very stable norms that they do not want to shake, but actually they were in the ignorance of the world around them. Anyone who does not look like Dodsons is immediately subjected to their criticism. For example, they used to dislike Maggie because she has long hairs and different skin color. One of the main reaosn for this ignorance was that the Dodsons never have been out of St Ogg’s, thus, their knowledge was restricted to the town only.



In the overall novel, the theme of ignorance is openly existing, which proves that how much life was difficult their for someone open minded like Maggie. The Dodsons and Mr Tulliver makes the correct example for such ignorant beings who are unaware of the things happening in the world. 



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