The novel spans a period of 10 to 15 years and details the lives of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, the mill on the floss pdf growing up at Dorlcote Mill on the River Floss at its junction with the more minor River Ripple near the village of St Ogg’s in Lincolnshire, England. Both the river and the village are fictional. Napoleonic Wars but before the Reform Act of 1832.
In chapter 3, the character Mr Riley is described as an “auctioneer and appraiser thirty years ago,” placing the opening events of the novel in approximately 1829, thirty years before the novel’s composition in 1859. Maggie Tulliver is the central character of the book.
The story begins when she is 9 years old, 13 years into her parents’ marriage. Tom and Maggie have a close yet complex bond, which continues throughout the novel. Their relationship is coloured by Maggie’s desire to recapture the unconditional love her father provides before his death. Tom’s pragmatic and reserved nature clashes with Maggie’s idealism and fervor for intellectual gains and experience.
Various family crisis, including bankruptcy, Mr Tulliver’s rancorous relationship with Philip Wakem’s father, which results in the loss of the mill, and Mr Tulliver’s untimely death, serve both to intensify Tom’s and Maggie’s differences and to highlight their love for each other. To help his father repay his debts, Tom leaves school to enter a life of business. He eventually finds a measure of success, restoring the family’s former estate.
Meanwhile, Maggie languishes in the impoverished Tulliver home, her intellectual aptitude wasted in her socially isolated state. She passes through a period of intense spirituality, during which she renounces the world, spurred by Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ.