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Remption of the Tulliver Family in “The Mill on the Floss”
In “Mill on the Floss”, George Eliot creates a central family with the heroine, Maggie Tulliver, in both domestic and social framework. This is a story about a Victorian middle-classed family searching their identity and way to happiness. With Eliot’s descriptions, readers can see how the Tullivers struggle in Capitalism society, facing their problems, and being redeemed by the narrator’s arrangement in the ending. To explain the family situation, we will start with its four members. It has four middle-classed family members, formed by father, mother, a son and a daughter.
The Tulliver Family as Victims of Capitalism and Patriarchy
Mr. Tulliver, the head of the family, lives by the mill on the Floss river with his family. As a father, he is soft with his wife and daughter. He is a nice person, not rich, but wants to be so. His expectation for the young generation, Tom and Maggie, is to help them gain better social position in both fame and financial status. However, Mr. Tulliver's financial downfall ruins the dream and causes his illness. This frustration also influences the rest of the family. To Mr. Tulliver and his son, the defeat of law case with Mr. Wakem becomes a reason of hatred, even if the bankruptcy also has something to do with the result of Mr. Tulliver’s own single- mindedness, rashness and pride.
Just as the other main characters of The Mill on the Floss, Mr. Tulliver seems to be a victim of his own value and the circumstances of Capitalism society. Although Tulliver is somewhat more intelligent than his wife, yet he is still puzzled by malicious economic world, as well as the complexities of language, manners and values, and Mr. Tulliver is so overwhelmed by the changing world around him, that explains why ‘the world is too many’ for him.
Part of the novel will concentrate on the diminishment of traditional provincial life when facing newly materialistic, entrepreneurial forces. For example, as Mr. Tulliver must go outside his family structure to borrow five hundred pounds from a client of Lawyer Wakem's, he is actually defeated and be used by those ‘gentlemen’ who knows how to make a living in materialistic capitalism.
Tom is the Tullivers' older son. Like his father, Tome grows up as a decent man who has his own clear values of duty, justice, and fairness. These standards affect him in action rather than in emotion. Tom, in some way, is sometimes too narrow-minded, rational. Unlike his impetuous, romantic sister, he has a strong, self-righteous sense of "fairness" and "justice" which often figures into his decisions and relationships more than tenderness or emotion. This characteristic becomes one of the reasons that he often argues with Maggie about her relationship with Phillip Wakem.