Flashcards in The Mill on the Floss Deck (14)
critic quote on Eliots portrayal of childhood
her portrayal is "going beyond the simple appearance of naturalness to examine the often painful, emotional and social reality of the child's world" - John Rignall childhood in oxford companion to eliot
- Maggies subordinate role to her dominant brother defines the troubles she faces later on in life as she struggles in a male dominated society: "we don't ask what a woman does, we ask who she belongs to".
Like wordsworth, Eliot sees childhood as "the seed to all my after good" (sonnet 5 WW). pressures and restrictions on society, yet by going in the boat with stephen Eliot presents a Wordsworthian view in proving the ever present childhood psyche in the adult mind
Childhood and the earth
"We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it"
Examples of how maggie is set apart
By her looks, her intelligence and behaviour
- "twice as cute as Tom. Too cute for woman, im afraid".
- "a wild thing" by her mother. reduced to thing.
-"A dreadful resolve was gathering in Maggies breast" - insulted and humiliated by her hair. this results in her cutting it. childhood shaped by the pressures and prejudices of the adult world.
Maggie reaction to her unhappiness at home
- "here she kept a fetish which she punished for her misfortunes" - the doll is a projection of Maggie's "sufferings". Darwinian Struggle. she is the doll as an adult
- cuts her hair. excited by the "deed". like Prelude "when the deed was done"
"We learn to restrain ourselves as we get older... express ourselves in well-bread phrases" - children struggle to express themselves, and so their subconscious reflects in their actions. maggie acts like this to compensate for the sadness she feels.
- running away to the gypsies. chapter title "maggie tries to run away from her shadow" - her feelings? the prejudices thrown at her by her family? she wants to be the queen of the gypsies: subconscious desire to be dominant due to her being made subservient by those around her.
Childhood landscapes - eliots interest in how landscapes engage our aesthetic eye from childhood
The landscapes always coexist with the heroin of the novel. She is a "shetland pony" a "puppy", would always be found "wanderin' up and down by the water". was her most happiest by the floss.
The landscape thrives Maggie's imagination: she would seek comfort by going to "wander by the hedgerow, and fancy it was all different". link to prelude "it was my joy // to wonder half the night among the cliffs". childhood wandering. feed their imagination.
Narrator remembering childhood landscapes showing how they keep their grip on you
"i remember those large dripping willows. i remember the stone bridge" ; like to WW "the one blasted tree // and the bleak music of that stone wall". (this is before finding out father died. we remember moments of intense experience.
characters in mill on the floss feed off childhood memories which foster their sense of identity
Montaigne on children
animals show their natural dispositions, but men falling under the sway of customs and opinion "easily change or assume disguises. Yet it is difficult to overcome the natural bent". says how children struggle "to establish themselves" due to the training they receive by their parents to conform to society.
Eliot on "the development theory" - darwin
says in a letter that it is "but a feeble impression compared with the mystery that lies under the process"
she is influenced in Darwin, but is more influenced on how his theory influences humanity. society in conflict with Darwin.
Eliot engaging with sympathetic realism
she committed to realism by an accurate portrayal of society. engages with sympathetic realism to promote to the readers an all inclusive social environment.
the organs of her soul
"maiming the faith and sympathy that were the best organs of her soul"
juxtaposes darwinian organs with human emotion and feeling. embraces scientific language, but claims feelings as equally vital for her survival. conflict between morality and instinct
what bears maggie along
"this stronger presence that seemed to bear her along"
influence of animal instincts. the "tide" of instinct. yet this is not an animal, physical struggle for survival, this is magpie's struggle to conform to the demands of society. she must repress natural desire for Stephen
lewes philosophy on society
that humans have to learn to survive in their "social medium". thus there is a "wretched entanglement" (stephen) as our nature conflicts with this medium
Philip quote supporting kant
he would not see maggie until he knew he could "act from pure anxiety for her and not from egotist irritation"
Kants 'critique of practical reason' on morality, in opposition of egotist pursuit of impulses and desires. For Kant, the only way to succeed in an inclusive society is if we act morally rather than impulsively.