Presentation Title

From Unseen to Undaunted: Mrs. Tulliver’s Rise in The Mill on the Floss

Faculty Mentor

Constance Fulmer

Start Date

17-11-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 1:45 PM

Location

C305

Session

Oral 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

In The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot, Mrs. Tulliver seems at first to be a two-dimensional character who favors her steady son Tom over her passionate daughter Maggie and allows her husband and older sister to make decisions for her. At face value, she is the passive object who suffers the consequences of her husband’s ego and her sister’s family pride because she makes no decisions on her own. However, in the last book of the novel, Maggie comes back home in disgrace, and Mrs. Tulliver makes the drastic decision to leave Tom and the conventional life he represents in order to align herself with Maggie. Mrs. Tulliver’s overt decision at the end of the novel seems incompatible with her passive character, but a closer reading of the novel reveals that her sense of agency is complex even though it develops covertly throughout the story.

Summary of research results to be presented

I read The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, The Cambridge Introduction to George Eliot and The Life of George Eliot: A Critical Biography by Nancy Henry, and approximately ten shorter articles. Very few articles attended to Mrs. Tulliver in her own right; rather, they addressed her role as she related to other characters. While I did not directly cite any of the outside works I read, I used the gaps I saw in the scholarship about Mrs. Tulliver to develop my own position about her role in the story.

In writing my paper, I began with the research question: To whom does Mrs. Tulliver belong?

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Nov 17th, 1:30 PM Nov 17th, 1:45 PM

From Unseen to Undaunted: Mrs. Tulliver’s Rise in The Mill on the Floss

C305

In The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot, Mrs. Tulliver seems at first to be a two-dimensional character who favors her steady son Tom over her passionate daughter Maggie and allows her husband and older sister to make decisions for her. At face value, she is the passive object who suffers the consequences of her husband’s ego and her sister’s family pride because she makes no decisions on her own. However, in the last book of the novel, Maggie comes back home in disgrace, and Mrs. Tulliver makes the drastic decision to leave Tom and the conventional life he represents in order to align herself with Maggie. Mrs. Tulliver’s overt decision at the end of the novel seems incompatible with her passive character, but a closer reading of the novel reveals that her sense of agency is complex even though it develops covertly throughout the story.