The Mill on the Floss

Gender Roles in the Mill on the Floss

Mary Ann Evans, born in Warwickshire, England, wrote the novel The Mill on the Floss during the Victorian era of 1859 under the pseudonym George Eliot. In keeping the Victorian mindset, the novel encompasses many stereotypes of gender roles for its main characters. Evans received criticism during her lifetime for not following the expected gender roles of the time period. She may have written The Mill on the Floss as a subtle outcry against society's expectations (or lack thereof) of men and especially of women. The gender roles of the Victorian period are clearly seen in The Mill on the Floss and mostly followed; however, sometimes the roles are reversed or contrary to what the reader would expect. The characters of Tom, Phillip, Lucy and Maggie all demonstrate how Evans defines gender roles throughout the novel.

Tom Tulliver, a central character in the novel, is first introduced to the reader as a lively and adventurous thirteen year old boy. Tom clearly enjoys traditionally manly activities such as fishing, riding big horses and thinking about owning a gun one day. He does not seem to worry much about his future and quite enjoys the fact that his younger sister Maggie looks up to him as a friend and...

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