explain gender difference with examples from book 1?
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The gender disparity in the world of The Mill on the Floss is vital to understanding Maggie’s story. She is an intelligent and fascinating woman, but the world she is born into offers nothing for her to do with her talents; women are assumed to be more interested in gossip than reading, adherence to custom is valued more highly than intelligence or knowledge, and whether women are even capable of amassing a depth of knowledge is a subject of debate.
In this world, Maggie’s many talents do nothing for her except make her feel all the more dissatisfied with what is available. This context is crucial to understanding why choice is so difficult for her, why she is pulled so strongly between duty and desire. Her desires would lead her to a masculine pursuit, which is not available to her in any meaningful way and would require a great sacrifice of duty. But duty offers little of interest to someone with her creativity and sharpness, and so is a much harder choice than it is for, for example, Lucy Deane, who can play the appropriate feminine role perfectly. Maggie’s struggles, then, which the author so directly associates with progress, are not just for the general progress of culture away from the previous generation’s comfort with “ignorance” (101), but progress towards greater freedom of possibility for women like Maggie - women like George Eliot.