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Representation of Nature in The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot - Essay Example

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1 The Representation of Nature in The Mill on the Floss and in Romantic Poetry Author Note Name, Department, University, Correspondence address. NATURE IN THE MILL ON THE FLOSS 2 The Representation of Nature in The Mill on the Floss and in Romantic Poetry During the era of Romanticism, nature was given an importance that was probably never given in any preceding era of English literature…
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Representation of Nature in The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
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"Representation of Nature in The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot"

Download file to see previous pages This paper shall attempt to understand the significance of nature in George Eliot’s novel, The Mill on the Floss and the differences in the representations and role of nature in this novel from Romantic poetry. The beginning of the novel is a description of the village of St. Oggs where the protagonist of the novel, Maggie Tulliver resides along with her family. The impetuosity of the river is contrasted throughout, in these passages, with the languid quality of the countryside. It is here that the reader is introduced to Maggie, who is roaming near her father’s mill, in the lap of nature. The analogy between Maggie and the river is evident in these opening passages. In the events to come, in the novel, Maggie will reveal herself to be a character who is unable to conform to the general modes of behavior that the society expects of her. She seeks to break free NATURE IN THE MILL ON THE FLOSS 3 of the shackles that Victorian society imposes on her as a girl and as a woman. Her inability to conform is likened to the inability of the river to be similar to the lazy countryside of England. The river also represents the tumultuous events that the Tulliver family would have to go through during the course of this novel. Maggie’s death at the end of the novel can also be interpreted as the inevitable conclusion of a character who has to die because of her unfitness to live in the Victorian society (Eliot 5-6, 2008). Unlike in the romantic age where nature is a retreat for the poet who is tired of the artificiality of the city, the Victorian novel looks at nature as nothing more than a setting for the characters that it chooses to portray. The nature that Wordsworth talks of, for instance, in The Daffodils, is one that offers him happiness even when he is not physically present near them. The memory of them, therefore offers him a mental site where he can retreat to (Wordsworth). The notion is an escapist one as it offers the poet the luxury of inaction by not forcing him to acknowledge the actual situation that is faced by the masses. Wordsworth emphasizes the therapeutic quality of the memory of the natural beauty that he had once seen, without actually exploring the situation of the people who live in these conditions. The realist novel, on the other hand, places the inhabitants of a particular place in context and analyses their situation. In The Mill on the Floss, the descriptions of nature are not done merely for their own sake but also to make the reader understand the social context of the Tulliver family and Maggie Tulliver in NATURE IN THE MILL ON THE FLOSS 4 particular. It also enables the novelist to present the mental and emotional states of the characters in the novel in a more lucid fashion to the reader. A fine example of this is the description of Maggie’s encounter with Philip in the Red Deeps. The very name is indicative of the emotion of pity that Maggie feels for Philip Wakem. The allusion to the heart is enhanced by the landscape of the Red Deeps, a thickly forested area that encloses a glade where Philip and Maggie are able to meet and talk to each other without any fear of social sanctions and restrictions. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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