The Mill on the Floss”

One thing that really struck me about The Mill on the Floss was Eliot’s unique and elegant writing style. As mentioned yesterday in lecture, Eliot’s narrator has many different voices, but for me that’s not what really grabbed my attention. Instead, I found myself getting caught up in her vivid descriptions and sensory detail. For example, I found her description of the winter/Christmas scene in ch. 2, book 2 particularly captivating.

“Snow lay on the croft and river-bank in undulations softer than the limbs of infancy; it lay with the neatliest finished border on every sloping roof, making the dark-re gables stand out with a new depth of colour; it weighed heavily on the laurels and fir-trees, till it fell from them with a shuddering sound; it clothed the rough turnip-field.”

The scene, although simple, has a romantic quality that gives me feelings of nostalgia for a place I’ve never been. Even after Eliot shifts away from the romantic imagery to a darker images, she’s still able to maintainĀ her stylistically soothing tone.

“The gates were all blocked up with the sloping drifts, and here and there a disregarded four-footed beast stood as if petrified […] the heavens too were one still pale cloud – no sound or motion in anything but the dark river, that flowed and moaned like an unresting sorrow.

On a bit of a tangent, another thing I noticed about Eliot’s writing is that she writes/uses really long sentences, yet somehow I don’t find myself becoming overwhelmed or losing track of what she’s saying.

One Comment

  1. I must admit that I myself did get lost in the sentences sometimes. Perhaps this is a personal preference or just the fact that the only time I have to read Arts One texts is fairly late at night, but sometimes I found myself quite lost by the end of the sentence b/c I had forgotten how it started.

    Still, I completely agree with you about the descriptions, and the examples you give here are very good ones to make your point. I don’t recall Austen, who was also a novelist writing in a similar time period, having such vivid and beautiful imagery in her descriptions. At least, not as often. Maybe it was the particular novel we read from Austen, though, which was different than her others in the sense that it often feels rather like a parody in its narration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *