The Mill on the Floss

The Mill on the Floss

by

George Eliot

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The Mill on the Floss: Book 2, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Tom recovers from his injury, Philip feels compassion for him and sits with Tom and Maggie often, telling them stories from Greek tragedies. This thaws the enmity between them, and Tom, Philip, and Maggie become close friends. One day, when Maggie and Philip are alone in the study, Philip asks if Maggie would love him as much as Tom, if he were her brother. She kisses him and says that she will never forget him when she goes away to boarding school, and that she will kiss him again whenever she sees him.
Tom has not always been kind to Philip: he has mocked his physical disability and insulted his family. However, Philip’s forgiveness and compassion when Tom is injured allows them to become friends again. Perhaps precisely because Philip knows what it is to suffer from a disability, he is particularly empathetic and compassionate when Tom is temporarily in a similar position.
Themes
Tolerance and Forgiveness  Theme Icon
When Mr. Tulliver comes to collect Maggie and take her to school, she tells him that she loves Philip. Mr. Tulliver says that it’s fine for Tom and Maggie to be kind to the boy, but tells them to remember that he has Wakem’s blood in him too. After this admonition, Tom and Philip return to their old state of slightly uneasy friendship.
The truce between Tom and Philip turns out to be short-lived, since Mr. Tulliver reminds Tom and Maggie of the enmity between their two families. In this sense, Mr. Tulliver’s inability to forgive traps the next generation in the same pattern of old grudges.
Themes
Tolerance and Forgiveness  Theme Icon