Mr. Tulliver decides to work for Mr. Wakem, since he wants to protect and provide for Mrs. Tulliver. Also, he is very attached to Dorlcote Mill, which is the only home he’s ever known, and he can’t think of living anywhere else.
The idea of home has a powerful emotional appeal. These memories and attachments induce Mr. Tulliver to remain at Dorlcote Mill at all costs, even in these debilitating and humiliating circumstances.
When Tom gets home, Mr. Tulliver calls him into the parlor. He explains that although he’s decided to submit to Wakem, he will never forgive him for what he’s done to their family. He asks Tom to swear—by writing in the family Bible—that he will remember what Wakem did to his father, and to promise to take revenge and “make him and his feel it, if ever the day comes.” Maggie begs Tom not to sign the Bible, but Tom agrees to do as his father says.
Maggie begs Tom not to sign the family Bible because she knows it will trap him in a cycle of revenge that makes forgiveness impossible and may exacerbate the family’s suffering. By asking Tom to sign his name in the family Bible, Mr. Tulliver connects him to previous generations of Tullivers and reminds him of his duties to the family name—motives that Tom finds powerfully persuasive.