DISCUSS THE BIBLICAL REFERENCES IN THE NOVEL THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
George Eliot was one of the prolific and extraordinary writers of the 19th century England and she is known for her novels and translations.. Her works dealt with human problems and the solutions would be obtained through morals and values like love and sympathy were given utmost importance. During her times, new inventions and development of science shook the strong pillars of religion. The biggest blow that religion faced was from Darwin and his theory of Evolution. This theory challenged the age old religious beliefs and traditions of people and on this subject did all her novels centered on. Darwin’s theory of evolution and Mathew Arnold’s endeavors to regain the faith of religion through his literary works clashed. All her protagonists of her novels had religious beliefs. Her second novel The Mill on the Floss(1860) dwells largely on the Biblical references and its implications in reality. I intend to show that though George Eliot was inclined on science, she was not completely indifferent to the religion by listing out some instances that prove this and also few examples that show her inclination on science. I proceed to list out the references to Bible and its significance and influence on the lives of the Tullivers, especially on Maggie whose character is framed and polished with the values of Christianity that include renunciation, sacrifice, love, sympathy. I also intend to show the other references to Bible such as floods in the end of the novel that reflects the story of Noah’s ark.
The conflicts of opinions about religion and science that raised doubts in faith were reflected in several literary works. Many supported the new theory of Darwin while many others believed in their religion. George Eliot’s family believed in their religion. Her views changed after she entered into the filed of literature. She believed in the theory of evolution and Darwin’s works influenced her largely. But this does not mean that she was an atheist. She was not against religion but was against its rigid principles and dogmatic rules. This shows ambivalent nature towards religion. She absorbed only those values of religion that supported humanity. In The Mill on the Floss, when her protagonist Maggie Tulliver decides to renounce her desires lest there should be no limits to her desires, the counter argument comes from Philip Wakem who opposes this idea of hers as illogical but he is not shown to be insulting her feelings. Also George Eliot has depicted how these principles come to her rescue in the end. The portrayal of the life of Maggie as a religious person and how she manages to face the adversities are certain examples that show her indifference to religion. Her inclination on science can also be seen on the characters of the novel. According to Darwin the offspring inherits its character naturally but the society or the parents have got nothing to do with their nature and attitudes. Maggie is such character that has no influence of society or parents on her. To show her distinctiveness, Lucy can be compared to Maggie. Her behavior, her way of thinking, her response to the situations are different. Maggie is stubborn, naughty and views everything differently from her family’s point of view. Whereas Tom Tulliver, Lucy, the Dodsons are the products of nurture. Another example is of Tom who can be called as a Darwinian character as he always tries to predominate in his work and in his life. Both Tom and his father and the family of Dodsons have this predomination nature. So we conclude that there is influence of both science and religion on the characters of her novels, though the influence of science is much less compared with religion. George Eliot has maintained a balance by not completely rejecting religion but not even submitting to its rules and traditions. Through this novel, through the character of Maggie, she seems to be asserting that...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document