Contextualization Paper

This paper asks you to consider Eliot's The Mill on the Floss in the context of other readings we have done from 1859.  Papers are to be at least 4 pages double spaced, and they are due at the start of class on Friday, March 28.  Late papers will be marked down.  Choose one of the following topics:

  1. An important theme in The Mill on the Floss is what constitutes failure and success, and how one survives and thrives in the new, harsh economic environment of capitalism.  Compare this theme with the way Darwin sets it up in The Origin of Species.  You may want to consider how "Darwinian" certain character's viewpoints and behaviors are (like Mr. Wakem, Mr. Tulliver, Mrs. Tulliver, etc).  Is the overall world of The Mill on the Floss primarily one of Darwinian struggle?
  2. Gender roles in 1859 imposed certain restrictions on the behaviors of both females and males, and society meted out criticism or punishment for those that did not conform.  Compare Tom and Maggie from The Mill on the Floss with characters from The Woman in White, Our Nig, and/or "The Haunted and the Haunters" to examine the way gender constructed and regulated the behaviors of people in 1859.  Feel free to bring in outside research, from your short research paper, "The Victorian Age," or other sources.
  3. Write a paper on an issue of your choice, in which characteristics of The Mill on the Floss are explained or illuminated by outside historical context.  Please run paper ideas for this category by me before you start writing.