Desire in The Mill on the Floss and Jane Eyre

Essay by kimmycutesUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2004

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In this paper I would like to explore the issue of desire and how it moves the plot of two works from nineteenth century Victorian Literature by George Elliot and Charlotte Bronte called The Mill on the Floss and Jane Eyre. The ideal of desire offers conflicts in both novels. In The Mill on the Floss, Mr. Tulliver's desire to maintain equality and dignity in a world of black and white economic castes presents the Tulliver family with trial after trial. Comparatively, Jane in Jane Eyre also struggles with her desires for equality and dignity, which in turn affect the lives of many other characters in the novel, most fully so being Mr. Rochester.

Throughout the novel The Mill on the Floss Mr. Tulliver is shown as a compassionate yet temperamental man who is willing to give up everything in the name of justice. Mr. Tulliver's obsessive desire to impose justice upon the "raskill", Mr.

Wakem, ultimately cost him his life. His internal desire for undisputable justice rises above all other social mores and responsibilities as a Christian, husband, and a father. Mr. Tulliver's selfish desires also drive the plot forward in The Mill on The Floss.

During the first four books of this novel Mr. Tulliver makes many sacrifices in order to send young Tom to get an "eddication". (Eliot, 16) He represents a fatherly ideal which involves providing a better life for your children than you had as a youth. However, there is great complexity within this observation. Mr. Tulliver hopes to provide Tom with the means to make something great of himself. It is then important to note that this is Mr. Tulliver's main intention while in a position of comfort and control. Tom's father changes his plans and wants for Tom very quickly. It...