Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Rosemary Sprague

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael C. Lund

Third Advisor

Dr. William L. Frank


During this writer's year of pursuit of the Master of Arts degree in English, the critical catechism has been applied to the work being studied in every class: "Does this work stand up to the test of time and, if so, why?" The first part of the question can be glibly answered by the fact that the work in question is being read and taught in modern classrooms, or is included on a current suggested reading list. The second part of the question, the "why?" is more complex. What makes one "out-dated" novel gather dust on an obscure shelf while another draws in still another new generation of readers? It is due to "universality of theme," we say; the "memorableness of the language"; the "unforgettable characters." Among these phrases, we intersperse the stock labels of "relevant" or "timely" or, even, "camp." The novel we have chosen in our modest exercise of attempting to analyze one "why" of literary greatness has all of these requisites for continued literary extancy (except, perhaps, the "camp" designation) . But The Mill .Q.!!_ the Floss has something extra: it has a kind of magic that exists from the first time we enter Maggie Tulliver's theatre and know that we are going to be in on the morphosis of her character. We are going to be front-row spectators to the unfolding drama of a soul, played against the back-drops of nature and society, and we are emotionally committed to watch until the last, tragic act. But, wait; we are not mere "readers" at this performance; we are assigned the privileged role of "critics." Therefore, let us go on-stage and examine more closely these "back-drops" of environment and their place 11 in the fleshing-out,11 or de



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.