George Eliot wrote Mill on the Floss and the debate has always been as to what extent the novel is autobiographical. Mill on the Floss focuses on a girl (and then woman) that defies expectations of society, shadowing what history we know of a certain Ms Marian Lewes.
The protagonist of the novel is Maggie Tulliver, a dark, gypsy-like child brought up by parents that one would probably consider middle-class. She's contrasted in nature by her cousin Lucy - a perfectly angelic and demure young lady - and by her brother Tom, who lacks the quick wit and intellect that society finds so unbecoming in Maggie.
The earlier part of the story revolves around the relationship of the Tulliver family with another family, the Wakems. It follows a dramatic interplay between the children/adolescents that shows how feuds between families can affect the lives of their children without adults ever being aware of the repercussions. It also seems to confront the varying definitions of what it means to act in a moral way.