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The Book The Millstone English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2803 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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For my first book, I have chosen to read The millstone I have a few reasons why I have chosen this book instead of another one. The first reason is because of the title. The millstone is a strange and unusual title. It’s not a word you say or come across every day so the book immediately got my attention. Then I started to read a short description of the book and it said that it was about a girl who got pregnant after a one-night stand and decides to give birth and, against all odds decides to raise the child herself. It sounded interesting. It contained elements that suits my interest and I heard it is a popular book so i chose The millstone.

Bibliographical entry

Title of the book: The millstone

Author: Margaret Drabble

First published by Weidenfield & Nicolson 1965


The story takes place in London in the 1960s. It’s about a 19 year-old girl named Rosamund Stacey. She comes from a intellectual and progressive family. Her parents are in Africa and they gave her their flat to live in. Rosamund is a strong, and independent woman in the eyes of her friends, but she is actually very insecure, especially in the fields of sex. As a way of escape she has a relationship with 2 men named Joe Hurt and Roger Anderson. Both Joe and Roger think that she is sleeping with one another so neither one of them presses her to have sex.

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In a pub Rosamund meets George Matthews. He is newsreader for BBC radio. She feels attracted to him and they end up in her flat and eventually have sex. This was Rosamund her first time, but she didn’t had to tell George that because George was also under the impression that she has 2 lovers, Joe and Roger. She was too shy to tell George that she has fallen in love with him. She lets George vanish from her life as quickly as he entered it.

After this one-night stand Rosamund becomes pregnant. When she found out that she is pregnant, a whole new world opens for her. While she decides not to tell George and her parents in order not to upset them, she did tell her sister Beatrice in the hopes she will get some moral support since she already has 3 children. However in the letter Beatrice has sent back to Rosamund she expresses her disbelief and shock and urges Rosamund to either have an abortion or after the baby is born to put it for adoption, but this has just made Rosamund determined to keep the baby.

Her friends take the news that Rosamund is having a baby very well and they assume the father is either Joe or Roger. Rosamund, however, stops seeing Joe and Roger and focuses on her pregnancy and work. Rosamund experiences a lot of new things during her pregnancy for example going to the national health service for the first time. During her pregnancy she also gets help from Lydia, a true friend of Rosamund. Rosamund offered to share her flat with Lydia in return for helping around the house and babysitting when the baby is born. Rosamund gave birth to a girl. She named her Octavia after Octavia Hill.

When Octavia is only a few months old, she is found to have a serious condition called pulmonary artery and must have surgery. Fortunately, the operation turns out to be successful and Rosamund is allowed to take her daughter back home. Rosamund’s parents are informed that she has a child. The surgeon that operated Octavia happened to be an old friend of her parents. Her parents decide not to disturb their daughters new life and stay abroad for another year and return for Christmas as planned.

Late at night on Christmas eve, Rosamund went to a chemist near her flat to get some medicine for Octavia. There she met George and again she invites him to her flat. Rosamund lies about the age of Octavia so that George wont suspect that she might be his. He went to take a look at the sleeping Octavia, said that she was a beautiful baby and left again.

First personal reaction

The Millstone is a fantastic book. The story is wonderful and you can really relate to the events that happen in the story because the story is very realistic. There isn’t no fantasy in the story for example mystical creatures or dragons and magicians. It basically about a girl who lives in London and got pregnant and tries to raise the baby herself. In real life there are people who raise a child all by themselves. You can also sympathise with the characters. I admire the courage of Rosamund. Beatrice urged Rosamund to put the baby for adoption or have it aborted, but she refused. She is determined to keep the baby and raise it herself. Friends also suggested to ask Roger for financial help, but she didn’t want to. Raising a baby by yourself is very difficult and I have a lot of respect for people who are in that situation. Since the story is written very realistic and that George doesn’t know that he is the father and that she raises the child all by herself, it has an extra impact on the story and the things Rosamund experiences.

Book assignment

I have chosen for assignment number 5.

The main character of the story is Rosamund Stacey. Other important characters are Joe Hurt, Roger Anderson, George Matthews, Lydia Reynolds, Octavia and Beatrice Stacey.

Rosamund Stacey: She is 19 year old girl who lives in London in her parents apartment. She has a sister named Beatrice and she also has a brother. She is an insecure girl, especially when it’s about having sex. She was a virgin until the night she had sex with George. This resulted in her getting pregnant. When she got pregnant her whole world changes. At first she didn’t want to have a baby. She tried to get a miscarriage but failed. Later on she decides to keep the baby and her love for the baby grows. When the baby is born she feels a strong affection for the baby and she is happy she made the right decision.

Joe and Roger: Joe and Roger are the 2 men Rosamund has a double relationship with. Both of them think Rosamund is sleeping with the one another. Joe is ugly, but attractive writer and Roger is a rude, but rich and intelligent accountant. Rosamund likes Joe much more then Roger.

George Matthews: he is a newsreader for the BBC radio. He is the one who Rosamund loses her virginity to and he is also the father of her baby, but he is unaware of that. He doesn’t make a lot of appearances in the story. Only the night at the pub which ended up in having sex together with Rosamund in her apartment and the night on Christmas eve. He has never called Rosamund back or tried to contact her after that night they had sex. Even though he doesn’t make a lot of appearances he still a very important character because he is the father of the child and the story is about motherhood.

Lydia Reynolds: She is a novelist and a friend of Rosamund. Later on she also becomes Rosamund’s roommate. She helps Rosamund during the pregnancy and she is writing a new novel about Rosamund and Octavia

Octavia: She is Rosamund’s baby and is the one who changes Rosamund her life.

Beatrice Stacey: She is the sister of Rosamund. She is married and has 3 children. When Rosamund told Beatrice she was pregnant she got very worried and urges Rosamund to put the baby for adoption or have it aborted. She really cares about Rosamund.

All these characters in my opinion are realistic and you can recognize them. There is not much difference between them and people in real life who raise a child all by themselves and friends and family who care and help you with things.

The most sympathetic person is Lydia, because during Rosamund’s pregnancy Lydia was there to help her. She helped with doing groceries or help around the house. Before Lydia became Rosamund’s roommate, Rosamund lived alone in her apartment and she was pregnant and she didn’t have anyone to help her, but then came Lydia and Rosamund her life became somewhat easier. In the book she even said that she was very happy with Lydia.

The least sympathetic person is George, because after the night he had sex with Rosamund he never called back or tried to make any contact with her. The least he could do is visit her and be friends with her. He was never there for Rosamund or the baby. If he would have called her or visit her then maybe Rosamund would have had the courage to tell him that the baby was his.

Yes Lydia also


For my second book, i have chosen to read The Collector. I have chosen this book because of 3 things. The first reason is the title. The Collector is just like The Millstone, a vague and strange title so it caught my attention. Then i started to read a short description of the book and it said it is about a man who kidnaps a woman and holds her hostage just for the pleasure of having her there. When reading the description I felt that the main character was feeling lonely and I can relate myself to that to a certain extent. Sometimes I feel lonely too. This book was also recommended to me by a friend, Sudip. He has read the book and said it was easy to read and go through the story. Also not a lot of difficult words and the story is exciting so i said to myself sure why not.

Bibliographical entry

Title of the book: The collector

Author: John Fowles

First published by Jonathan Cape, London 1963


The story is about a young man named Frederick Clegg. He’s 22 years old and lives with his uncle Dick and aunt Annie and niece Mabel, because his father is dead and his mother doesn’t care about him. He collects butterflies that he catches himself. It’s his only passion. Clegg is obsessed with a girl named Miranda Grey. She goes to the Slade School of Fine arts. She is an art student. He admires her from a distance, but because of his extreme lack of social skills he is unable to make any contact with her. One day he wins a large prize in the football pools. This allows him to stop working and buy a house in the countryside. He feels lonely and wants to be with Miranda. Clegg decides to add her to his ‘collection’. He hopes that if he kept her captive long enough she will grow to love him.

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After months of careful preparations, he kidnaps Miranda by drugging her with Chloroform and locks her in his basement. When she wakes up she confront him with what he has done. Clegg is embarrassed and he promises her that he will let her go after a month. He also promises to treat her with respect and wont sexually molest her and that he will shower her with gifts and presents on one condition. She can’t leave the basement.

During her captivity Miranda kept a diary. In it she writes about her previous life before she was held captive.

Clegg scares Miranda and she does not understand him at the beginning. At first, she thinks that he has sexual motives for abducting her, but later as his true character begin to reveal she realise that it is not true. Miranda starts to have some pity for Clegg, because of his hopeless obsession with her. Clegg tells Miranda that his first name is Ferdinand.

Miranda tries to escape several times but failed. Clegg was always able to stop her. Miranda also tries to seduce him in order to convince him to let her go, but this only resulted in him becoming confused and angry. When Clegg refuses to let her go, she starts to fantasize about killing him. After a failed attempt, she thought that killing Clegg would lower her to his level. She refrained from any further attempts. Before Miranda can escape again, she becomes very ill and dies.

Clegg found out that Miranda died. At first, he wanted to commit suicide, but after reading her diary in which she wrote that she never loved him, he decides that he is not responsible and that he is better off without her. The book ends with his announcement that he plans to kidnap another girl.

First impression

The collector is a great book. The story is exciting and not so difficult to understand. It’s easy to go through the story and the words aren’t so difficult. The story and the events that have happened are very realistic. It’s looks like it could really happen in real life. In fact some people have tried to do or have done the same thing Frederick has done. Kidnapping a woman, held her hostage and do cruel things for example sexual abusing her. You can also sympathise with the characters. I feel sad for Miranda. Being alone and isolated from the outside world, not knowing what is going to happen and the fear and loneliness. I also pity Frederick. It’s sad that Frederick is so obsessed with her and that he is forcing her to love him.

Book assignment

I have chosen for assignment number 9

The problems and negative things that have happened and that we can read in the story are loneliness, obsession, kidnapping, fear, isolation, holding people hostage and death. All these things aren’t new to us. We can all see these things back in real life. There have been several cases in the past and in the present where people have been kidnapped and hold hostage for ransom money, sexual abuse or for whatever reason. We hear about them for example on the news and the radio. Below there are 2 news articles where there is a similar situation and problem.

Article number 1 is about Jaycee Lee Dugard, a girl who was kidnapped at the age of 11 and held hostage for 18 years and was sexually abused. She also gave birth to 2 daughters. Article number 2 is about Sarah Maynard, a girl who was kidnapped at the age of 13 and held hostage for 4 days. Her mother, brother and a family friend got killed. She was also sexually abused.

If we compare it to the collector we can see that in both the news articles and the collector someone was kidnapped and held hostage. Also in both of them the person that is kidnapped is a female. All 3 of the girls were isolated from the real world. Miranda was held captive in a basement, Sarah in the house of the abductor and Jaycee in a backyard. All of them were scared for what was going to happen and felt some sort of loneliness.

The reason for kidnapping however is different. In the collector Frederick was obsessed with Miranda and wanted to make her part of his ‘collection’ and to make her love him. In the news article about Jaycee Lee Dugard and Sarah Maynard the reason for abduction is unknown, but we can assume it is not for the same reasons like in the collector. Also the person that was held captive in the collector died, but both Jaycee and Sarah lived. There was also a difference in age between the girls when they were kidnapped. Jaycee was 11 and Sarah was 13 when they got kidnapped and Miranda was 20. Both Jacey and Sarah were sexually abused. Jaycee however also gave birth to 2 children and was held captive for 18 years where as Sarah was held captive for 4 days. Miranda was never sexually abused, even though she thought that his motives for abducting her were sexually intended. She also never got children and was held captive for 2 months before she died.

Even though there are a few differences for example the reason why they got kidnapped and the length of the captivity of the 3 girls, all 3 of them got kidnapped and were held hostage none the less. And we can see a lot of the elements from the collector back in the news articles.


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