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How Silas Is Drawn Back Into Humanity By The Loss Of His Gold

5174 words - 21 pages

English Coursework:


The novel Silas Marner is set in the 1780s because George Eliot describes Silas Marner (the main character) as living in Raveloe ‘’in the early years of the century’’ and by this time he had been living there for fifteen years. By the end of the novel, when a further sixteen years have elapsed since Eppie’s arrival, they are in the 1820s. George Eliot set many of her novels in what was, for her, the recent past. This enables her to celebrate the best in traditional rural life, while acknowledging the inevitability of progress and change.

Thus, at the start of the novel, Silas Marner’s prosperity ...view middle of the document...

Thus, the weavers lived isolated lives and often developed the eccentric habits that result from loneliness. Eliot opens Silas Marner by immediately distancing the novel from its readers. The narrator repeatedly stresses that the time, physical setting, and the characters are unfamiliar to us. Eliot evokes the pastoral English country side of the early nineteenth century, emphasising Raveloe’s distance from larger towns, and even larger roads, an isolation that keeps the town mostly ignorant of the intellectual currents of its own time. The characters behave according to a rustic belief system that is distant and alien to them. This distance is temporal as much as it is spatial. Intervening between the era in which the novel is set and the era in which it is written is the industrial revolution. This industrialisation dramatically transformed England from a society of farmers and villagers to one of factories and cities. In Silas Marner Eliot is therefore describing a lost world; ad part of her purpose in the novel is to evoke what she feels has been lost.

A linen weaver named Silas Marner worked at his vocation in a stone cottage that stood amongst the nutty hedgerows near the village of Raveloe. In the fifteen years Silas has lived in Raveloe, he has not invited any guests into his home, made any effort to befriend other villagers, or attempted to court any of the town’s women.

Before Silas came to Raveloe, he lived in a town to the north, where he was thought of as a young man of ‘’exemplary life and ardent faith.’’ It was a community of faith, held together by a narrow religious belief that Eliot suggests is based more on superstition than any sort of rational thought. Lantern yard was the only community that Silas knows and after the incident, he is unable to find any similar community in Raveloe. During a prayer meeting Silas became rigid and unconscious for more than an hour, fellow church members say that the event was divinely inspired.

However Silas’s best friend, at the time William Dane said it was a visitation from the devil rather than god. As Silas was troubled by this suggestion he asked his fiancée to be a young servant named Sarah if she wanted to call of their engagement. Though she was inclined to at first she did not. Then the incident happened. One night when Silas stayed up to watch over the senior deacon of lantern yard, who was sick and he was waiting for William to come to relieve him of his duties and then he realized that that it was nearly dawn, the deacon had died and William had not arrived and then he thought he had nodded off through the course of the night. Later that morning, William and the church members came to Silas and accused him of stealing the church money from the deacon’s room. There was even some concrete evidence to add to the accusation Silas’s pocket-knife turned up in the bureau where the money had been stored and the empty money

bag was also later found in his home. Silas also...

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