In Silas Marner, George Eliot connects the appearance of Eppie to the disappearance of Silas’ gold. Eliot uses an equation of greater than (Eppie > Silas’ gold) to express the connection that they have to each other. Eliot makes it clear that Eppie replaces Silas’ gold but she goes deeper to show that Eppie does more than just replace Silas’ gold, Silas becomes a better man in every sense when he is confronted with being a good father to Eppie.
In order to be a good father to Eppie, Silas becomes a better man in a religious sense. Dolly explains to Silas that in order to be a good father to Eppie he must include religion in Eppie’s life; “you must bring her up like christened folks’s children, and take her to church.” (121) Dolly specifically tells Silas that he must have Eppie christened, Silas being devoted to Eppie and her well being is willing to do anything and everything to be a good father to Eppie; ...view middle of the document...
” (18) Silas was a lonely man who worshiped his coins in close-locked solitude. When Eppie is brought into Silas’ life she created interactions with other people; “the child created fresh and fresh links between his life and the lives from which he had hitherto shrunk continually into narrower isolation.” (123) Eppie also created true joy and happiness in Silas which he had not seen much of since he had been living in Raveloe; “Eppie called him away from his weaving, and made him think all its pauses a holiday, re-awakening his senses with her fresh life, even to the old winter-flies that came crawling forth in the early spring sunshine, and warming him into joy because she had joy.” (124) Through Eppie, Silas can feel joy, because she feels joy. Silas’ gold brought him happiness but it was for just a moment, while Eppie brings continuous happiness and causes Silas to be a better man and have a better life.
In Silas Marner, Godfrey’s and Silas’ happiness are both built upon different foundations. Godfrey’s happiness is built upon relief and selfishness, while Silas’ happiness is built upon a companion and selflessness. Godfrey is relieved when finding out that Molly, his wife, could be dead; “Godfrey felt a great throb: there was one terror in his mind at that moment: it was, that the woman might not be dead.” (112) Godfrey’s only worry at this point is that his wife might not be dead, showing Godfrey’s selfishness. Silas Marner happiness is more genuine than Godfrey’s because Silas’ happiness comes from helping others, while Godfrey’s happiness comes from the destruction of others from his life. Godfrey is pleased at the death of his wife and knowing that Dunsey might be won to silence. Silas is devastated when losing things that are close to him, and is selfless in his care for Eppie; “warming him into joy because she had joy.” (123) Silas is happy because Eppie is happy showing that Silas is a selfless man who truly understands the real values and the real meaning of happiness.