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Which Character Do You Believe Has Changed The Most, In Silas

2582 words - 11 pages

Which character do you believe has changed the most, in Silas
Marner, giving reasons why?

Change can be natural or provoked manually, it is unavoidable, it is
inevitable, it is imperative and it can be both welcome and greeted
with apprehension.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary says change is to,

‘Make or become different’,

and the Oxford Thesaurus offers these alternatives,

‘adapt, adjust, alter, amend, convert, modify and transform’.

Change and its effects is the underlying theme of Silas Marner. The
novel is a fable because it has a strong moral message, which is
change, and based on one fictitious individual and how they should and
should not cope with both positive ...view middle of the document...

So, what are the two
characters like when we first meet them?

The first mention of Marner is at the beginning of the second
paragraph. At this time, Marner is in Raveloe having already left
Lantern Yard:

‘In the early years of this century such a linen-weaver, named Silas
Marner, worked at his vocation in a stone cottage that stood among the
nutty hedgerows near the village of Raveloe, and not far from the edge
of a deserted stone pit.’

This does not tell us much about Marner’s character but a change in
character is not the only thing to attract interest. The text gives us
an insight into his appearance by saying,

‘such a linen weaver,’.

To me this is implying Marner is quite a stereotypical linen-weaver,
like the ones described by Eliot as,

‘pallid, undersized men’; ‘the remnants of a disinherited race’;
‘alien looking men’ and, ‘pale men’.

George Eliot is not being too complementary to Marner and I think she
is trying to create the feeling that he belongs to an unfortunate,
frail and unprivileged group of society hence inflicting reader
sympathy upon him. We also know that Marner works ardently in a stone
cottage on literally, the outskirts of society. Eliot also mentions
‘deserted’ in the passage, an obvious reference to Marner’s presence
(or non-presence) in the village.

So from that quote we are aware of Marner’s appearance, that he is
treated with suspicion by onlookers due to the mysterious nature of
his species, and we can also assume he is a loner, engrossed in his
work on the outskirts of society.

We first meet Godfrey in the third paragraph of chapter three:

‘But it would be a thousand pities if Mr. Godfrey, the eldest, a fine
open-faced, good-natured young man who has come into the world, some
day, should take to going along the same road as his brother, as he
had seemed to do of late.’

This gives us a lot of information about what Godfrey is like. We have
a physical description and, more importantly, a description of his
personality and social status. He is described as a good-natured young
man who is the heir to the

‘greatest man in Raveloe’, Squire Cass.

Nevertheless, he is not just daddy’s little rich boy; he is inclined
to go down the road his brother took, that of betting, gambling and
drinking. The fact that Eliot says it would ‘be a thousand pictures’
if Cass were to go down this road is significant. The quote is
suggesting that this is not Godfrey’s real nature, at heart he is a
very respectable young man and it would be unfortunate if he were to
sidetrack from his ethics in search of a more daring lifestyle. What’s
more, Godfrey would not have felt too self-conscious or guilty at
doing this because at this time in history it was actually very common
for men in his position to stray away from their respectable
traditions and deviate into dishonourable exploits.

We now have a brief description of what both characters are like
before any sort of...

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