Silas Marner grows up as a member of an illiberal religious sect at Lantern Yard, whose chapel is situated in a small side street of a big manufacturing town in the North. Here human relations are of secondary importance, it is the form reliance on divine intervention which counts. Although they are members of the Church of England, their religion is rather haphazard, interwoven with superstition and chance associations. By two acts of fate affecting the weaver, however, human relations gradually develop between Marner and the community of Raveloe.
George Eliot, whose real name is Mary Ann Evans, grew up in Griff House in a rural area as the youngest daughter of a large, rather well-to-do family of firm traditional convictions. Their house lay near a run-down community, the main support of which was weaving and mining Karl Hence she was personally concerned with the topics she took up in her novel. Yet Silas Marner is not a nostalgic fairy tale of by-gone times George Eliot is a learned woman, and a keen observer of contemporary developments, and well acquainted with the prevailing trends: Calvinistic Dissent, Utilitarism, Providentialism, Chance, and Darwinism Carroll , which she does not negate.
Neither does she unconditionally embrace the changes evolving around her, but her view of the complex heterogeneity of modern civilization is discriminating, leading her to a partial and sceptical acceptance Winkgens Evidences of all these aspects can be traced in her novel. This style combines elements of social realism e. Silas Marner spends the first part of his life in a big manufacturing town in the North of England.
By refraining from mentioning the name of the city, the author makes it representative of all the large cities living on the production of goods. When the congregation meets, the members sit in little pews, separated from each other because concentrating on the Divine above is considered more important than human intercourse. The neighbourhood of Lantern Yard apparently housed mainly artisans, as the street leading there is called Shoe Lane.
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When Marner comes back to his home town with Eppie, much has changed. The small houses and Lantern Yard have disappeared, in its place there is an opening and a factory, only the prison Marner remembers is still where it was.
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She enters and falls asleep on his hearth, next to his fire. At the time of the baby girl's entry, Marner is having a cataleptic fit. He awakes from the fit to see the baby girl, whom he at first mistakes for his gold come back again. After feeding and caring for the child, Marner realizes that she must have come in from outside. He follows her footprints in the snow until he reaches the stone-cold body of her mother. Taking the child with him, Marner makes his way into the Red House ball in order to alert the doctor about the woman. Godfrey Cass looks at the ghastly apparition of Marner holding his child and nearly passes out from the shock.
He volunteers himself as one of the party to go out and check on the woman, his only concern being that she is, in fact, dead. And, yes, she is dead. Godfrey finds himself--miracle of miracles--single again. He instantly proposes to Nancy and determines to use this stroke of fortune to his advantage: he will live a good life, raise a family he can be proud of, and be the most sober and responsible man in Raveloe.
Silas Marner grows fiercely attached to the child he found curled up on his hearth. She comes to replace his gold as the object of his love, yet unlike his gold she is living and developing as she grows. He reaches out to the community for help in raising his newly adopted daughter.
He christens her "Eppie" in the Raveloe church. Though the community is at first surprised, they more or less support him in his act of charity--otherwise, she would have ended up in the orphans' workhouse. Winthrop in particular guides Marner by means of her care and experience. The narrative moves sixteen years ahead in time.
Marner, a happy, proud old father of a beautiful, nature-loving daughter, is now planning to build a garden with Eppie.
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She, meanwhile, plans to marry Aaron Winthrop , Mrs. Winthrop's industrious son, as well as to be a loving companion to her father for the rest of his days. Sixteen years have not been so good to Godfrey Cass and his wife Nancy.
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Their plans to have children have not amounted to anything but a tragic infant death, while Nancy rejects Godfrey's ensuing conviction that they ought to adopt Eppie as their own daughter. Godfrey has kept the secret that he is in fact Eppie's biological father for the whole sixteen years. Godfrey drains the Stone-pits to clear new land, which results in a shocking discovery at the bottom: Dunstan's skeleton. And with Dunstan lies Marner's gold coins. The coins are restored to him.
Godfrey, seeing that time makes known all painful truths, finally reveals his secret to Nancy. Nancy is not angry at Godfrey but disappointed that he did not tell her sooner, because on that basis they could have raised Eppie as their own. With the truth finally known, the Casses decide that it is their duty to offer their parentage to Eppie. That very night they call on Marner and Eppie in their cottage. They make known that they want to adopt Eppie as their own daughter, figuring that both she and Marner would delight at her chance to join the most famous family in Raveloe.
When Eppie refuses, saying she is happy at the cottage with Marner, Godfrey Cass reveals that she is his biological daughter.
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Marner stands up to Godfrey, saying that he passed up the blessing of Eppie when he had his chance, and that he has no right to the child now. Eppie, too, refuses his parentage. The Casses exit Marner's cottage, their hope for a child again defeated. This visit reawakens in Marner the desire to show Eppie the country of his birth. They plan a trip to Lantern Yard, where Marner may also discover whether he was ever cleared of theft. The two of them travel four days north until they arrive at a manufacturing town. Like the first two battles, this third ends with the middle ground triumphing; both sides are right, and the angle that is able to point that out is most right.
Since this is how the arguments of the Rainbow bar end internally to the novel, this may reasonably be the end by which Eliot herself wants her readers to be convinced. Foremost is the marked point of Eppie standing between her two fathers. She must leave enough space for them to see each other and be on plane, but not move too far.
She is closer to Silas, even holding his hand during her second monologue.
Main Issues in "Silas Marner" by George Eliot: [Essay Example], words GradesFixer
Likewise Eppie serves as the central point in the triangle created between herself and the two offering themselves as traditional parents, Godfrey biologically and Nancy as the mother she never had. Godfrey monologues his wants, Marner comes back with his own, but just as their fight is billowing, Eppie takes the stage and undermines them both by acknowledging all their feelings and trumping them with her own.
Her feelings coincide with those of Marner but do not tell Godfrey he is wrong. Like the solutions in the Rainbow, the deciding factor does not take an already proposed side but rather carves out a space between the two. Thus, he creates a perfect triangle with his own image, as if bodily regretting his weakness as only one of three fully developed and reasonable points. She does not only say that family will make you happy, while gold will make you sad, she instead condemns any drifters and floaters who take what they get, riding on chance. Nancy refuses to adopt because she has not happened to become successfully pregnant.
Molly does opium in the cold, dark snow without considering the consequences her action will most likely have on her or her daughter. Godfrey hopes for the happenstance deaths of his wife and brother. Dolly does not have a daughter. All have arrived at their positions due to acting either impulsively or according to pre-set expectations they would not challenge.
Hence, none of them achieve full happiness regardless of whether or not they have families. And, neither of whom chooses the traditional, biologically determined family. Marner stays a responsibility free hermit until he takes on Eppie in a revelatory moment and Eppie chooses her foster father above her biological one though both have rightful claims on her. This message is not just an extreme in a two-sided relationship, for it is the middle ground between its own two opposites, which include the possibilities of not having a family at all and going with the one you are biologically given.
Silas Marner is not a tale of black and white, right and wrong, it is more complex and aims to depict at least three angles — if not more that I have, as of yet, failed to unravel.
The Price of Isolation: George Eliot’s Silas Marner
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