Silas Marner, by George Elliot, is a story about a weaver who is betrayed by a friend and his fiancï¿½e and is forced to move to another town, where he is an outcast alone in the world and overcome by the power of money but is rescued by the love of a child.
In a way George Elliot is writing from personal experience. She lived with a married man whom was separated from his wife, and accounts from people who met her say that she was extremely ugly. She used a different name when writing Silas Marner and other books and it would probably not sell as well if it was known that a woman had written the book.
The story’s themes mainly revolve around money, love, and redemption. In the story Silas is framed for killing of the senior deacon and stealing the money that lay by his bed side. Later on in the story he becomes a miser living as minimallistically as possible in order for his money to grow faster and is nearly broken when his money is stolen by Dunstan Cass whose body is later found with the stolen gold. He is then revived and redeemed when he finds Eppie in his house.Order now
Almost immediately after he finds Eppie he is forced to talk and socialise with other people, to buy cloths for her, to find out how to discipline her and to baptise her. Silas soon starts to weave less and look after Eppie, and Godfrey proposes to Nancy Lammeter at the Christmas party.
The relevant passages in chapter 12 (134 & 135) are extremely symbolic. “He had contracted the habit of opening his door and looking out from time to time, as if he thought that money might be somehow coming back to him”, which starts to get the reader to think about the idea of his money coming back to him, because he was only half a soul and was incomplete without his money. He finds the child shortly after he hears “the old year rung out and the new rung in” thus symbolising a new beginning. He was also in a cataleptic fit when he went to the door which suggests to the reader that something is going to important is going to happen, because most of the major events in his life happened when he was in a cataleptic fit. It also says that he was “powerless to resist either the good or the evil that might enter” so in affect posing the question, is the child going to have a good or a bad affect on Silas’ life.
The fire place is also quite symbolic “the two logs had fallen apart” two halves that had once been together but had fallen apart, Silas and his gold. Which helps build the reader up to the climax; “stooping to push his logs together.”-The two halves about to be reunited-“when, to his blurred vision, it seemed as if there were gold on the floor”, “Gold!-his own gold-“. The word “gold” is repeated three times, which reinforces the idea that his gold has been returned. Then just when he is about to touch the gold “his fingers encountered soft warm curls” which is about as far away from the texture of a gold coin as you can get, thus destroying the idea of his gold returning.
It then goes on to say that Silas thinks that it could be his “little sister whom he had carried about in his arms for a year before she died”, and in effect it is. His little sister when she was alive gave Silas something more to live for then, and the same thing is happening now, Eppie has given Silas something to care about, and Silas is rewarded with something money can’t give him; love.
Some of the words are very well chosen, for example she uses the words “uncertain glimmer”, glimmer has a double meaning you can use it for “a glimmer of light” or you could use it as “a glimmer of hope” which is clever because both meanings work in its context; and the word “uncertain” also fits well, because it is before “glimmer” and works with both meaning of the word. So it could mean “a small amount of light” or “a small amount of hope” which makes a lot of sense if you think about it place in the text; just before the finding of the child.
By writing “when, to his blurred vision it seemed as if there was gold on the floor” George Elliot drops a faint hint that what he sees is just a figment of his imagination, by using the words “seemed as if “.
To Silas, the child appears just as mysteriously as his money disappears; as if a Supreme Being had taken his money and replaced it with a child, thus enforcing the idea that the child is replacing the stolen money, and giving a chance for Silas to lead a happy life. The child also has blond hair which reinforces the idea of the child replacing the gold.
By the end of the book Silas is a changed man. He is part of a family he now has people to love and care for and he is happy, whereas in the beginning of the story Silas was an unhappy person, who had lost his faith in humanity and in God, and “seemed to weave, like the spider, from pure impulse, without reflection”.
Silas Marner was written in 1861About the time of the industrial revolution. There were a lot of people making a lot of money by setting up various industries. These people would probably start to become quite obsessed with money, and some of them might turn into misers. This book is partly about money and how it can ruin a life, and about what the important things in life should be e.g. love. So in effect this book could be looked at as a reminder and/or a warning to the very rich and successful people and about there priorities in life.
I think that the ideas in the book are almost as important then as they are now, because people then were new to the idea of machines doing their work for them and the idea of working class people making large amounts of money. So it was important then not to get to carried away if you were making lots of money, where as nowadays people are still making lots of money regardless of class which we do not find strange and we are used to the idea of machines doing our work for us; but it still important that we remember that money isn’t every thing, and that being happy is what really matters.