George Eliot's Silas Marner

George Eliot's Silas Marner

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In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge transforms from a notorious miser to a humbled, kind-hearted soul as a result of three spirits who apprise him of life's true meaning. Mirroring Scrooge's evolution, in George Eliot's Silas Marner, Silas also transitions from a recluse in society to a rejuvenated man because of a little girl who crawls into his heart. Initially, Silas is lonely man who finds solace from his past with money and solitude. When Eppie enters Silas' home, he begins to understand that there is more substance to life than hoarding gold. Furthermore, after many years as Eppie's guardian, Silas is finally able to experience true happiness and the invaluable joy of love.
After an unfortunate series of events that shaped Silas into a withdrawn and jaded soul, he cannot trust anyone or anything beyond the guineas in front of him. For example, Silas conducts day-by-day activities "in solitude . . . [and] his life [is] reduced to the mere functions of weaving and hoarding." These menial tasks engage Silas' mind and keep him from thinking about his troubles and worries. In addition, by placing value on money and weaving, he convinces himself that there is little time to "[seek] man or woman, save for the purposes of his calling or in order to supply himself with necessaries." As a result of his hermit-like behavior, Silas becomes a lonely and depressed outcast of his community. Moreover, Silas judges his happiness by "his guineas rising in the iron pot, [while] his life narrow[s] and harden[s] itself more and more into a mere pulsation of desire and satisfaction." This cycle thrusts him further into an impenetrable state of mind that will seemingly be his downfall if he continues in this manner. Fortunately for Silas, a life-changing event causes him to reevaluate his miserly goals and aspirations.
The simultaneous occurrence of the stealing of his gold and the arrival of Eppie contribute to the beginnings of a positive change in Silas' demeanor and spirit. In his delirium over losing his money and upon finding Eppie on his hearth, Silas rambles that "the money's gone I don't know where, and this is come from I don't know where." Little does Silas know that Eppie will be more valuable than all of his precious treasures. The presence of Eppie in Silas' life allows his "mind [to] grow into memory, [and] as her life unfold[s], his soul, long stupefied in a cold narrow prison, unfold[s] too, and trembl[es] gradually into full consciousness.

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Eppie motivates Silas to open his heart to new possibilities and experiences in his life. Likewise, Eppie has the power to distract Silas from his "important" duties of weaving and money counting by "reawakening his sense with her fresh life . . . [and] warming him into joy because she had joy." With a new little girl in his life, Silas begins an emotional journey that will change him from the inside out.
The addition of Eppie into Silas' life is the catalyst in Silas' happiness-inducing metamorphosis. Silas even becomes aware of his personal growth since he has met Eppie; "[he has] come to love her as [himself] . . . [and] [he] think[s] [he] shall trusten till [he] die[s]." This renewed sense of trust in another being underscores the positive impact of Eppie on Silas' life. Paralleling the trust that Silas has in Eppie, he is also able to wholeheartedly love her and cherish her more than any material possession. The new Silas no longer thinks about his lost money, but instead remarks that if he lost Eppie, "[he] might come to think [he] was forsaken again, and lose the feeling that God was good to [him]." This significant transformation in his value system emphasizes just how much Silas has improved himself with Eppie's help. As the two build a life together, they have a strong foundation of love, trust, and a mutual feeling that "nobody could be happier than [they] are." Silas truly blossoms into a father and thrives in his new home with his daughter and heart, Eppie.
Silas Marner, similar to Ebenezer Scrooge, experiences an awakening that will forever alter the course of his life for the better. Eppie becomes the epitome of a full life that Silas was in dire need of living prior to her arrival. Eppie is the key to the renovation of Silas from an empty miser to a man who is capable of loving with a full heart and soul. Just as Tiny Tim did for Ebenezer, Eppie has effectively removed the "Bah Humbug" from Silas' life and replaced it with utter joy and the gift of life.
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