Isolation and Community in George Eliot’s Silas Marner Essay

Isolation and Community in George Eliot’s Silas Marner Essay

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John Donne explains isolation best by saying, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main” (455).1 Many individuals live daily in isolation, but in some way or another everything everyone does creates a significant impact that will play a role in someone else’s life. The aspect of community is unavoidable; community is the basis of life. Characters in every novel ever written are interwoven unbeknownst to each other. Although some believe they are in true isolation, all the character’s actions impact one another, creating a community. Silas Marner’s life of going back and forth from isolation to community expresses the importance of this theme to the novel. On the other hand Godfrey Cass’s enigmas isolate him even though community surrounds him his whole life. The effects of isolation and community are most apparent in the characters of Silas Marner and Godfrey Cass in George Eliot’s novel Silas Marner.
Silas Marner lives a life of repetition. He not only weaves fabric in his loom for a consecutive fifteen years, but also revisits community. Betrayals play an important role to the outcome of the novel, “In Silas’ story the central problem of community begins with betrayal” (Ermarth 98).2 Silas begins as being a part of the community of Lantern Yard, retreating to isolation because of a betrayal done by his best friend, and later returning to community, Raveloe. In Silas’ past he possessed a full life; “Marner was highly thought of in that little hidden world, known to itself as the church assembling in Lantern Yard: he was believed to be a young man of exemplary life and ardent faith…” (Eliot 6).3 Silas understood the importance of community in the early stages of his life. S...


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...2. Print.
Holloway, John. “George Eliot.” The Victorian Sage Studies in Argument. New York: Norton, 1953. 111-153. Print.
Milne, Ira Mark and Sisler, Timothy, ed. “Silas Marner.” Novels for Students. Vol. 20. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 166-182. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Ed. Gayle Holste. Othello. New York: Barron’s, 2002. Print.
Shuttleworth, Sally. “Silas Marner: A dividend Eden.” George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Science The Make-Believe of a Beginning. London: Cambridge UP, 1984. 78-95. Print.
“Silas Marner.” 1,300 Critical Evaluation of Selected Novels and Plays: Offprints of All the New Material from the 12-volume Revised Edition of Masterplots. Ed. Frank N. Magil. Vol. Four. Englewood Cliffs: Salem, 1978. 2073-074. Print.
Thale, Jerome. “George Eliot’s Fable for Her Times: Silas Marner.” The Novels of George Eliot. New York: Columbia UP, 1959. 58-69. Print.

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