Which character do you believe has changed the most, in Silas

Which character do you believe has changed the most, in Silas

Length: 2527 words (7.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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 and negative change. It is a story
ultimately about redemption within oneself due to catastrophic changes
to a lifestyle. In this particular case, the life in question is that
of Silas Marner’s.

As the title suggests, the main character is Marner and it was
customary of 19th century writers to name their novel on the main
character and from there after, follow the change and development of
that character within their environment. This would infer that Marner
is the main character, and that he is to undertake the most change
throughout the course of the story. A wise assumption perhaps, but
under closer observation there may be more to consider than first

Other characters from whom we can extract good examples of various
types of change from are Aaron Winthrop, Nancy Lammeter, and Eppie.
Yet, the only character to experience change radical enough to rival
Marner’s is Godfrey Cass.

However, before I can describe in detail what changes these two
characters have experienced we need to know what they were like before
any change, at the beginning of the story. Obviously, in order to
change, the subject needs to change from something to something else;
and to gauge how much change has taken place, there needs to be a
comparison between the past and present. 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,

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Which character do you believe has changed the most, in Silas." 123HelpMe.com. 06 Dec 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Silas Marner, by George Eliot Essay

- Silas Marner, while it’s a story written in the 1800’s in a rudimentary society with backward concepts and inverted beliefs, its still is story that readers can relate in a personal part of their lives. Isolation and rejection, salvation and forgiveness, there all themes which occur regardless of time period. Despite that some characters struggle with certain themes more than others its allows the audience to come to the understanding about the authors purpose. “Silas Marner is not unworthy of the reputation already acquired...” In the following review titled the “Athenaeum” the critic principally evaluates the characterization and setting in the novel Silas Marner....   [tags: Thematic Analysis, Critique ]

Research Papers
1315 words (3.8 pages)

Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell Essay examples

- In 1877, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, a well known American physician, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote describing what he called his “rest cure”. Dr. Mitchell says "I do not permit the patient to sit up or to sew or write or read. The only action allowed is that needed to clean the teeth." (Mitchell) This was the treatment Dr. Mitchell and other physicians of the time, prescribed to deal with emotional disorders such as treating hysteria, or Neurasthenia, in female patients. So many nervous people are worried with indecision, with inability to make up their minds to the simplest actions, that to have the responsibility of choice taken away greatly lessens their burdens...   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Research Papers
1705 words (4.9 pages)

The Romantic Heroine: A Borrowed Penelope Essay

- In The Rise of Silas Lapham, the elder daughter Penelope represents the intelligent, yet understated romantic woman. Like many heroines, Penelope finds herself in the awkward situation of being the middle of a love triangle. Though their respective families believe that Tom would be a better match for her sister Irene, who is described as being “innocent” and incredibly attractive, it is Penelope whom Tom chooses for a wife. Like many literary heroines, Penelope tries to end her love-affair, as an expression of self-sacrifice, but she eventually submits to marrying Tom....   [tags: The Rise of Silas Lapham, Character Analysis]

Research Papers
1011 words (2.9 pages)

Isolation and Community in George Eliot’s Silas Marner Essay

- 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....   [tags: Isolation, Literary Analysis, John Donne]

Research Papers
1208 words (3.5 pages)

How the Character of Silas Marner has Changed Throughout George Eliot's Novel

- How the Character of Silas Marner has Changed Throughout George Eliot's Novel George Eliot, (1819-1880), was the pseudonym of Mary Anne Evans, she English novelist, whose novels, with their profound feeling and broad intellectual range, raised her immediately to the first rank of English writers. She changed her name to George Elliot because women were not looked upon as writers. When George Eliot wrote her novels she wrote them with the interest in showing the importance of being in touch with our emotions and our past lives, and how being part of a community is a crucial factor in this....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2034 words (5.8 pages)

Comparing The Three Fathers In Silas Marner Essay

- Comparing The Three Fathers In Silas Marner Silas Marner, is a book of great depth, considering many types of situations that people still find themselves in today. It gives us an inner view on how people used cope with their troubles during the period of the industrial revolution, be they minor or major ones. George Eliot reveals human nature perceptively, humourously, and extremely intelligently. She is a brilliant writer, who is able to capture our hearts throughout the book....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2827 words (8.1 pages)

Character Manipulation in The Rise of Silas Lapham Essay

- Character Manipulation in Howells' The Rise of Silas Lapham           Of all the characters who undergo change in The Rise of Silas Lapham, Lapham's change is the only one looked upon in a positive light by the narrator. William Dean Howells uses the corruption of other characters to promote Lapham's newfound morality and reinforce his ultimate triumph. Before Lapham's financial ruin, he is the only character with fault. Yet as his world crumbles, so does the credibility and innocence of his wife, two daughters, and former partner, Mr....   [tags: Rise Silas Lapham Essays]

Research Papers
2075 words (5.9 pages)

The Growth of George Eliot's Silas Marner Essay

- The Growth of Silas Marner        Silas Marner is introduced as a "pallid young man, with prominent, short-sighted brown eyes" who led a quiet life in the small country community, Lantern Yard. He is a skilled hand loom-weaver of "exemplary life and ardent faith"; His work, friends and faith have a huge part in his life, making him an open and honest person. Silas certainly possesses a flawed character, which we see quite clearly in his dealings with others. From the money he made as a weaver, he only kept a small part for himself, giving the rest to the church and to the poorer people who needed it in the evangelical sect he belonged to....   [tags: Essays on Silas Marner]

Research Papers
1952 words (5.6 pages)

George Eliot's Silas Marner Essay

- George Eliot's ‘Silas Marner’ The novel, ‘Silas Marner,’ is considered to be a moral fable. The author, George Eliot placed parental responsibility as one of the book’s main themes. She writes of two different parenting styles, along with the happiness and responsibilities that come with this through two characters, Silas Marner and Godfrey Cass. At the beginning of the narrative the character, Silas Marner, is a completely different person from the one he was later to become. The book starts by explaining how Silas Marner left his original home- ‘Marner had departed from the town,’ because of a false accusation that his best friend had made about him....   [tags: George Eliot Silas Marner essays]

Research Papers
2856 words (8.2 pages)

Free College Essays - Character Analysis in Silas Marner

- Character Analysis in Silas Marner Silas Marner: Silas is the main character and protagonist of the story. When shunned from his town and church after being falsely accused of robbery, Silas is forced to migrate to another town, Raveloe, where he lives as a hermit weaver. Soon his small fortune of gold becomes an obsessive endeavor. The monotony and repetition of weaving helps Silas forget his old, unpleasant life, leaving him with nothing but his gold. This all changes, however, when a blond-haired girl finds her way into his home and heart....   [tags: Silas Marner Essays]

Free Essays
491 words (1.4 pages)

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 change, so we can now go on to look at how they
have changed. I think it is important to discuss in what categories we
will monitor change. I need to describe what I mean when I refer to

In the first sentence of the essay, we have the definition of what
change is; but in what mediums can ‘become different’ refer to?
Therefore, in order to prevent further speculation, when I speak of
change in this essay, I am referring to changes of personality or
character, physical appearance, emotional or mental changes, domestic
changes and social changes.

So, from this conclusion, what examples of ‘change’ can we extract
from the text in reference to the lives of Mr. Marner and Mr. Cass?

As previously mentioned, Silas Marner is a story about redemption, and
in most cases including this one, redemption is about love. There are
many relationships in the story that are pivotal to the plot and
without these relationships, events that have taken place would not
have and the story wouldn’t have ended with the confrontation between
Marner and Cass.

The first relationship we come across is that between Marner and Sarah
Oates at Lantern Yard, mentioned in the first chapter. This is a very
significant relationship in the story, though only briefly described.
Silas loves Sarah dearly and is led to believe her love is genuine in
return, for it is only financial barriers that prevent them from

‘waiting only for a little increase to their mutual savings in order
to their marriage’.

However, what Marner is unfortunately unaware of is Sarah’s feelings
towards his best friend, William Dane:

‘(it was a great delight to him that) Sarah did not object to William’s
occasional presence in their Sunday interviews.’

The relationship between Sarah and Dane causes Marner’s engagement to
fall apart and this obviously has a major psychiatric effect on him.
Yet I do not believe this is the reason Marner was in emotional exile
for so long.

Most of the relationships in the story are not romantic relationships;
only this and one other out of many are fuelled by romance. Instead,
most of the relationships are about fraternal or paternal love – a
completely different dimension of the word ‘love’.

The fraternal love that exists between Marner and Dane is the
important relationship here, not that involving Sarah Oates. Marner
and Dane were so close they compared to the biblical friends, David
and Jonathan:

‘he had long lived in such close friendship that it was the custom of
their Lantern Yard brethren to call them David and Jonathan’.

Going back to one of the above quotes, I added brackets round one
section because it is not significant until now. Marner was obviously
ignorant of Sarah and Dane’s relationship because he was quite happy
with Dane being there. He wanted Dane to be there himself, maybe even
more than Sarah did. It was the breakdown of this relationship with
Dane, his closest sole mate known, which was the reason for the
primary change in Marner. The change that included his moving home,
the cause of his insanity that made him lose all touch with society,
all confidence in himself, and all trust in other people.

Marner’s next significant relationship in the novel is with his new
acquired fortune that he has accumulated in his fifteen years of
vocational labour. The importance of this relationship isn’t about how
much it’s worth or it’s material value, the relationship isn’t
actually between Marner and this money, it is specifically about Gold.
As we will come to see, the fact that it is gold is extremely
important, gold holds much more weight and dramatic influence than
money, coins or riches could. Marner subconsciously replaces Sarah
with the gold. The gold is the all-important solo aspect in his life;
to Marner it is everything, he buries himself in his work, so to:

‘bridge over the loveless chasms of his life’.

Marner is a monomaniac; he is concentrating on one thing in life hence
diverting his attentions away from his troubles. He now lives in a:

‘wooded region, where he felt hidden even from the heavens’.

He does not want to notice anyone and he does not want to have
anything to do with any other human or even celestial being; Silas
Marner wants to be in control of Silas Marner’s life. The human race
has betrayed him, he can no longer trust anyone from it and instead
turns to something that can offer no resistance and he can simply
enjoy the gold’s companionship. To him the gold is a solution to all
his problems and he can occupy himself with its trusting company. So
from these two relationships we have an example of change, how Marner
has rejected human love in favour of a constant, one-way relationship
that carries no conditions.

From looking at the changes in those two relationships and the effects
that are of a consequence of them, we have identified how Marner has
changed in the aftermath emotionally, domestically and socially. We
can now compare these changes to the changes that occur to Godfrey
because of his relationships.

When we first meet Godfrey, we soon become aware of his character and
the type of lady he ‘should’ be courting, Nancy Lammeter for example;
but we are made aware of a relationship of a very different nature
that he is already participating in. It is apparent that he is married
and has a child with Molly Farren, a peasant drug-addict and
alcoholic, outside of Raveloe. This relationship would bring disgrace
to him, his family and Raveloe itself, how he became involved in it in
the first place is never explained.

The laudanum Molly is addicted to does eventually kill her and,
unsurprisingly this ends the relationship. Somewhat overlapping this
marriage is Godfrey’s relationship with Ms. Lammeter. We know she
comes from an upper class background, much unlike Molly, and is a very
suitable partner to match the position of Godfrey. Upon examining
these relationships, it does not take a genius to notice there is more
than just a little contrast. Nancy is undoubtedly the right partner
for Godfrey and why he was in the other relationship is a mystery, we
do not know why Godfrey’s relationships changed so much, but they did
and this is important to the story. If Cass had not left Molly, then
the affair on the night of years eve would never had happened and the
resulting quarter of the book would have been non-existent. This
change in Cass’s relationship is significant and has an affect on the
plot and his character. Later on in the book having married Nancy, he
appears a much wiser, philosophical man because of his past

All the relationships discussed so far result in the presence of
Eppie. Being the biological daughter of Molly and Cass, she is brought
to Raveloe by Molly, abandoned by Cass and somehow makes her way into
Marner’s cottage. Upon seeing this ‘marvel’ Marner was taken aback,
for surely this was:

‘Gold! – his own gold – brought back to him as mysteriously as it had
been taken away!’

These first impressions upon seeing the child are very important, we
all know he has made the simple mistake of mistaking a child’s golden
hair for golden coins, after all he was short-sighted. Perhaps this is
an indication of how much he has missed the gold since it was stole
from him and how much he has anticipated it actually returning one
day. However when he realises it is a child, he becomes just as
besotted with its charms because for the first time since his
relationships back at Lantern Yard:

‘it stirred fibres that had never been moved in Raveloe – old
quiverings of tenderness’.

As Eppie grows, so does the relationship grow and Marner remembers
what it is like to love again. He loved the gold, but Eppie is an
adequate substitute for this. Remember, Marner first noticed her
golden, curly locks of hair and this has remained symbolic throughout
Marner’s adoration with the child. Marner has changed back to his old,
sane self. He has changed back again and this will result in him
keeping his golden treasure.

Meanwhile Cass, no doubt affectionate for his child, is content with
Marner’s stewardship of Eppie. Where Marner is able to accept the
responsibility of keeping Eppie, Cass is not; yet. Cass is still young
and immature; he has things that are more important on his mind like
his reputation and his relationship with Nancy to be bothered about
Eppie. But sixteen years later, being married to Nancy and comfortably
accepted as the most important man in Raveloe, he feels the time right
to make a claim for Eppie. Over the years, though never emotionally
deserting Eppie, he was never prepared to change and accept
responsibility of her, now he is.

The climax of the fable is the confrontation between the two
characters over Eppie. One has loved and lived with her for sixteen
years, the other has hid in the shadows like a coward. Confronting
Marner, Cass makes the justified claim that Eppie is his child and
that she belongs to him. Marner graciously accepts this fact but
raises the question about why Cass had not come forward sixteen years
ago rather than now. There is no answer, Cass just simply wasn’t ready
for the change then, if he was he may have owned Eppie all that time,
but instead it was Marner who stepped forward and Eppie was his.

In short, both Marner and Cass change a lot throughout the story. They
both change numerous times in various examples, but Marner made the
significant change first. Cass changed, but changed later than Marner,
he waited for things to dictate when he should make these changes: he
only married Nancy once Molly had died and his claim for Eppie was
simply too late. Therefore, Marner deserves the acknowledgement of
being the character that has undertaken the most change, he is the
main character, but he has nonetheless changed on his own accord.
Return to 123HelpMe.com