The novel, Silas Marner by George Eliot

The novel, Silas Marner by George Eliot

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The novel, Silas Marner by George Eliot

Silas Marner

The novel, Silas Marner by George Eliot is a prime example of a tale
which enlists the use of the literary archetype of the quest. Silas
Marner is a lonely man who lives in the town of Raveloe with nothing
but his hard-earned gold to console him. His call comes unexpectedly
when a man by the name of Dunstan Cass steals the money. This marks
the point where Marner sets out on his quest to find the gold. The
protagonist’s other in the novel is in the form of Dunstan’s older
brother, Godfrey Cass. While Silas and Godfrey are complete opposites
on many levels, they are ultimately the same person. Godfrey is a man
still in his youth, who has been blessed with a luxurious lifestyle,
whereas Silas is portrayed as a miserly old man. Differences in
social class aside, both Silas and Godfrey are lonely; a product of
their own actions. Godfrey is lonely because he chooses not to tell
Nancy of his secret marriage, and Silas is alone because he chooses
not to associate with the townsfolk. That is, until he is called upon
to do so with the theft of his gold. Silas is aided by his adopted
daughter Eppie, who acts as the helper, or guide. Silas’s journey is
both physical and psychological. At first, Silas sets out to discover
who it is that has stolen his money, and means to get it back, and has
no intention of punishing the thief. It is evident that this is not
the quest the author has in mind for him. Through the journey of
raising Eppie, George Eliot has Marner discover true happiness, even
though it is not what he set out for in the first place. Even though,
through the events that transpire, Marner is able to get back his
stolen money, in the end, he is able to obtain a treasure far greater
than the gold he anticipated, that is, happiness with another person.
At the conclusion of the novel, Silas Marner is a man who has
transformed from a cold-hearted and lonely person, to one who has
found love and acceptance in another.

One of the major themes George Eliot employs is that of the individual
versus society. Throughout the novel, Silas is contrasted to the
community in which he is situated. In Lantern Yard, Silas is
excommunicated because the rest of his church does not believe in his
innocence, and in Raveloe, Silas is seen as a crazy witch doctor of
sorts. Most people feel it is safe to stay away from him, and Silas

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does not connect with the community until after fifteen years of
living there. Similarly, symbolism plays a significant role in the
novel as well. The hearth symbolizes warmth and happiness. Eppie is
by the hearth when Silas first notices her. Additionally, it is the
light of the hearth which attracts both Dunstan and Eppie who alter
Silas’s life in great ways. A third technique which is important is
the point of view. In Silas Marner, the point of view is third person
omniscient. This gives the reader insight into what the characters
are seeing, feeling, and thinking and what they are failing to see,
feel, and think. While the narrator uses the word I various times, he
or she is not a part of the plot.

I believed Silas Marner to be a novel which touches the heart. I
enjoyed reading it a lot, as it was a captivating tale about a man who
finds love in a near stranger and found it endearing to learn that in
the end, the truth was out for the most part, as it had been revealed
only to those characters who it affected the most. I think George
Eliot’s meaning was to reveal class differences and the importance of
honesty. It seemed that the author had a strong belief in faith and
supported the fact that everything happens for a reason because in the
end, none of the characters showed regret. I thought I understood the
novel pretty well, and feel that I understood its meaning.
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