The Changes in Silas Marner by George Elliot

The Changes in Silas Marner by George Elliot

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The Changes in Silas Marner by George Elliot

In order to answer this question we must first look at what changes do
actually occur; firstly there is the main change in the book, which is
the change that occurs in Silas Marner himself. This is the main theme
of the book, and indeed, this change is divided into two parts; the
Silas before Eppie arrives and the Silas after she has arrived.
Furthermore this is the first and simple way that we can see that
George Elliot has accounted for this change; she has divided the book
into two parts according to the above change.

Whilst this is the main change in the novel, there are many others,
but the important difference to note is that they all revolve around
the above change; take, for instance, the change that occurs in the
Raveloe village itself; it changes as Silas does, for at first they
thought that Silas was strange or even some kind of demon, but then as
he changed and 'opened up' so they grew to accept him.

Another major change that occurs throughout the book is the change in
Godfrey Cass; this change is slightly different to the rest, for two
reasons; firstly, whereas most other changes happen gradually,
Godfrey's change happens spontaneously when he tells Nancy of his
secret affair. Secondly, whilst the other changes seem to be
improvements (such as the change in Silas), Godfrey's change does not
quite seem to make him that much of a better person; he still had an
affair and he is still grateful that Mollie died.

Generally though, the changes in the novel are positive, for by the
end of the book Silas is happy and has Eppie, Godfrey has Nancy, the
Raveloe people are satisfied and Dunstan is found dead and therefore
Silas gets his money back.

The main change though, is the change that happens to Silas Marner.
This change can be split up into four basic parts; before he was
excommunicated, after he was excommunicated and moves to Raveloe,

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after he loses his money and finally, after he finds Eppie. Therefore
there are three main changes in Silas' character, which occur in
between each stage. These changes are taken into account generally by
Elliot in the way she contrasts them and thereby changes the tension
and suspense felt by the reader; for firstly the reader feels sorry
for Silas when he is excommunicated but this feeling of sorrow is soon
forgotten because although he lost something he has also gained
something in the form of gold. But then, just when we think he is
happy once more, his gold is stolen from him and we are sad for him
once more, This feeling is heightened by the desperation we feel
because the people of Raveloe are quite negative towards him and are
not very helpful in trying to find his gold due to the fact they think
he is some kind of demon, having seen his fit.

But then he finds Eppie, just at the point where we think he has
become a recluse, and this is where Elliot ties Eppie and the money
together, by making Eppie's hair seem as if it were made of gold and
for Silas to think that her hair is actually his gold returned to him.
Thus he is overjoyed even though it is not his gold.

This money and hair comparison also helps tie in the last change
because although we can see plainly that Silas is very happy now he
has Eppie we know that he still would love to have his gold back, and
therefore we are overjoyed for him when he finds it.

But then, as if this drama were not enough there is the final twist
laid down by Godfrey after he tells his secret to Nancy and they come
to Silas to claim Eppie. This really helps add suspense and tension as
we know that rightfully the child is Godfrey Cass' but on the other
hand, Silas has looked after Eppie since she was just a baby and, as
he says, 'should I not be thought upon as the father, seeing as I am
the one she has called so since she could say the word?'

But then, finally it all ends in happiness for our main character, for
Eppie gets married but they live with Silas, the gold is returned and
everyone is happy…except the Casses; but while we feel slightly sorry
for Godfrey and Nancy, Elliot's writing helps us to feel that he did
somewhat deserve what he got and furthermore, at the end of the book
her writing helps draw our attention away from Godfrey and towards
Silas and therefore happiness.

The final way in which Elliot accounts for the changes that occur in
the novel, is the way in which she ties all the endings together in
the final part of the book; for throughout the novel there are so many
separate dramas and stories between characters that the novel is much
like a soap or a drama. But where it differs from a drama is in the
ending, because she manages to get all these interlocking dramas and
tie them all together to give an ending which we all are pleased with
and are therefore satisfied with the novel in general.

Therefore, to conclude, I would say that the ways in which George
Elliot accounts for the changes throughout the novel are effective in
creating a story which is interesting and above all satisfying to the
reader.
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