Free download of Silas Marner by George Eliot. Available in PDF, ePub and Kindle. Read, write reviews and Book Description HTML. Download the FREE . PDF version of Silas Marner by George Eliot. Download the FREE e-Book version of English author George Eliot's classic story about a linen weaver who. THE NOVEL THE PLOT Silas Marner, a linen-weaver, works in his solitary cottage by a stone-pit outside the English village of Raveloe. In a flashback, you learn.
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In the early years of this century, such a linen-weaver, named Silas Marner, .. words in his hymn-book knows nothing of abstractions; as the little child knows. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Silas Marner by George Eliot. No cover available. Download; Bibrec. Silas Marner by George Eliot. Adobe PDF icon. Download this document as a. pdf: File size: MB What's this? light bulb idea Part 3 · Part 4 · Book of the day.
When she learns that Dunstan was a thief, she feels a proper sense of family shame, which she imagines Godfrey feels, too. What value does the past hold in this novel? This debate, like the earlier conversation among the company, contains some fine comic dialogue. Along with this is an irony of statement: The two of them go that night to Marner's cottage to claim Eppie.
His thoughts fly back longingly to Lantern-Yard, picturing the chapel and hearing the familiar service again. Already Eliot is foreshadowing the attachment to Eppie which will be his salvation. Eliot, however, thought there should be room on Earth for many different religions. Eliot the psychologist reveals how young Silas Marner turns into that bent old man you saw earlier. First, he takes refuge in his work. Eliot compares him to a lower life form, a spider insect imagery , especially apt because like a spider Silas weaves a web.
Osgood pays Silas in gold for the linen he weaves for her. Although Silas has no purpose for the coins, he likes them for physical reasons- they feel and look good. His old Puritan work ethic becomes transformed into a desire for the money itself. The new feeling grows like a plant, rooted in old feelings here is another major strand of imagery. The memory of his mother reminds him of his herbal medicines, and he treats Sally. In a place like Raveloe, however, there are few private deeds.
Eliot notes ironically that this deed, which might have forged human ties for him, only drove him farther away. He hides them in a hole in the floor, which Eliot shows you precisely. Some readers believe here that Silas feels his loom and his coins are alive.
Consider this as you read on. The familiar object felt like a real living thing to him. He grieves when it breaks, and he carries the pieces home to keep on a shelf. Before the chapter ends, Eliot gives you another detailed picture of Silas, weaving all day, caressing his coins at night. Literally, he never walks off the path on his daily journeys.
Metaphorically, his life has become like a dried-up rivulet, trickling through the sand. Squire Cass is the greatest man in Raveloe, she tells you, although her tone is ironic. She makes you aware that political conditions later brought this class to ruin, through their wasteful living habits and poor farming. Yet when she describes the generous feasts that people like Cass and Osgood hold, she paints a glowing picture of old-fashioned plenty.
The poor enjoy this bounty, too. Do you think Eliot approves or disapproves of this social system? What evidence supports your opinion? Lacking a mother, the Cass sons have turned out badly. Eliot lets you hear the village gossip about Dunstan and Godfrey. While Dunstan sounds thoroughly bad, Godfrey seems good-hearted. Now you meet the Cass brothers in person, so you can make up your own mind about them.
As Godfrey stands by the fire, the parlor around him defines his gloomy mood. Dunstan knows how to manipulate Godfrey, though. Dane was like a brother to Silas. What obvious contrasts, however, can you point to?
This is the first scene Eliot dramatizes directly. Afraid of their father, they blackmail each other. He thinks over the consequences of confession: Dunstan knows how to handle his brother. He sits back, waiting until Godfrey has cowardly talked himself out of this move. Godfrey realizes that he must sell his horse Wildfire to get the money. Which brother seems the stronger in this scene?
Which brother do you like better? Surprisingly, even though Godfrey is from the top rung of rural society, Eliot says he lacks culture. Typically, she tangles herself up in a long, indirect, abstract sentence to express this. Next Eliot explains how Godfrey got into this jam- Dunstan urged him on in his brief passion for Molly.
Read this passage carefully. Do you think Eliot blames him or excuses him for his mistakes? After all his soul-searching, he lets his mind slide back into bad habits and heads for the pub. Eliot shows his growing hardness as he pushes his dog aside. He decides to go on and sell Wildfire, though, for the fun of horse-trading and of hurting Godfrey.
At the hunt, he lies for the sake of lying. Maybe his vices are typical of this social class. Dunstan wangles a high price for the horse, as he expected.
But this good luck goes to his head. Instead, he takes Wildfire on the hunt. When he falls behind the other hunters, he rides recklessly. He pushes the horse to jump over a hedge, and Wildfire falls onto a sharp stake. All of his reasoning centers on what he can do next. It may remind you of scenes in movies in which swirling mist creates a sense of imminent danger. Eliot often uses weather to express a moral environment.
Watch the role that weather plays as the story moves on. Note the darkness and light imagery again. He decides to get started on it right now. The brightness and warmth inside are inviting, though, so Dunstan walks in and makes himself at home.
Dunstan, with upperclass prejudice, is surprised that Silas has pork roasting for dinner. Remember this when you see how the gentry eat.
He notices the pork roasting slowly, hung over the fire from a string attached to a door-key. Silas obviously has stepped out only for a moment. Dunstan thinks of the nearby stone-pit and leaps to the conclusion that Silas has fallen in. This is such an attractive idea that he assumes Silas is dead and starts to wonder where the money is.
Dunstan can only think of obvious hiding places, but Silas has chosen an obvious one. Dunstan notices a spot in the floor where the sand has been moved around. People scattered sand over their floors to absorb dirt back then. Look at how easy, almost accidental, this theft is.
Others see it as a sign that life is random, and that Silas is still a victim. He scoops up the gold, replaces the bricks, and slips outside. The darkness of night seems to be his element, now- he seeks refuge in it. Wait and see how things turn out.
He looks pathetic, huddled under a sack against the rain, but unlike Dunstan his mind is at ease. Eliot finds this ironic- the deed that will devastate him is already done. After a long convoluted sentence explaining this in the abstract, she gives examples from everyday life. What tone of voice do you hear her using here?
Silas innocently looks forward to his hot dinner. Eliot describes the chain of events carefully, showing how each decision- unimportant in itself- led to the robbery. In your opinion, does this make Silas responsible for what happens to him? Entering his cottage, he sees nothing unusual. The fire blazes as he moves around the room, putting his lantern, hat, and sack in their usual places.
As he adjusts the meat and settles near the warm hearth, you view his face, lit by the fire. You see him as the villagers do- skinny, bug-eyed, and pale. Silas decides to give himself his nightly pleasure of looking at his gold.
Watch the shifting value of gold in this chapter. Have you ever lost or broken something valuable? If so, you may understand this sense of stunned disbelief. He feels around the hole again. He rocks back, looks feverishly around the room, and then puts his hands to his head and cries out. Finally, he staggers over to sit at his loom, the one comfort he has left.
Silas tries to think clearly. He focuses on the idea of a thief, because he might get the gold back from a thief. Reasoning that his money had to have been taken that night, he searches outside in the rain and mud for footprints. For a moment, his hysteria surfaces and he fears a supernatural power at work- the same one that struck him down before- but he pushes that thought away and returns to the idea of a thief.
Naturally, he suspects people from the village and seizes upon one man, Jem Rodney, as the probable thief. Remember Jem Rodney- the poacher who discovered Silas having a fit once by the roadside? Because it relieves his mind, Silas invents evidence pointing to Jem. Eager for action, he runs out into the rain to summon the authorities. Eliot explains the social hierarchy of the pub. The richer customers drink in one room, the parlor, while commoners gather across the hall in the kitchen.
Many English pubs today still have a refined saloon bar and a plainer public bar. The people of Raveloe seem to like this stratification. It is fluid, though. Does this seem confusing to you? If so, just think of how a stranger would react to the different cliques and social categories in your school.
You can see here figures side-lit by the fire, and pipe-smoke hanging in the air. Facial expressions are drawn dramatically. Social distinctions are clear in details of drink and clothing. Snell, the landlord, like a master of ceremonies, begins the conversation by speaking to his cousin the butcher.
As you read this scene, be aware of how slow it is, full of long pauses, repetitions, and rambling arguments. Today, people talk quickly, getting right to the point, and jump from topic to topic.
The butcher and the farrier blacksmith get into an argument over the breed of a slaughtered cow. Snell ends this pig-headed quarrel and shifts the topic to the Lammeter family, who owned the cow. He calls on the parishclerk Mr.
Macey, who sparks another quarrel with his new deputy Mr. The whole community cares about how Tookey does his job. They also care about music and the ritual of the church service. Originally, George Eliot wanted to write Silas Marner in verse.
She changed to prose because she felt the story would need humor. This chapter demonstrates the kind of humor she meant- based on funny personalities rather than wisecracks. Part of you may be laughing at these yokels, like the pompous farrier with his thickheaded arguments.
But another part of you may laugh with them- at the interplay of characters, the teasing banter, and the droll understatements, like Mr. Snell always restores harmony. Notice the several techniques she uses. Macey once more to tell his story about Mr.
Eliot wrote this long anecdote for another reason- to show how people in Raveloe regard aliens. The first Mr. Lammeter, like Silas, came from the outside world, which to Raveloers seems like another planet. But Mr. Lammeter fit in with their values. Note how outward forms and rituals are important.
The next story Macey tells is in direct contrast. Another outsider, a man named Cliff from London, owned the Warrens before the Lammeters. Though he was a tailor, he tried to move into the upper class notice how horses symbolize the upper class here. Not only did Cliff violate the Raveloe class system, he also rejected the dignity of his trade. One more element of the Raveloe mind surfaces in this story- superstition. Cliff was rumored to have a relationship with the Devil much as Silas is supposed to.
Not everyone in the pub believes in ghosts- the farrier, Mr. But this lively debate suggests that plenty of people in Raveloe do believe in ghosts. Belligerently, the farrier dares any ghost to come stand inside. At this moment, Silas walks in. Eliot gently mocks their reaction to Silas, using insect imagery again, in their curious quivering antennae. Their minds still running on ghosts, the men look at him as if he were one. Then Mr. Snell, as the host, addresses Silas.
Silas replies in broken, agitated phrases, calling for the authorities. He injects a note of tragedy into this comic evening. When Silas accuses Jem Rodney, Jem seems more annoyed than afraid. Eliot moves inside his mind to describe the effect of this. Everyone chimes in with his own opinion.
And Mr. Macey, who believes in authority, starts talking about the proper legal proceedings. The force of memory is important for George Eliot.
He tried to forget his past in Lantern-Yard, but remembering it is good for him now, giving him compassion for Jem. Silas is jolted by Mr. Officiously, Dowlas lays out the procedure for inspecting the premises and offers to serve as a deputy.
How would the men of your neighborhood act if a local eccentric came running to them wildly for help? Of course, the men get bogged down in another silly quarrel, over whether the farrier can serve as a deputy.
Imagine Silas sitting there, shivering and waiting for them to resolve this dispute. How would you feel in his place? In the morning, however, Godfrey is swept up in the news about Silas, just as everyone else in town is. Think about hometown crime cases that are covered on your local television news. They unfold with new evidence daily. This is what happens in Raveloe.
Eliot reports the tides of gossip with irony. Everyone has his or her own theory of the case. Macey thinks the Devil stole the gold, but when Mr. The other constables respond to this theory eagerly- aliens like gypsies are logical criminal suspects to them. Somehow, the question of whether the gypsy was wearing earrings becomes crucial.
And of course all this discussion takes place at the Rainbow, giving the men an excuse to congregate there. How do you think Silas regards all this activity? At this point, Godfrey appears at the Rainbow. Then he rides away from the village. Yet Godfrey sees Dunstan as lucky, because he walked away unhurt from the accident. Riding home, Godfrey sorts out his position.
He feels, too, that he should confess everything, including his marriage. But he has practical reasons for this: Molly herself might show up at the Red House soon. Have you ever gone back and forth like this over a question? Godfrey goes to sleep with good intentions, but he sees things differently the next morning.
His old habits of cowardly thought return to sap his resolve. But the real test is what a man actually does. What do you think Godfrey will say to his father? There is no hunger here- the table is spread with food- the Squire even has to take a morning walk to work up an appetite. He drinks ale for breakfast, too, which villagers only do on holidays. She claims this comes from having gone through life believing he was better than the people around him.
Eliot believed that human characters are formed by their environments. His grumbling makes it hard for Godfrey to start his confession. Finally, Godfrey blurts out his problem about the lost rent money. The Squire flies into a rage, just as Godfrey expected. Instinctively, the Squire zooms in on the crux of the question- why did Godfrey lend Dunstan the money in the first place?
In a rage, he threatens to disinherit them and start a new family. He warns Godfrey that Godfrey would benefit from helping the property be run better.
Silas, in contrast to Godfrey, seems to have no father. As you read on, look for other examples of good and bad fathers. This scene is dramatized to focus on Godfrey. What is your opinion of Godfrey here? Some readers point out that he does tell the first half of his story honestly. The more you see of Squire Cass, these readers feel, the more you pity Godfrey. In the midst of this scene, he wishes his father had disciplined him more. Other readers, however, think Godfrey has no excuse.
But feel the pressure Godfrey is under, from his father and from his own desire for Nancy, while he can only evade the issue.
The Squire ends this discussion abruptly, ordering Godfrey around like a servant. Casually, he disowns Dunstan- for the time being, at least. Godfrey escapes from the room, but is his position improved? Lammeter about Nancy. He hopes, however, that good fortune will keep him out of trouble. Eliot asks you to look at this impulse as a universal human reflex. Mockingly, she describes the vain efforts to find the gypsy peddler.
You know Dunstan disappeared after robbing Silas. To some readers, this is a flaw in the plot. Yet Eliot explains that Godfrey is too blinded by an image of Dunstan off enjoying himself.
Do you find this part of the plot believable? His loss has made him more shrunken and withered than ever. Silas feels cut off from life- yet life is beginning to reach out to him.
His loss has changed his reputation in town; now people feel sorry for him. Her first dramatized example is of Mr. Macey, stopping by the cottage to chat. Listen to his typical thoughtless speech as if you were Silas- which phrases would make you wince? Silas, however, sits there dumbly, too crushed to respond. The next caller, Dolly Winthrop, is more sensitive.
Her role in Raveloe is as a nurse, mourner, and sympathizer. Going to church is important for Raveloers because it is neighborly. This forms a bond with others in the community. Notice how important the outward forms of church-going are to both of them.
How are they different? How are they alike? A need for other people is faintly stirring in Silas. Dolly offers him her homemade lard-cakes, speaking gently. Dolly is surprised that Silas can read the letters she traced on the tops of theI. Dolly has brought her little boy Aaron with her, and Silas quietly offers him some cake. Dolly leaves, with a last bit of advice to give up working on a Sunday.
Silas is relieved to be left alone. Eliot paints a bleak picture of his lonely Christmas day. He is now at his lowest point. In comparison, the villagers have a merry Christmas, full of traditional celebrations. Only Godfrey looks forward to the party with conflicting emotions.
Eliot dramatizes this in a dialogue between hopeful Godfrey and his demon Anxiety. He seems literally split in two. Compare Silas and Godfrey at this point. Which do you feel sorrier for? Eliot tries not to idealize Nancy. As you read the rest of this chapter, however, you may see why some readers regard Nancy as too good to be true. More than that, she disapproves of his reputation. Her pride tells her she deserves a good man like her father.
Nevertheless, when Godfrey lifts her off the horse, her emotions go into a tailspin. The great houses were far apart, so guests had to ride long distances over bad roads. Parties therefore lasted a good while, to make it worth the trip. Ladies sent their party dresses ahead and changed out of muddy riding clothes when they arrived.
Men wore long-tailed dinner jackets and short, tight trousers. The Lammeters are greeted by Mrs. Upstairs, Nancy meets her other aunt, dignified Mrs. Her son Gilbert is the cousin whom Nancy refused to marry.
Osgood has brought to the party the two Miss Gunns. The only flaw they see is her rough hands. This accent, however, distinguishes Nancy from the Miss Gunns. Ironically, they too have an accent- but they think theirs is the right one. How is this trivial prejudice related to the religious prejudices in the previous chapter? Although the Miss Gunns dwell on this difference, Eliot remarks that Nancy is more of a lady than they are, despite her lack of education. Next you see Nancy beside another Raveloe lady, her sister Priscilla.
Priscilla definitely talks like a coun- try girl. The same dress that makes Nancy look lovely makes Priscilla look sallow and dumpy. Nancy, however, insists that as sisters they should dress alike. What does this tell you about Nancy? Priscilla does have common sense. Downstairs at tea, Nancy reflects that marrying Godfrey would make her mistress of this house. While Godfrey and Nancy sit silently, highly conscious of each other, the rest of the party comes alive.
Squire Cass is in a loud, merry, patronizing mood. Lammeter sits in self-contained dignity. Kimble busily chats to everyone in the room. Even Dr. Kimble is not a great doctor- he inherited his practice.
Imagine how Godfrey and Nancy feel as they sit here. Music, which is so important to Raveloe, is introduced by white-haired Solomon Macey, the fiddler. He respects the gentry but he respects his music, too, and it gives him a special role.
He plays the tunes people expect to hear, old songs rich in memories. Music gives him power over them, like a Pied Piper, as he leads the party into the parlor to dance. Not only are all the gentry here, selected villagers round out the scene.
An elaborate social ritual is at work, which everyone seems to enjoy. From this quarter, you get another view of Nancy and Godfrey. An accident fate or bad luck?
Godfrey tries to tell Nancy he loves her. She rebuffs him coldly, firmly, but with a trace of hurt pride that gives him hope. Even after Priscilla arrives, Godfrey stays near, hanging on to these few moments with Nancy.
She wants revenge because he insulted her. His own actions brought on this impending doom. One side of Molly knows that her addiction to opium is to blame for her wretched life.
Yet the other side resents Godfrey for living better and blames him for her misery. Eliot reminds you that Molly is limited by her uncultured past. Throughout this commentary, however, Eliot also remarks that most of us react the same way Molly does to our own misery.
Molly, like Godfrey, lacks moral strength. In this scene, her weakness is conveyed in many ways. The falling snow literally makes her slow down and get lost. The snow also symbolizes her moral weakness, which makes it hard for her to get anywhere in life. Her addiction to opium is another weakness. She hesitates, knowing it will hurt her baby, yet she gives in to her selfish craving. The drug, however, makes her even weaker, and the snow soon completely numbs her.
But is she a good mother? Her child is ragged and hungry, a burden that she clutches automatically. On the other hand, there is a tender bond between them. Easily distracted, she sees a bright light and runs after it. Silas was out on a simple errand before. Ironically, he was looking out the door, hoping his gold would come back to him, just as the golden-haired child is heading toward the cottage. Why does he have a fit just then? When Silas comes out of his fit, he turns toward the fireplace.
Two logs have fallen apart and he pushes them together. What could this symbolize? His nearsighted eyes notice a gleam of gold on the hearth. Then the gold starts to move, to come alive he used to imagine his gold was alive. He touches it. It is not cold and hard, but soft and warm. He wonders if she is his little sister, come to him in a dream. This memory stirs long-dead emotions in him, and symbolically he also stirs the fire brighter.
More memories rush into his mind. When the little girl wakes, Silas is forced into action. He picks her up and instinctively hushes her cries. Taking care of her occupies his mind totally, the way weaving and counting his gold did. He awkwardly wrestles off her tiny, wet shoes. Finally, however, he realizes that she must have come in from outside. He tracks her footprints out into the cold night until he finds her mother, lying covered in snow. Godfrey immediately recognizes his own child.
In both scenes he appears like a ghost. Eliot shows you this scene on two levels: The ladies, however, press around Silas, naturally attracted to the pretty baby. Silas makes a startling announcement- that he plans to keep the child.
She does cling to him, trusting him more than the motherly women around her. Add To Cart 0. PDF Download Vendor: Classics for Comprehension Publication Date: Bring the Classics to Life. Related Products. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Sally Lloyd-Jones.
Have a question about this product? Ask us here. Ask a Question What would you like to know about this product? Connect With Us. He leads up to this by telling of his horse and of the rent money that he had given Dunstan; but he gets no farther, for his father explodes with anger, which leaves Godfrey in a worse position than ever. Silas is now treated with some consideration by his neighbors.
Dolly Winthrop, especially, visits Silas and tries to coax him into attending church, at least on Christmas. However, Silas finds no connection between local religious customs and those he knows of, and Christmas finds him at home as usual. Christmas and New Year's are the time of special festivals in Raveloe. The most important celebration is the New Year's dance at Squire Cass' home. There, Godfrey is unable to keep himself away from Nancy Lammeter, the girl he has always intended to marry.
Although he knows it is wrong, and that the news of his marriage must come out soon, he determines to enjoy himself with Nancy while he can.
Nancy, for her part, wants to marry Godfrey, but his strangeness has made her cool toward him, and when he asks her forgiveness, she says only that she will be glad to see anyone reform.
Meanwhile Godfrey's wife, Molly, has become determined to revenge herself for his treatment of her, and she sets out with their child to confront him at the dance. She loses her way in the snow, and at last she fortifies herself with opium, to which she has become addicted. The opium only makes her more drowsy, and Molly sinks down in the snow. Her child slips from her arms. It is attracted to a light that comes from the open door of Marner's cottage, where the weaver stands, unaware of the child's presence.
He has been looking out to see if his money might return and has been stricken by one of his fits. When he awakes, he sees gold by his hearth and thinks his money has come back, then he discovers that the gold is the hair of a child.
At last he overcomes his wonder enough to realize that the child has come in out of the snow, and there outside he discovers Molly's body. Silas takes the child and hurries to Squire Cass' house to get the doctor. His entrance causes Godfrey both fear and hope because he recognizes the child as his own, and he hopes that he may be free at last. He goes with Doctor Kimble and finds that the woman Marner found is indeed his wife and that she is dead.
The woman is buried that week, a stranger to everyone but Godfrey. Silas feels that the child has been sent to him, and he is determined to keep it. This determination causes even warmer feeling for him in Raveloe, and he is given much well-meant advice. Dolly Winthrop gives him real aid with the child and offers some old clothes that belonged to her son Aaron.
Godfrey is glad enough to have the child cared for. He gives money for its support but never claims it as his own. He finds that, unlike his gold, Eppie makes him constantly aware of the world and of other men. He gives her his wholehearted love, and everywhere he finds kindness from the other villagers. Sixteen years pass. Nancy and Godfrey are married, and Eppie has grown into a beautiful young woman. Silas is liked and respected in Raveloe. His life with Eppie has been close and happy, and Mr.
Cass have done much for them. Dolly Winthrop has become Eppie's godmother, and she is a close friend of Silas. The two of them have discussed his old problem at Lantern Yard and considered the great differences in religion between the two places. She has been told of her mother, but she knows nothing of any other father, and she cannot bear to be parted from Silas.
Godfrey and Nancy, however, are childless. Their one child died in infancy. Their childlessness is a great trouble to Godfrey, who has always wanted children. At one time he wished to adopt Eppie, but Nancy refused, feeling that it would be going against Providence to adopt a child when none was given naturally.
Nancy has tried to make up to Godrey in other ways, and their marriage has been happy but for this one thing. Godfrey was afraid to tell her that Eppie was his own child. On this particular Sunday, Nancy is thinking over these old problems when Godfrey becomes very much upset.
The Stone Pits near Marner's cottage are being drained, and Dunstan's body has been found there with Silas' gold. Godfrey is forced to tell Nancy that his brother was a thief. At the same time, his newfound honesty convinces him that all truths come out sooner or later, and he admits that Eppie is his own child. Instead of being disgusted with him, Nancy is sorry that she refused to adopt Eppie sooner. The two of them go that night to Marner's cottage to claim Eppie.
Eppie, however, does not wish to be claimed. Both she and Silas feel that no claim of blood can outweigh their years of life together.
She does not want to leave Silas nor to be rescued from her low station and the prospect of marriage to a workingman. At last Godfrey goes home bitterly disappointed. He feels that he is being punished now for his earlier weakness, but he is determined to try to do his duty at last and to do all he can for Eppie even though she has refused him. Now that he has his gold, Silas feels able to return to Lantern Yard to try to settle the matter of the old theft.
He goes there with Eppie, but they find everything changed. The chapel is gone, a factory set in its place. Only the prison is left to remind Silas that this was where he once lived. He returns home no more wise than when he set out; but he agrees with Dolly that there is reason to have faith in spite of the darkness of the past. Eppie and Aaron are married on a fine sunny day, with the wedding at Mr.
Cass' expense. The young couple come to live with Silas at his cottage, where the villagers join in agreement that Silas has been blessed through his kindness to an orphaned child.
He is an outcast from his original home and church and at Raveloe lives a lonely, miserly existence until his gold is stolen and a child comes to replace it.
She is found by Silas in his cottage after her mother dies in the snow outside. He raises her as his own daughter. Godfrey Cass Eppie's father. He regrets his secret marriage and wishes to marry Nancy Lammeter, but he lacks the moral courage to try to find any solution to his problems. He prefers to wait on chance. Nancy Lammeter Daughter of a wealthy landowner. She combines beauty with strength of character and high principles. She wishes to marry Godfrey but will not do so until she feels that he has reformed.
Dunstan Cass Godfrey's brother. Dunstan is vain, arrogant, and deceitful and appears to have no redeeming qualities. He robs Silas and disappears with the money until his body is found in the quarry.
He is alternately indulgent and overly strict. Priscilla Lammeter Nancy's sister, a plain-looking woman but not sensitive about it. She is direct and mannish in her actions and is able to laugh freely at herself.
Lammeter Father of Nancy and Priscilla. Molly Farren Godfrey's wife, once pretty but degraded by her addiction to opium. William Dane Silas' closest friend at Lantern Yard. He betrays Silas and marries the woman to whom Silas was engaged. Dolly Winthrop Wife of the wheelwright.
She gives Silas aid and advice with Eppie and becomes Eppie's godmother. Aaron Dolly's son, who later marries Eppie. Macey A tailor; he is one of the most engaging inhabitants of Raveloe and a leader of opinion among the lower classes.
Snell Landlord of the Rainbow; a peacemaker in all arguments. A good-natured, reticent man. Dowlas A farrier, or veterinarian; a strong believer in his own opinions, which usually differ from those of his neighbors. He thinks of himself as a strict rationalist.
Tookey Macey's assistant, the butt of much sarcasm from the other men. Ben Winthrop A wheelwright, Dolly's husband, a humorous man who enjoys the company and the drink at the Rainbow. Jem Rodney A poacher. At first, Silas suspects him of stealing his gold because Jem had once sat too long by Silas' fire. Solomon Macey A locally famous fiddler, brother of the tailor.
Osgood The uncle of Nancy and Priscilla, his sister having married Mr. Osgood She and Nancy are very close despite being related only by marriage. Crackenthorp Rector of the church at Raveloe. He sets an example in eating, drinking, and dancing, as well as in religious observances.
Crackenthorp "A small blinking woman who fidgeted incessantly. Kimble An apothecary, called "doctor" by tradition, although he has no diploma. He is Godfrey's uncle and godfather. Kimble Wife of the doctor and sister of Squire Cass. They come from higher society and are dressed in the height of fashion. Miss Ladbrook A less fashionable guest at the dance.
Paston Silas' old minister at Lantern Yard. Sarah The woman to whom Silas was engaged at Lantern Yard. Bob Cass One of Godfrey's two other brothers, in addition to Dunstan. Jane Nancy's serving maid after her marriage to Godfrey. They were distrusted by the local people because they were not "born and bred in a visible manner. His pale face and protruding eyes were fearful to small boys, and he was not much liked by their parents either, for there were rumors that Silas had strange powers.
Jem Rodney had seen him standing once as stiff as a dead man, but then he recovered and walked off. Moreover, Marner had cured Sally Oates when she was sick, and "he might cure more folks if he would.
Silas had come to Raveloe fifteen years earlier from a city to the north. There in Lantern Yard he had been a faithful member of a narrow religious sect, and his first fits of unconsciousness were seen as a mark of special grace. Silas was the friend of William Dane, a friendship so close that they were called David and Jonathon.
Even Silas' engagement to a young serving woman did not seem to chill that friendship. Only once William suggested that Silas' fit was a visitation of Satan, but Silas accepted the brotherly rebuke in pained silence. At this time, the senior deacon fell ill, and members of the congregation took turns tending him. During Silas' turn, the deacon died. Silas thought he appeared to have been dead for some time. Silas went to seek help and then later returned to his work. That day it was reported to him that a bag of money had been taken from the bureau by the deacon's bedside, and Silas' knife had been found there.
Furthermore, the empty bag was found in Silas' room. Silas remembered then that he had last used the knife to cut a strap for William, but he said nothing.
After further deliberation, the church members decided to draw lots to see whether Silas told the truth. The lots declared him guilty. At this, Silas declared that there was no just God, and accused William of the theft. He expected that Sarah would desert him too, and he retreated to his loom for refuge. Commentary Silas Marner is to a certain extent a historical novel--that is, the setting is a time already past when the book was written, "the days when the spinning-wheels hummed busily in the farmhouses.
This sentiment is intended to bring home the absurdity of some feelings that are found everywhere, although perhaps not in such extreme form. The general introduction narrows to certain men who are particularly suspect, the wandering linen weavers.
Then it is further narrowed to a concentration on one particular weaver, Silas Marner of Raveloe. Silas is seen through the eyes of the small boys of Raveloe, and the picture is a fearful one. This image tends to identify the reader with the impression already given and held by the local folk, that Silas is an untrustworthy character. Yet the impression is kept indefinite because we have already been shown that the Raveloe view is a faulted one.
Note the image used for the weavers--"remnants of a disinherited race. He is further referred to as "a dead man come to life again. Silas' unsociability is partly a result of his neighbors' distrust; partly it is a cause of it. In any case, this unsociability turns even his good deeds against him. When, out of honesty, he refuses to go into the business of providing charms, it becomes accepted that he has refused out of some evil purpose.
Having explained Silas' present life, Eliot skips back fifteen years to show the cause of his coming to Raveloe. Where the earlier material was an explanation as seen by Raveloe, the old life is seen from Silas' point of view.
It is a revelation of his true character that counterbalances the other impression. In this way, the reader is given a greater understanding than any of the characters possess and is able to comprehend both sides of the situation and to sympathize with all the characters.
Silas' acceptance of the doctrine of his sect and of the goodness of his friend William is utterly unquestioning. Ironically, they are referred to as David and Jonathon, for it was Jonathon who saved David from death at the hand of Saul, Jonathon's father see I Samuel, verses 18 ff. This Jonathon, instead of saving David, betrays him.
Silas' "expression of trusting simplicity" is contrasted to "the self-complacent suppression of inward triumph that lurked" in William's eyes. Silas feels betrayed by his God because he is unable to question the validity of doctrine that drawing of lots will establish guilt.
His life has been built around his church and his friend. Now these props vanish, and Silas has only his work to fall back on. His engagement was a part of his church life, and it seems only natural that it should vanish too.
The countryside is different, the church has little in common with that of his old sect, and even the old Power he has trusted in seems far away here. Then the coins seem to offer companionship. Silas comes to look forward to the evenings, when he can take pleasure in the brightness of his gold.
From his mother, Silas had learned the medicinal properties of herbs, and once he uses his knowledge to bring relief to a sick woman. For some time after that, he is beset by villagers wanting charms against disease or other evils.
Silas knows of no such charms, but his refusal is taken as mere ill-temper, and after that he is more alone than ever. His work and his gold draw Silas ever farther from contact with his neighbors.
Only once does anything happen to show that he has any affection left: Silas drops his old pot and saves the pieces as a memorial of its long service.
After that, there is only his money and his loom, and thoughts of them when he is away from home. He forgets his herbs; his life shrinks into the compass of his room. Commentary Once again Eliot uses a general beginning, presenting the proposition that "minds that have been unhinged from their old faith and love have perhaps sought this Lethean influence of exile, in which the past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories.
Such authorial addresses are a regular part of Eliot's technique, and they serve an important function in the novel. They are rarely intrusive, for it has been evident from the first that this is a "told" story. Eliot makes no attempt to hide behind the scenes. This openness is a standard technique of Victorian fiction, and it is a useful technique when used with the skill that Eliot shows.
The remarks draw the reader into the novel by connecting the fictional world with the real through the person of Eliot. They account for the "contemplative" air of the novel, for we are presented not only with the raw event but with the results of a long process of thought on the events. Silas' life is set as a test of the proposition that Eliot has presented. His old life at Lantern Yard is contrasted to the new life at Raveloe, where he feels "hidden even from the heavens. The present is certainly dreamy, for it takes no account of the life going on outside.
This period is the crux of Silas' life for the next fifteen years: This incident is seen from Silas' point of view, to show his reasons for refusing to aid other people who wanted charms and cures. We have already been shown that his reasons were not accepted by the community. The human contact that might have drawn Silas out finally isolates him completely.
It is this lack of companionship which turns him from his work to his gold as the interest of his life. Note that he does not desire wealth. To Silas, coins are friends to enjoy.
Recall from the first chapter the "bent, treadmill attitude" he assumes. He becomes almost a machine himself, certainly little better than a machine: The only sign of any human feeling left in him is his saving the bits of his ruined pot as a memorial, yet this is a hopeful sign. A contrast that Eliot emphasizes is that between the religious customs of Lantern Yard and of Raveloe. This contrast will be elaborated in later chapters, but already it is apparent that religion here is slack.
There is a church "which men gazed at lounging at their own doors in service-time. Note the nature images that Eliot uses. These compare a man to a tree or an insect, or the natural world to human society. Such images help to define the quality of the life of a person or of the community.
For example, in Raveloe, even the orchards look "lazy with neglected plenty. The old-fashioned country ways still hold, although prices are high and the farmers well-off.
The winter feasts are times of great merrymaking. Although the finest of these may be at Mr. Osgood's, possibly the greatest abundance is to be found at the Red House, home of Squire Cass, the greatest man of Raveloe.
The Squire's wife is long dead, and his sons have turned out rather ill. The second son, Dunstan, is "a spiteful jeering fellow," but Godfrey; the eldest, is well thought of.
However, there is talk that if he goes on as he has been, he may lose the hand of Nancy Lammeter. These two sons of the Squire are talking together in the parlor of the Red House. Godfrey has collected some rent money from a tenant and turned it over to Dunstan.
Now the Squire is threatening the tenant, and Godfrey must have the money. However, Dunstan is not inclined to repay it and says that he may have to tell the Squire that Godfrey has secretly married and now will not live with his "drunken wife. There is a hunt the next day at which there may be some buyers. Godfrey does not care to go, for he is looking forward to seeing Nancy at Mrs. Osgood's birthday dance the next day; and in any case he does not want to sell his horse.
However, he sees there is no other way, and at last he agrees to let Dunstan take the horse and sell it for him. With that, Dunstan leaves Godfrey to ruminate on the bitterness of his life. For years, Godfrey has wooed Nancy Lammeter, but in a moment of passion he had let himself be deluded into the marriage that is a blight on his life. Now he lives in fear that the marriage will be revealed to his father, who will surely disinherit him.
The worst effect would be to separate him from Nancy, whose presence is his only joy. The next morning, Dunstan sets off for the hunt.
As he passes Marner's cottage by the Stone Pit, he wonders why he has never thought to "persuade the old fellow" into lending his money. At the hunt, a man named Bryce buys the horse readily. However, instead of taking the horse in at once, Dunstan decides to follow the hunt. He takes one jump too many and kills the animal on a stake.
Dunstan is unharmed, but he does not relish the embarrassment of being caught walking. Since no one has seen him fall, he leaves the horse and sets out for home. Because walking is so abnormal to him, he carries his whip to keep his sense of reality. The whip is Godfrey's, but Dunstan has brought it because it makes a better show than his own.
It is becoming dark and misty as Dunstan nears Raveloe. Near the Stone Pits, he again comes on Marner's cottage. He is reminded of the miser's money, and he decides to stop in and borrow a lantern and perhaps discuss this money question. He finds the cottage door open and goes in. A bit of meat is cooking over the fire, so the weaver has not gone far. Dunstan wonders whether the old man is dead. If so, no one would need his money. With that, Dunstan forgets that the weaver may not be dead.
He quickly discovers the money in its hiding place under the brick hearth. He replaces the bricks and carries the bags out the door, closing it behind him and stepping off into the darkness. Commentary The people of Raveloe hold by their own scale of values, for they have never had the opportunity to compare themselves to the rest of the world.
Squire Cass is a great man because he has "a tenant or two. Osgood's family is considered to be "of timeless origin. Raveloe is "aloof from the currents of industrial energy and Puritan earnestness. As in the preceding chapters, the general background serves as an introduction for specific characters. The members of the Cass family are viewed swiftly, and their particular problems are mentioned in a conversational way, as the subject of Raveloe gossip.
The implied contrast between Eliot's view and that expressed by Raveloe gives an ironic evaluation of this family whose greatness seems to consist of "a monument in the church and tankards older than King George. The scene is further narrowed to Godfrey and Dunstan. In the course of their discussion, they furnish the reader with the news of Godfrey's marriage.
This information gives the reader a further advantage over the inhabitants of Raveloe: Eliot gives her own estimate of Godfrey's character--"natural irresolution and moral cowardice"--but she modifies it by revealing his thoughts and emotions.
These show that he is at least kindhearted and uneasy in his conscience. His dilemma is presented so clearly that some sympathy is necessary. The facts of Godfrey's marriage are never given. We know only that "it was an ugly story of low passion, delusion, and waking from delusion.
He is made to look even better by introducing him at the same time as Dunstan, for Dunstan lacks all of Godfrey's redeeming features. It is not an all-pervasive evil, but more a byproduct of his arrogance. He enjoys hurting Godfrey. He takes "delight in lying, grandly independent of utility. A long passage is presented entirely from his point of view, and his own thoughts are the surest way to expose his arrogance.
He has little good to think of anyone but himself, whom he considers "a lucky fellow," both "daring and cunning. He takes care that he should look important because he fears the opinion of others. When he stakes Wildfire, he feels "a satisfaction at the absence of witnesses to a position which no swaggering could make enviable.
When he covers the name, no one can see that it is Godfrey's. Dunstan cares only for appearances. The inner reality, the covered name, is nothing to him, which is also the case with his theft of Marner's gold: Dunstan does not call it theft.
He goes from the idea of borrowing to the idea that Marner may be dead. Reality escapes his consideration. In contrast to this, Godfrey is always painfully aware of the truth of his situation, even though he keeps up a false front.
Godfrey's whip serves a double function here. Dunstan takes it because it is impressive--thus the act of taking it is an indication of his character.
But the whip is closely connected with Godfrey himself because it bears his name. It may be symbolic that this whip is of value, whereas Dunstan's own is not. Eliot never strays far from sympathy with her characters, whatever their condition, but she is well aware of the men whose lives are a round of drink, hunts, and stagnant thoughts.
One of the things said in Godfrey's favor is that he is struggling to stay above that. However, his family environment pulls him down. The importance of the family in shaping lives is recognized in the contrast between the Lammeter and Cass households, a contrast that is carried on through the book. Here the "neatness, purity, and liberal orderliness" of the Lammeters is set against the Cass household, which has "more profusion than finished excellence" in provisions and more idleness than moral strength in its sons.
Even after their marriage, it is Nancy who will provide the order in Godfrey's household, which is one thing that Godfrey longs for: Some minor points should be noted for future reference.
The future is foreshadowed in Dunstan's advice to Godfrey to get in Nancy's graces, as "it 'ud be saving time if Molly should happen to take a drop too much laudanum some day and make a widower of you. Miss Nancy wouldn't mind being a second, if she didn't know it. Notice that Silas' door opens to Dunstan's touch, although it appeared to be locked. When Dunstan becomes afraid that he is lost, he feels the ground before him, for he knows there are pits in the area.
Once he has taken the gold, he becomes fearful and closes the door behind him "that he might shut in the stream of light. Dunstan recalls that "people always said he lived on mouldy bread, on purpose to check his appetite.
Here Godfrey is referred to as "an uprooted tree," which, in context, applies to the possibility of his being disinherited, and the image lends reality to his helplessness in such a situation. But Godfrey is like an uprooted tree in other ways: His marriage is compared to disease in a plant--it is "a blight on his life.
The war "was felt to be a peculiar favour of Providence towards the landed interest" because England was short of food and no grain could come in from the continent, which Napoleon had closed off.
Therefore, grain prices were high and even bad farmers prospered. He feels no alarm at having left his door unlocked because there has never been any need for a lock previously. He has been out after a piece of twine he needs for his work the next day, and now he is looking forward to his supper. That supper is a piece of meat tied to its hanger with a string and his door key, which is the reason he failed to lock the door. Silas comes in and warms himself by the fire.
He sees nothing amiss because his eyes are weak. Not until he decides to count his gold before supper does he finds anything wrong. The bricks are all in place, but the hole under them is empty. At first, Silas does not believe the gold is gone: Yet at last he must face the truth. Then Silas cries out in anguish. Silas does not know when a thief might have come. There are no tracks. He fears that it may not have been a thief, but some unseen power that delights in tormenting him. The thought of a human thief is almost a comfort to him then, and he recalls that the poacher Jem Rodney once lingered too long by the fire when he stopped to light his pipe.
Silas comes at last to the idea that the robber must be caught. He does not wish to punish anyone, but he wants his gold back. He sets off for the village to proclaim his loss so that someone can recover the stolen money. Commentary There is no attempt to build any suspense as to whether Silas will catch Dunstan in the cottage.
This casualness is typical of Eliot's understated plots: Instead, Eliot uses the incident as the source of a generalization about the human condition. In turn, this generalization becomes the source of a metaphor to make Silas' trustfulness seem natural. Silas expects that a thing will not occur because it has not occurred before, just as "it is often observable that the older a man gets, the more difficult it is to him to retain a believing conception of his own death.
This instance is the first of several coincidences that are often pointed out as "unrealistic. Rather, the robbery arises strictly from what we might expect to be normal activities for these two characters.
Little attention is paid to the exact details of Silas' life. We learn that he rarely has meat for supper and that twine is required in his work, but there is no concentration on the physical aspects of his life or work. Eliot stresses the psychological and moral nature of character rather than external circumstances. Plot and symbolism are subtly combined in a single sentence that is easily overlooked--Silas' hypothetical question, "What thief would find his way to the Stone-pits on such a night as this?
There may be a further connection with the image used for Silas' own fear when he discovers the robbery: The stone on which Silas seeks his footing is the belief that he may only have misplaced the gold.
When he finds that this cannot be true, he turns almost hopefully to the thought that a thief has come: Silas reacts in exactly the same way--the mainstay of his emotional life is removed, and he turns to his work for support.
It is ironic that Silas fears he is dreaming only when the dream has been stolen. That his reactions here are a result of his earlier troubles gives greater continuity and depth to Silas' character. This thought is stated directly: He is at the depth of his exile: Osgood's birthday dance. The conversation there has begun slowly this evening, with a mild argument between the farrier and the butcher over a cow that the butcher had slaughtered the day before.
The landlord settles the dispute by declaring that they are both right and both wrong. However, the ownership of the cow by Mr. Lammeter leads the landlord to ask Mr. Macey to recall when Mr. Lammeter's father first came to Raveloe.
Macey, before beginning the tale, directs some jibes at his assistant, Mr. Macey and Ben Winthrop, leader of the church choir, aim some heavy humor at Tookey for his out-of-tune singing. The landlord again decides the point by allowing that everyone is right and everyone wrong.
He then directs the conversation back to the subject of Mr. Lammeter's father. This time, Macey stays on his subject, pausing now and then to admit the customary questions at the usual places. He recalls that the elder Mr. Lammeter came to Raveloe from "a bit north'ard," bringing his sheep with him. He married the sister of Mr. Osgood and settled at the Warrens. He decided "it isn't the meanin', it's the glue.