Silas Marner Study Guide

Silas Marner Study Guide

Original title:
Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe

The story of Silas Marner by George Eliot goes all the way through from heartbreaking to heartwarming. The story is full of both realistically depicted issues of the rural society of that time and humor and hope that gradually help Silas (and us) find consolation and rebuild life anew. The story starts at its lowest: Silas Marner is falsely accused of theft and the society ostracizes him, leaving the poor weaver to live in misery and shame, alone. Being excluded from the religious community of his native town Raveloe hits him really hard, gradually turning him into an embittered and greedy workaholic, a lighter version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Things get worse while Silas gets robbed and left with nothing, his only sense of life taken away by some criminals. But the new hope emerges from the ruin: an orphaned child girl seeks a shelter in his home.

This novel is much more than just an average story with aesop about being kind. It features lots of the characters entangled in the past as much as Silas Marner himself. While seeking for his new sense of life and ability to care about others, which were lost long ago, the protagonist and his stepdaughter find themselves in the middle of the personal tragedies of others. The smooth facade of Raveloe covers too much repressed pain that needs to be exposed - and healed. This is indeed the story about kindness - but it is also about truth, bravery and the real human relationship, the feelings that should not be repressed by the dictate of conservative society but interweave with its life.

Silas Marner is the most favourite novel of George Eliot and we can easily understand why. It depicts the rural life in all its aspects, from ugly to beautiful ones - but still leaves us with the feeling of hope and understanding that people of Raveloe are wonderful, though some of them are too troubled to show it.

New Essays

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