The following example essay on “Silas Marner” is a literary analysis of the work of the English writer George Eliot. The essay focuses on the main theta of the novel and the storyline.
George Eliot, which is the pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, was a prolific writer during the 19th century and could also translate German and was interested in philosophy. The book, Silas Marner, was written at a time of great demographic change and during the industrial revolution in 1861. In the book she uses many different and superlative techniques, such as breaking up the story between passages of moralising and narrative, to convey to the reader, the settings and details of Silas Marner’s journey
The Story is set mainly in Raveloe, although it also describes Lantern Yard when we learn about Silas’s past.
Raveloe is a rural community, which may have a biological link to Eliot’s home, the Arbury estate in Warwickshire, full of rich people, some of whom didn’t even need to be good farmers to earn their living with surplus left over.
The village held a nostalgic view of life and were bewildered by the concept of Silas’s profession, weaving. They were confused by how thread was made into clothing and were suspicious of the newcomer, Silas, Because of this they thought he was in league with the devil.
However, the other environment depicted is Lantern Yard, which was Silas’s home town before he was expelled. Lantern Yard is a poor artisan community and even the name suggests that is a place which is dark where no one goes.
However the inhabitants are all close friends and all gather together for the church services.
In chapter 1we learn that Silas is pallid, because he doesn’t much, and short sighted , the result of day-to-day weaving. His most distinctive feature are his eyes, which are bulging, making people afraid because they thought he had the “evil eye”, this evil eye makes him seem alienated to us. However his eyes also described as ” eyes which have a deer like gaze” which portrays to us, his innocence and that he is vulnerable about herbs, which makes people think he is practising witchcraft, but is also very san and honest, because of the way he doesn’t take advantage of the fact that the citizens of lantern yard think he has “risen from the dead”
In Chapter 1 we also learn about Silas’s catalepsy, first discovered by Jem Rodney, who is a mole catcher, which leaves him in a state of temporary suspension of physical and psychological . His catalepsy plays an important role in the book because whebn he was still in Lantern Yard, the villages thought he had come back from the dead and treated him like a celebrity afterwards, but catalepsy then allows William Dane to steal the deacon’s money. However, in Raveloe they thought his soul had left his body to trained by the devil,w hich makes the villages suspicious of him even more.
Lantern Yard meant a lot to Silas as it was the framework of his life and supplied him with attendance of church service and a social circle, which is lost when he settles at Raveloe. Back at Lantern Yard when he was morally scrupulous and didn’t take advantages of tempting situations. Part of Silas’s social circle was William Dane, who was his best friend, but we soon learn to be cautious of him when Eliot describes him to be “dazzled by his own light”, which would have been recognized by the Victorian audience as a reference to Lucifer, but also of the fact that he had narrow slanting eyes and compressed lips.
When William Dane had stolen the deacon’s money, the members of the Lantern Yard sect blamed it on Silas, because of Silas’s catalepsy, he suffered the full consequences of the incident and was expelled. By being expelled from the sect he lost the very framework and foundation of his life and also lost his friends and fiance. This whole tragic experience left Silas without religion as well, as he calls God the “God of lies”.
After we discver about the escapade at Lantern Yard ,we learn the reason why Silas chooses to settle in Raveloe. He chose Raveloe because it was nothing like Lantern Yard in terms of community and landscape, this helped him to forget about the painful experiences of Lantern Yard and in Raveloe he believed that he had escaped the “god of lies” who betrayed him. The location of Silas’ cottage is also very significant, because it is “not far from the edge of a deserted stone-pit” which serves as both a narrative and symbolic function. It is symbolic because the graveyard is barren and dead just like him because no one knows him.
Towards the end of the chapter we learn about Silas’s affection towards the gold, which he has earned from all his weaving. The gold plays an important role in the story and it also means a lot to Silas because “they” are his surrogate friends would now. Gold also never loses its value which is important to Silas as this meant his “friends” wouldn’t lose their worth like William Dane did.
Eliot cleverly use natural imagery to describe Silas’s way of life and also his state of mind, she shows us with this imagery that Silas’s work are now his life and almost nothing meant more to him now.