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george elliot

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English Coursework: How does George Eliot Present her Views on the Rural and Urban Communities? 'Silas Marner' was written during the Industrial Revolution. At this time, there was much movement of people from villages into towns because of the high availability of jobs. Silas' journey begins in the urban community of Lantern Yard and ends in the small village of Raveloe. Mary Anne Evans, under the pseudonym George Eliot, expresses her views on rural and urban life throughout the novel. The events that occur in each community are quite similar although Eliot presents their reactions as very different. Lantern Yard is a community within a town. We recognise that the church is at the centre of the community and therefore very powerful. We also learn that everybody in the community is part of the church. There is also a sense of a duty towards the church; Eliot says that the ill deacon was 'tended by the younger brethren and sisters'. This does not suggest a voluntary urge to care, but more of a duty that is owed to the community. The Lantern Yard community gave most of their salary to the church and good works and this left them just enough to live on. This reinforces the duty that is owed to the church. The community held 'bible meetings' and their lives were full of 'mental activity.' ...read more.


Even though Silas was a part of the community, they were still insensitive and turned against him. This suggests that the community desert him when he is really in need of sympathy and warmth. As a result of this, Silas has lost faith in his community, in his religion, in his best friend and in people. In Raveloe, the villagers were very reasonable when Silas reported the robbery of his money. The landlord of the inn is patient and asks Silas to 'speak it out sensibly.' He defends Jem by saying he was the 'decentest man in the parish.' Unlike Lantern Yard, the villagers used their knowledge of Jem as a person to defend him. Mr Macey in the pub says to Silas that he must not 'accuse the innocent.' This is a very logical and calm way of thinking as opposed to Lantern Yard's quick accusations and false assumptions. The fact that Mr Macey is just a simple villager adds to the fact of how calmly and sensibly the villagers deal with the robbery. This reaction is a huge contrast with the Lantern Yard reaction as the villagers were all very sympathetic towards Silas and they wanted to help him. The villagers then dealt with the situation in a calm and orderly manner, with the landlord 'appointing the sensiblest men' to help Silas and instructing villagers to 'examine the premises.' ...read more.


This suggests that there was hardly any change happening and that old traditions always lingered. The change that occurs in Raveloe is a good change as it is a more sustainable method of farming and allows Raveloe to survive in a changing world. In conclusion, Eliot shows that although the town seemed like the modern forward thinking community, it still failed to see Silas' innocence. You would expect an educated society to use proper trials and a just system but their methods of trial still depended upon chance, which is obviously the most uneducated way. Although Lantern Yard had an ordered lifestyle, Eliot shows that this way of life stripped them of their warmth, feeling and instinct. Raveloe on the other hand, is conveyed as warm and with a genuine caring for Silas' well being. The villagers are portrayed as simple minded and humble but seem to have the sensitivity and true kindliness that Lantern Yard lacks. Eliot tries to show that perhaps more traditional, simpler ways of living are better than modernised, forward ways of living. She breaks boundaries of education and religion to prove that despite having hardly an education and being simply religious, the villagers were the better people. Throughout the novel, the reader's sympathy lies with Raveloe, feeling that it was the community that supported Silas Marner through difficult times and deserved to survive the Industrial Revolution. Inevitably, at the end it is Raveloe that survives and Lantern Yard we see swept away in the tide of Industrialisation. ...read more.

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