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How does George Eliot use Setting in Silas Marner?

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Introduction

Milandra McGrath 11v 2nd October 07 How does George Eliot use Setting in Silas Marner? Throughout Silas Marner a variety of different settings are used to create a location for the events that are taking place in the novel to happen. A common example of a setting used at numerous points in the novel is Silas Marner's stone cottage. Eliot uses setting in many ways: symbolism can be shown, for example Silas' stone cottage reflects his character; atmosphere can be created for events, for example the description of spring and flowers in relation to the wedding scene and also pathetic fallacy is used to create atmosphere and prepare for the events in the plot, for example the cold winter's night in relation to Molly Farren's death. All of these setting uses in Silas Marner can also help to illustrate the themes that are present within the novel. One of the most prominent of these themes is the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on the town and the country. Silas Marner's cottage is an example of symbolism and it reveals a large amount about his character and personality. In Chapter 1 his cottage is described as being, 'a stone cottage'. ...read more.

Middle

There are two main points in the novel in which pathetic fallacy is used. The first is in Chapter 12 when Molly Farren dies. A New Year's Eve party full of celebration and joy is taking place at the Red House. At the same time as the party setting though, Eliot describes the setting of Raveloe on a cold winter's evening as Molly Farren is walking through the village. The weather is quite treacherous, 'snow-hidden ruggedness of the long lanes'. This quote highlights the harshness of the situation. The snow illustrates how that cold and damp atmosphere that Molly Farren is in. It would be very difficult for Molly to walk along slippery lanes while also trying to carry a small child. As the lanes are snow-hidden they would probably have been quite hard to see and Molly would have found it difficult to see exactly where she was going. Alliteration is used when describing the long lanes. This helps to exaggerate how long the roads are and how they give the impression that they are endless. The lanes are rough and uneven due to the use of the word ruggedness. All of these ideas combined create a vivid image of a woman stumbling along trying to find her footing on uneven paths. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Silas goes to visit Lantern Yard in Chapter 21 he is very surprised to see how much it has changed. What was once a close religious community has been lost and the chapel replaced by a factory. Through this disappearance of what Lantern Yard once was Eliot may be demonstrating the disruptive power of industrialisation, which has destroyed the old traditions and erases the memory of Silas' past. Here it seems that Eliot is portraying to the reader her negative feelings relating to industrialisation. Eppie's response to the town is, 'It's worse than the Workhouse'. The Workhouse was a public institution that housed and fed people who were unable to support themselves. It was considered a terrible place for anyone to go and signalled the end of the line. The idea that Eppie could say that Lantern Yard was worse than the Workhouse clearly shows what an awful place it has become. It is shown that the Industrial Revolution has caused the loss of close communities in Lantern Yard as Silas asks the brush-maker about people his old friends from Lantern Yard, but he even after living in Lantern Yard for ten years knows nothing of them. 1 ...read more.

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