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How does the community of Raveloe respond to Silas at key moments in the novel?

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Introduction

How does the community of Raveloe respond to Silas at key moments in the novel? The community of Raveloe responds to Silas differently at key moments during the novel. The community Silas moves into evolved from centuries of interdependence. The villagers depended on each other for everything. Raveloe is a remote village where everyone is suspicious of newcomers. The village community is proven to be dependent upon each other. The class structure in Raveloe consists of the working class and the upper class. Class divisions are very important, The villagers consider Squire Cass to be a bad father. The squires' sons also have problems, Godfrey loves Nancy Lammeter however his marriage to Molly, to whom he once had been attracted is a secret. Molly's lower social class would make her unacceptable to the proud Squire. The structure is shown through village custom, leisure, travel, dress and housing. The working class of Raveloe would often meet in the Rainbow the local pub for a drink and they did not often socialize with the upper class. At Christmas the working class would spend time with the family, whereas the upper class went to a ball at Squire Casses house. In addition the Upper class rode everywhere on horseback. When Dunstans horse dies and he has to walk he hoped that none of the villagers saw him because they would know that something was wrong. Some members of the upper class see themselves as superior, because others who were "every bit as refined as he," but had "slouched" their way through life with a consciousness of being in the vanity of their "betters", wanted the authoritativeness, which the squire had. ...read more.

Middle

Silas has only wanted his gold, now he discovers the warmth of the village community as they listen to his story. In turn, because he is half-crazed by his genuine distress, their attitude changes and they react with caring concern. Silas was somewhat forced to interact with the community (for the curing of Sally Oates had been done out of choice not force). Silas' first instinct was to sit at his loom and weave; this was his "strongest assurance of reality". When Silas did not know what else to do to find his gold, his decision to tell the people of Raveloe let them know that Silas was not the callous man they had pictured him to be. The community was reassured when they realized that "folks as had the devil to back 'em were not likely to be so mushed". The fact that he was completely distraught at the thought of his gold never returning to him caused people to sympathize with him and believe he was neither inhumane nor possessed by the devil. Unconsciously there was a growth occurring within Marner; due to the loss of his gold he had made contact with people to whom he had never before spoken and had given them reason to believe he was not the unfeeling man they had thought him to be. When the villagers begin to help Silas it shows that they believe in doing the right thing. By helping Silas, even though he has not helped them in any way, this proved that the villagers are kind, considerate people. ...read more.

Conclusion

The villagers of Raveloe offer to help out with Eppie and are interested in seeing how Silas will cope. The village is isolated from the rest of the world because in the 19th Century very few people traveled or communicated with people outside their community. People were uneducated so tried to explain things they knew nothing about by saying it was supernatural. It meant people were superstitious and thought that this was a reasonable explanation. The century was ending when 'Silas Marner' was written which brought enormous changes in every area of life. A topical cause of unrest, urban social conditions, is mentioned when Silas and Eppie try to visit Lantern Yard. The vast changes brought by the industrial revolution caused hardship, which is hinted in the description of the "great manufacturing town" and a "dark ugly place". Indeed Eppie can hardly believe "any folks lived i' this way, so close together". Silas had worked in town which he was unable to recognize thirty years later so he stops "several people in succession" to check its name. The contrast with the pleasantly situated and "important looking" village of Raveloe, with its closely-knit and co-operative community, is shown by Eppie's "distress" when she visits Lantern Yard. She is "ill at ease" with the "multitude of strange indifferent faces". The people are not interested in strangers. Unlike Raveloe, there is little curiosity in people or in events. In the book at three key events the community of Raveloe respond to Silas differently. These events show a progression from Silas being a miserly outsider when he first arrived, to a valued member of the community after adopting Eppie. Helen Payton ...read more.

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