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How far is "Silas Marner" a product of its time?

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Introduction

How far is "Silas Marner" a product of its time? George Elliot has given the villagers of Ravaloe the typical strongly knit community characters. In the early nineteenth century, a person's village or town was all-important, providing the sole source of emotional support. She elaborates on the fact that they all know each other and know one another's place, "the more important customers, who drank spirits and sat nearest the fire", "the beer-drinkers, chiefly men in fustian jackets and smock-frocks". She also gives them the well known farmers accent as well "Some folks 'ud say that was a fine beast you druv in yesterday, Bob?'' All this creates the image of a close community who don't like change and where small changes happen they have an effect on Ravaloe's conversation "Every one of Mr. Macey's audience had heard this story many times, but it was listened to as if it had been a favourite tune, and at certain points the puffing of the pipes was momentarily suspended". ...read more.

Middle

The community of Lantern Yard is united by religious faith, and Ravaloe is likewise introduced as a place in which people share the same set of superstitious beliefs. When Silas loses his faith, he is isolated from any sort of larger community. Silas' regained faith differs from his former Lantern Yard faith in significant ways. His former faith was based first and mostly on the idea of God. When he is unjustly charged with murder, he does nothing to defend himself, trusting in a just God to clear his name. The faith Silas regains through Eppie is different in that it is not even explicitly Christian. Silas does not mention God in the same way he did in Lantern Yard, but bases his faith on the strength of his and Eppie's commitment to each other. In his words, "since ... I've come to love her ... I've had light enough to trusten by; and now she says she'll never leave me, I think I shall trusten till I die." ...read more.

Conclusion

When Godfrey dreams of a life with Nancy, he sees himself "with all his happiness centred on his own hearth, while Nancy would smile on him as he played with the children." Even in a public place such as the Rainbow, the villagers' importance is measured by how close they sit to the fire. Initially, Silas shares his hearth with no one, at least not intentionally. However, the two intruders who forever change Silas' life, first Dunsey and then Eppie, both drawn in by Silas' glowing fire. Silas' cottage can never be entirely separate from the outside world, and the light of his fire attracts both misfortune and redemption. In the end, it is Silas' hearth that feels the warmth of family, while Godfrey's is childless. Silas Marner is a product of its time because it represents things like religion, loss and regaining of faith, also the industrial revolution. It shows life in the 18th century very specifically with typical villagers used and suspicions to create a very imaginative picture of who, what, and where is going on. ...read more.

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