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How far would you agree that "Silas Marner" is a simple morality tale? Do you feel that it has a message for a modern audience?

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Introduction

SILAS MARNER English Coursework How far would you agree that "Silas Marner" is a simple morality tale? Do you feel that it has a message for a modern audience? I see a morality tale as a story or fable that is designed and constructed purely in order to put across a strong moral message, which is cleverly woven into a story which would appeal to readers. This story may be a representation of real life like Silas Marner, or instead, just metaphors for life in general. The word "simple", however, implies that the fable perhaps doesn't get right to the heart of the characters or the plot, possibly not describing anything in great detail, but achieving its primary aim of preaching a moral message nonetheless. "Silas Marner" has many aspects which could be seen as a "morality tale", however there are also other elements which I believe do not conform to this. George Eliot lived from 1819 to 1880, a time when the Romantic period was flourishing. The Romantics, for example William Wordsworth and Emily Bronte, had a very strong set of beliefs which would have naturally influenced the context of Eliot's novels. These ideas included the belief that man has the ability to be good, and if you are taken away from nature, and natural impulses, then you become almost unnatural. In this particular novel, Silas Marner is the character that puts across these views on life. ...read more.

Middle

However, I wouldn't go as far to say that "Silas Marner" is a "simple" morality tale. The reason being that despite the fact that the main plot line is extremely moralistic, many aspects of the plot are more complex than would be expected for a simple tale. For example, at the beginning of the novel, we are introduced to two distinct plots. Firstly, Silas and his move to Raveloe, and secondly, the Cass family and their troubles. These plots then collide later on, after Dunstan Cass steals Silas' gold, which then allows the reader to observe how the characters react. Not only are there two plots, but they are both described in immense detail. Other aspects of the novel which Eliot gives large amounts of detail to, include the setting. She describes Lantern Yard as a place of "narrow and restricted vision", and is a "narrow religious sect". There is a lot more detailed description of this setting as well as of Raveloe. "Raveloe was a village where many of the old echoes lingered, undrowned by new voices". "It was an important looking village, with a find old church and large churchyard in the heart of it, and two or three large brick-and-stone homesteads, with well-walled orchards and ornamental weathercocks, standing close upon the road, and lifting more imposing fronts than the rectory, which peeped from among the trees on the other side of the churchyard - a village which showed at once the summits of its social life". ...read more.

Conclusion

Eppie reflects exactly the mind of George Eliot. Another factor that a modern day audience would be interested in, are the attitudes of the novelist to religion, which is mainly shown through the two main settings, Lantern Yard and Raveloe. Eliot had a varied life, and during it, she experimented with many different views of life. By doing this, she experience different views on religion, like I'm sure many people would do nowadays. There is no doubt that Lantern Yard is a "narrow religious sect", and Eliot does not agree. She shows this when Silas is tried for his crime, by the drawing of lots. She is sceptical of this blind faith in God, which presides over any humane decisions. The people in this town meaninglessly visited church, constantly believing that God was their only guide in life. Eliot is a lot more in favour of the way of life in Raveloe, where villagers see the church as a key part in social customs, and their attitude is Christian in the true sense. George Eliot is certainly encourages scepticism about religion, making the readers think for themselves on different ideas about religion, and this would, without a doubt, be interesting for a modern audience. "Silas Marner" is an intriguing novel written by an intriguing author, which can be read on many different levels. The plots, characters, and general structure of it is complex, and the themes are varied and filled with moral messages. This novel had, and still has a strong message for its readers, past and present. ...read more.

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