• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The History and Literary Context of Silas Marner.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

30.01.04 The History and Literary Context of Silas Marner Silas Marner was written in 1860 by Mary Ann (Marian) Evans, better known under the pen name of George Eliot. She used this name for several reasons; for one, she'd had affairs with a variety of unsuitable men, which was greatly frowned upon in those days, and she rightly thought this could affect her career as a successful novelist. For another reason, women authors were looked down upon by critics and indeed, society, so she felt sure she would have a greater chance of success under a male name. Other women writers like the Bront� sisters have done similar things. Whilst she was young she was a firm Christian, as was expected. It was only later that she began to question her faith, when she met the unconventional Charles Bray and his wife Caroline. Eliot's father was horrified when he discovered this, having an evangelical outlook on life. He broke contact with Eliot entirely, ashamed that one of his children should turn out to be a non-believer. However, when her mother died in 1836, Eliot returned home to look after her father although she wouldn't give up her education and learnt German and Italian. Because of her linguistic skills, Eliot's first publication was a translation of Strauss' Life of Jesus, under her real name. ...read more.

Middle

desire and satisfaction that had no relation to any other being." The only person he had any kind of contact with was one of his customers, Dolly Winthrop. In fact, many of the inhabitants of Raveloe saw weaving as some sort of Devil-aided profession, as indispensable as it was. Really, they only feared strangers because they knew nothing about them: "The world outside their own direct experience was a region of vagueness and mystery." The squire was the most important person in most towns and villages at the time. Squire Cass was Raveloe's squire and he lived in the grand Red House with his two sons Godfrey and Dunstan. The Red House was used for social gatherings, such as parties. Squire Cass also had tenants. The doctor, vicar and magistrate fell just under the squire in importance, all being essential for village life; the doctor for health, the vicar for religion and the magistrate for law. In Silas Marner Dr Kimble is mentioned quite often, which could be to emphasise that he was an important part of Raveloe. The lowest tier of the hierarchy was, of course, the working class, including Silas Marner. Whereas the Squire's house was a large, handsome building, embellished with a grand flight of stone steps and with the high stables behind it, opposite the church, Silas' house at the edge of the stone pits was a tiny, ramshackle affair, probably with only two or three rooms. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dr Kimble did treat most people, but shows the ignorance of the age by suggesting to Silas that he smoke in order to cure his cough. However, Silas had his own medicines which he made from herbs and flowers, a skill inherited from his mother. He cured Sally Oates using his herbal remedies "and made her sleep like a baby, when her heart had been beating enough to burst her body..." Unfortunately for Silas, the news of his skills spread quickly, and soon many people from all over Raveloe were coming to Silas to have him cure their rheumatism and other ailments, adding more darkly "that if you could only speak the devil fair enough, he [Silas] might save you the cost of the doctor." So witchcraft was still in people's minds. Drugs were also used in that time, and Godfrey Cass's wife, Molly, was addicted to opium, the drug which finally killed her. The life that George Eliot was depicting in Silas Marner was one in which poverty and wealth lived side by side, and people accepted that that was how things were. Religion was very important to all, whether it was non-conformist or Anglican. By the time George Eliot wrote Silas Marner she had lost her Christian faith, and this could have inspired her to write about somebody who also loses their faith although, unlike George Eliot, Silas regains his. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE George Eliot section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE George Eliot essays

  1. How does Eliot create sympathy for Marner in chapters 1 & 2? Why is ...

    Eliot leaves it for the reader to decide whether the incidences that happen to Marner are coincidences or whether there is a 'Higher Power' watching over him. Through successfully building a case of sympathy for Marner, Eliot can then teach us her moral of the story.

  2. "Analyse the representation of Multicultural Britain in the films Bend It Like Beckham and ...

    George along with many Asian husbands in the 70's feels continuous pressure to be looked upon by the Muslim community as being a respectable husband on top of having of a patriarchal family. This invisible rule is nearly broken when Naseer does not go ahead with his arranged marriage and Ella is distressed when he is disowned.

  1. Silas Marner - George Eliot. Eliot's presentation of the divide between rich and ...

    Silas moves to Raveloe to escape the repercussions of the events that took place in Lantern Yard. He therefore has a lot of history; so naturally, the close community of Raveloe become curious. He, upon arrival, was seen as a strange figure with mystery behind him with his unwelcoming appearance and epilepsy, which at the time people were ignorant of.

  2. Novelists in the nineteenth century believed not only in entertaining their readers, but also ...

    Dunstan approached the house and to his surprise saw that the door was not locked. He entered the house and searched it, for it was common knowledge in Raveloe that Silas Marner hoarded a great deal of gold. When Dunstan located the gold, he took it all and left, just before Silas re-entered.

  1. Silas Marner consists of Part One and Part Two between which sixteen years have ...

    Even Silas' return to his religious community, after Eppie chooses to be with him, is suspenseful. All of these techniques, including foreshawdowing mentioned earlier, work to keep the audience interested. Section II - Characterization Part "A" - General George Eliot narrated in the omniscient third person and thus enabled the reader to comprehend the thoughts and motivations of each character.

  2. A Study of the Character of Lydgate in George Eliot's Middlemarch

    However, in Lydgate's case, I believe, the novel explores the way in which someone who does not realize what money is, and the appropriate place it should play - no matter how idealistic and heroic that character may be - will become its victim.

  1. 'Duty is peremptory and absolute', How far would you say that duty was important ...

    An example of when he gets angry with his sons is in chapter 9: 'You Dunsey have it, sir? And how long have you been so thick with Dunsey that you must collogue with him to embezzle my money?' The villagers consider Squire Cass as a bad father as well.

  2. The Gift of Children in "Silas Marner". What does the novel have to say ...

    This suggests that he lives far from the other villagers in Raveloe, who regard him with suspicion because of his cataleptic fits, which they believe derive from the devil. Back in Lantern Yard his fits are considered a sign of righteousness, however in Raveloe, ?his trances look more like visitations

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work