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

"The main characters in Silas Marner cannot be fully understood without an awareness of the time and place in which the novel is set." Discuss in relation to the three main characters, Silas Marner, Godfrey Cass and Nancy Lammeter.

Extracts from this document...


Silas Marner "The main characters in Silas Marner cannot be fully understood without an awareness of the time and place in which the novel is set." Discuss in relation to the three main characters, Silas Marner, Godfrey Cass and Nancy Lammeter. This essay is aimed at exploring the influences that religion, society and community have on Silas Marner, Godfrey Cass and Nancy Lammeter. George Eliot wrote Silas Marner between 1860 and 1861. The novel is set at the beginning of the 19th century and at that time religion and social classes were far more important than they are today. The novel looks at the different responses each character has to afflictions they are faced with and explores the origins of folk myth in a rural community. One of the main characters of the novel is Silas Marner; he lives in an industrial Northern town, in the close community of Lantern Yard - a narrow group of Congregationalists. The church and community are a very important part of Silas's life, as the religious sect of Lantern Yard has developed its own system of belief. His strong faith means that Silas is greatly influenced by his religious beliefs and the community he belongs too. Silas has a fianc�e called Sarah and although further on in the novel he appears to lack feeling, this is evidence that he was able to love and allowed another to share in his life. Although now marriage is not viewed as a permanent bond, the period in which Silas's life is based means that he would have regarded it as a lifelong commitment and a divorce would have been unthinkable. ...read more.


This child changes his life, as Silas believes it is sent from above. Eppie has restored his faith in God and humanity. 'Thought and feeling were so confused within him, that if he had tried to give them utterance, he could only have said that the child was come instead of the gold - that the gold had turned into the child.' Eppie revealed the forgotten, loving nature of Silas. She provides links between Silas and the people of Raveloe, allowing Silas to become an insider. With the help of Eppie, Silas is able to overcome his catalepsy, as she brings him more happiness and joy than he had ever received from the gold. He is also able to unite his old faith with his new one and raise Eppie without means of punishment; an unusual method of nurture for the time in which he lived. "Eppie was a creature of endless claims and ever growing desires, seeking and loving sunshine, and living sounds" Unlike the gold which required nothing, Eppie wanted new experiences and Silas's instinctive kindness towards her enriches his life, unlike the life of Godfrey which is empty and without meaning. In contrast to the life of Silas, the rural landowner's lifestyle appears aimless, indulgent and boring. Lady Cass had died many years previously leaving an all male family. Godfrey Cass the Squire's eldest son is a feeble, spineless man. He married Molly, a drug addict who is below his class and at that time the situation was unacceptable. Godfrey grew tired of Molly and is left to cope with the consequences, as the miserable and vengeful Molly is determined to reveal herself to the Squire. ...read more.


This worries Silas as he is scared that Eppie will disappear like the gold, as mysterious as before, leaving him with nothing. Silas rebukes Godfrey for not claiming her sixteen years ago, but all Godfrey has in return is his argument of blood; he shows no love or companionship towards her. Silas believes he has a right to keep her, "when a man turns a blessing from his door, it falls on them as take it in." Eppie loves Silas, the only family she has ever known, and refuses to leave him stating that 'nobody shall ever come between us.' This makes Godfrey angry, but he soon realizes that her refusal to be with him is his punishment for not taking her in as his daughter years before. Godfrey and Nancy accept Eppie's decision, and through this rejection, Godfrey is forced, in turn, to move on. Neither Godfrey nor Silas can go back into the past, fore even Lantern Yard has disappeared, when Silas returns there at the end of the novel. As Eppie and Aaron get married Silas uses the wedding ring he had removed from Molly and gives it to Eppie. This is a clear reference to the sentiment and love that now fills his heart. The characters, Silas Marner, Godfrey Cass and Nancy Lammeter cannot be fully understood without an awareness of the time and place in which the novel is set because many of their responses to difficult situations were based on their upbringing and religious beliefs. The three main characters represent the different layers of the community and social classes. This novel is about human companionship, and proves that human love, especially the love of a child, is worth far more than gold. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...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. Silas Marner - Eppie is significant to the novel. Discuss her Character and her ...

    "It 'ud be a great comfort to you to see her well provided for, wouldn't it..." And "You'd like to see her taken care of by those who can leave her well off, and make a lady of her." Eppie and Godfrey's relationship is a complex one.

  2. Discuss how the Communities of Lantern Yard and Raveloe influence the Development of Silas ...

    Firstly, his insistence in keeping Eppie influenced the villagers' feelings in favour of the weaver who saw it as some recompense for his stolen savings: "The money's gone, I don't know where, and this is came from I don't know where."

  1. Consider how the character of Silas Marner has changed though out the novel

    to persuade Silas to give up Eppie but he says, "No-no- I can't part with it, I can't let it go, It's come to me-I've a right to keep it." This shows that his love for Eppie is growing by the second because he will not let the women take it because he thinks it is his.

  2. At the end of Silas Marner, there is a feeling that justice has been ...

    He blackmails his own brother for money and steals Marner's gold. He also gambles and drinks a lot. He ends up dying after falling into the stone pits whilst fleeing from Marner's house. When he dies he isn't missed by anyone and nobody bothers looking for him when he is

  1. Discuss how Silas Marner changes in the novel Silas Marner by George Eliot.

    People may be suspicious of him in the village because of the fits and his knowledge of medicine, but that is because they did not know who he was, as he didn't talk to them and they did not know his past.

  2. What Changes Does Eppie Bring About In Silas's Life?

    Silas was no longer an outcast; even the children approached him with no fear. "No child was afraid of approaching Silas when Eppie was near him: there was on repulsion around him now, either for young or old; for the little child had come to link him once more with the whole world."

  1. In this essay I aim to discuss the portrayal of Silas Marner in chapters ...

    He became very lonely, "His soul, long stupefied in a cold narrow prism," and because of this he decided to leave from Lantern Yard, North 'ard and migrate to a small village far away called Raveloe. In Raveloe Silas Marner opted for a different life from which he before he was found guilty.

  2. Discuss How the Two Communities of Lantern Yard and Raveloe Influence the Development of ...

    Silas is left with nothing at all, diminishing his faith in God and his trust in others. "Poor Marner went out with despair in his soul - that shaken trust in God and man which is little short of madness to a loving nature."

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