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The theme of an outsider is an important one in George Eliot's 'Silas Marner'.

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Introduction

SILAS MARNER In this essay I will be concentrating on the theme of an outsider. The theme of an outsider is an important one in George Eliot's 'Silas Marner' because it is a story about a man who is alienated from his community because he is different, a social misfit "In that far-off time superstition clung easily round every person or thing that was at all wanted". An outsider is defined as someone who is excluded or doesn't mix with people from their society/community. The novel was set in 1805 (Pre-Industrial Revolution) in Raveloe, a small village in rural England. Eliot began writing Silas Marner in autumn 1860 and was published in 1861. There were many changes made during this period, which include: attitudes in work, religion and government, population, rise in industrial towns and more factories being created. It is clear from the social structure of the novel, that whist Eliot was writing he was greatly influenced by pre-industrial events in his current day England. Today people are more urbanised, and live in towns rather than villages. George Eliot was the pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, which she changed because it was seen as a male profession and she had a fear of being rejected. ...read more.

Middle

Silas follows the route of loneliness and misfortune, but ends up leading a life of happiness, while Godfrey Cass goes in the opposite direction, going from having a good life with opportunities to a life of woe. The reason for Eliot's two very different, but similar in changes in life are because she wanted to give people an idea of how things can go from bad to good and vice versa. She also wanted people to be aware of changes happening around them that could relate to the novel. Part one focuses on how Silas is accepted into the community and part 2 shows how he moves on in life with his new adopted daughter Eppie. Silas Marner is written in third person omniscient narrative (all-seeing/all-knowing narrator). This method is effective because the novel is written in detail with thorough character analysis so we, as readers know exactly what is going on. The narrator knows the different events that are happening all at once so the reader gets a better understanding of the different sides of life. Silas is portrayed as an outsider because he is a solitary linen weaver, which is seen as an odd profession and he is subject to occasional cataleptic fits which people in his community look upon as being out of the ordinary and start to speculate. ...read more.

Conclusion

Such a faith is inextricably linked to the bonds of community. As Dolly indicates, Silas's faith is based on helping others and trusting others to do the same in return. The theme of change also comes up in the novel, which by Eliot's view is the creation of a multitude of things. Eliot's main setting is a community of people with very old-fashioned beliefs where change doesn't occur often. She shows how the community jointly come to accept Silas. He isn't accepted in the beginning, but as time goes on they gradually do. Eliot shows how people can change over time, Silas from being lonely to having Eppie to look after. Eliot also shows how Silas's views on how he perceives people and his beliefs change over time. The theme of affection is important because Eliot expresses this through her characters, especially the love for Eppie from Silas and how he grows to love her as if she were his own child. Silas is only Eppie's adoptive father not biologically linked, but he cares for her just the same and their relationship grows over time. The relationship between Eppie and Silas also comes into this because it links with the theme of change. Eppie has opened a whole new way of life for Silas and it makes him realise how important some things in life are. ...read more.

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