Within the very first paragraph on the book, Gorge Elliot introduces her four major concerns illustrated in Silas Marner – namely village life (of the late 18th century), superstition and belief, alienation and historical change (in this case specifically that caused by industrial revolution and the ending of the Napoleonic Wars). These concerns are closely woven together in the story (and in some cases real life) as can once again be seen in this opening two paragraphs and often can be looked at in relation to one another.
Village life was probably Gorge Elliot’s primary focus when writing the novel and her anthropological investigations provide us with a fair deal of insight into it throughout the novel. The village of Raveloe is the setting for the majority of the story. The third line, while not introducing us to it per se, introduces us to the general idea of villages resembling it. It is said to be “far away among the lanes or deep in the bosom of the hills”. This is an important introduction, physically and psychologically distancing Victorian readers from Raveloe and making it seem totally different from the world they live in. In many ways, this difference is very real. Raveloe is still untouched by the effects of the industrial revolution that created the town Elliot’s readers are familiar with. It is Elliot’s objective to provide a comparison between Raveloe and such towns – represented in the novel by Lantern Yard.