George Eliot is credited for a style of writing that brings characters and settings vibrantly to life. Explain how she does this in ‘Silas Marner’, focussing on the story of Silas himself.

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George Eliot is credited for a style of writing that brings characters and settings vibrantly to life. Explain how she does this in ‘Silas Marner’, focussing on the story of Silas himself.

‘Silas Marner’ is a story about a man who changed from an outcast to a demonstrative picture of rural life.

It begins with Silas’ betrayal in Lantern Yard, which results in him moving to Raveloe. Whilst in Raveloe many unfortunate experiences happen to him. His money is mysteriously stolen which puts him in a state of shock and places him further into seclusion. Then as mysteriously as the money was taken away something was put in its place. The little girl Eppie.

‘Silas Marner’ begins with Eliot’s description of Silas and Raveloe. Silas is described as the remnant of a "disinherited race," as you can see Silas is given Biblical associations connecting him with themes of banishment as well as promise from the beginning of the novel. The Biblical prophecy being that out of that remnant will come salvation. From the beginning, Silas is presented not just as a victim in need of rescue, but also as one who is important to the future of the whole community.

In Lantern Yard, the scene that gives a clear and distinct portrait of the betrayal is when the other residents of the village confronted Silas. He was taken to the vestry, where he knelt to pray. He was relying on his own innocence to set him free along with the help of God. By this time the reader can clearly see that the congregation had already made up their mind about Silas. They believed him to be guilty:

“…feeling that there was sorrow and mourning behind for him…”

By George Eliot using the words “sorrow” and “mourning” we already get the feeling of dread, as these words are often associated with grief after a person has died. This helps us to realise that the villagers would not be easily convinced about Silas’ innocence as their minds were already made up.

Afterward, he took up residence in a stone cottage outside the unfamiliar town of Raveloe, his thoughts "arrested by utter bewilderment." The continuous sounds and movements of weaving helped to numb his pain of the happenings in Lantern Yard. But all his "affection seemed to have died under the bruise that had fallen on its keenest nerves". Apart from weaving and counting his gold, Silas's life was barren. He didn’t involve himself with new people and didn’t entertain the thought of doing new things. Silas not after long became a miser, living solely for the purpose of collecting gold as it comforted him.  Eliot portrays Silas's relationship to his gold as a kind of addiction. She calls it worship. The gold coins are shiny and solid. The addictive object, seems to provide something to count on, something to control and find comfort in, but never satisfies the need. Gold for Silas is a saving object, but no amount of it can fill his inner emptiness. His gold coins allow repetitive relating and the promise of satisfaction.

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However Silas’ life changes dramatically after his gold is mysteriously stolen.

Dunsey Cass knowing that Silas owned a fair amount of money went to Silas’ house to ask for a lone. However, when he arrived Silas was out on one of his errands and had left the door unlocked, as he wasn’t expecting anyone to call over. Dunsey realising his opportunity went into Silas’ house and stole his gold from under the hearth leaving Silas penniless. Silas' despair precipitates him into seeking help from the villagers, which begins a slow reintegration into society for him. For a short while, ...

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