How is Silas Changed by his Experiences at Raveloe?
Written by George Eliot, is the pen name of Anne Evans, Silas Marner is a book about morality and the spiritual journey of a man exiled from his home town for a theft of which he was wrongly accused.
Eliot incorporated some of her personal experiences in several of her novels; in Silas Marner she was drew on old experiences which has been etched in her memory from her life in Warwickshire where she grew up.
Eliot found that she was very much in tune with Romantics style of writing. This was mainly influenced by the writings of William Wordsworth. As the motto for Silas Marner she choose three lines from Wordsworth poem Michael from Lyrical Ballads, which prove how one child can teach a man to love again.
“……a child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to a declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts.”
Silas Marner, which was written in autumn 1860, can be described as a classic Victorian novel because of moral lessons contained within it. Another reason why it is a classic Victorian novel is because of the harsh reality shown in lantern yard, books by Charles Dickens show the reader how hard life could be but have an eventual happy ending, this is what Eliot was trying to achieve.
The novel is mainly set in the early Nineteenth centaury but briefly goes back in the past to the 1780’s to explain the reason as to why Silas has become so detached from society. The main part of the novel is set between 1810 and 1840 when industrialisation had started making in-roads into the English countryside. Raveloe village, however, remains untouched by the revolutionary changes taken place outside of the village. Raveloe is the town that Silas now lives in, yet before he had live in the strict Congregational Sect of Lantern Yard, he had left there fifteen years before coming to Raveloe having been exiled from the churches community. The name Lantern Yard is clearly ironic because only a half light is shed on the place thus for the name to Lantern suggests that no enough light is in the live of those who live there. The inhabitants of the yard have extremely narrow views on life, they only believe in the congregational views of the religious sect that they live by, and do not encourage anything which seems pleasurable, such as: drinking, smoking, sexual relationships and having fun in general.