Essay: Silas Marner

Sample Essay

George Eliots wrote this book in a historical setting. It is about a weaver called Silas Marner whose life is full of misfortunes. Its original title, ‘The Weaver of Ravaloe’ is a one line synopsis of what the book is about; interconnection between symbolism and realism. These come out through the life of Silas Marner.

The realism of life is seen where Marner is betrayed by William Dane, his friend who frames Marner for a theft in a deacons house (Eliot, 10). Marner relocates to Raveloe village, feeling dejected and betrayed by everyone, including God. In another aspect of reality, Eliot paints Marner as o lonely person, held in suspicion and never taken seriously by the society (Eliot, 50). He tries to eke a living out of weaving, which is stolen from him (Eliot, 50). Marner’s life illustrates how the society actually treats the less fortunate.

Symbolism is strongly used. Eliot (60) uses Marner as a symbol of the poor in the society by referring to him as one of the ‘remnants of a disinherited race’ (Eliot, 110). His fits are also symbolic of death, the exile from humanity. He is therefore creates an impression of distrust, such that even his good deeds are misinterpreted. For instance, he is thought to give charms but when he honestly refuses to offer it, the community thinks it is because of ill motives (Eliot, 113). The family of Spiker is used to symbolize the rich in the society, who wrongly use their wealth for jealous reasons. His eldest son has a secret marriage and daughter. When the mother of his child dies, he secretly supports the child through Marner (Eliot, 154). This is a depiction of the filthy lives of the rich in the society.

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