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Silas Marner
     

Silas Marner

3.6 92
by George Eliot
 

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The novel is set in the early years of the 19th century. Silas Marner is a member of a small Calvinist congregation in Lantern Yard, a slum street in an unnamed city in Northern England. He is falsely accused of stealing the congregation's funds while watching over the very ill deacon of the group. Two clues are given against Silas: a pocket-knife and the discovery of

Overview

The novel is set in the early years of the 19th century. Silas Marner is a member of a small Calvinist congregation in Lantern Yard, a slum street in an unnamed city in Northern England. He is falsely accused of stealing the congregation's funds while watching over the very ill deacon of the group. Two clues are given against Silas: a pocket-knife and the discovery of the bag formerly containing the money in his own house. Silas is proclaimed guilty and the woman he was to marry casts him off, and later marries his best friend, William Dane. With his life shattered and his heart broken, he leaves Lantern Yard and the city.

Marner heads south to the Midlands and settles near the village of Raveloe, where he lives as a recluse, existing only for work and the gold he has hoarded from his earnings. When it is stolen by Dunstan ('Dunsey') Cass, a dissolute younger son of Squire Cass, the town's leading landowner, Silas sinks into a deep gloom, despite the villagers' attempts to aid him. Dunsey disappears, but little is made of this not unusual behavior, and no association is made between him and the theft.

Godfrey Cass, Dunsey's elder brother, also harbors a secret. He is married to, but estranged from, Molly, an opium-addicted woman of low birth. This secret threatens to destroy Godfrey's blooming relationship with Nancy, a young woman of higher social and moral standing. On a winter's night, Molly tries to make her way into town with her two-year-old child to prove that she is Godfrey's wife and ruin him. On the way she takes opium, becomes disoriented and sits down to rest in the snow, child in arm. The child wanders from her mother's still body into Silas' house. Upon discovering the child, Silas follows her tracks in the snow and discovers the woman dead. Godfrey also arrives at the scene, but resolves to tell no one that she was his wife.

Silas decides to keep the child and names her Eppie, after his deceased mother and his sister, Hephzibah. Eppie changes Silas' life completely. Symbolically, Silas has been robbed of his material gold but has it returned to him in the golden-haired Eppie. Godfrey Cass is now free to marry Nancy, but continues to conceal the existence of his first marriage—and child—from her, while continuing to aid Marner in caring for Eppie with occasional financial gifts.

Sixteen years pass, and Eppie grows up to be the pride of the town with a very strong bond with Silas, who through her has found inclusion and purpose in life. Meanwhile, Godfrey and Nancy mourn their own childless state. Eventually, the skeleton of Dunstan Cass - still clutching Silas' gold - is found at the bottom of the stone quarry near Silas' home, and the money is duly returned to Silas. Shocked by this revelation, and coming to the realization of his own conscience, Godfrey confesses to Nancy that Molly was his first wife and that Eppie is his child. They hope to raise her as a gentleman's daughter, which for Eppie would mean forsaking Silas.

The mystery of the robbery that caused Silas' exile from Lantern Yard is never solved, as Silas' old neighbourhood has been "swept away" and replaced by a large factory and no one seems to know what happened to Lantern Yard's inhabitants. However, Silas contentedly resigns himself to the fact that he now leads a happier existence among his family and friends. In the end, Eppie marries a local boy, Aaron, son of Dolly, and both of them move into Silas' new house, courtesy of Godfrey. Silas' actions through the years in caring for Eppie have provided joy for everyone and the extended family celebrates their happiness.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013253735
Publisher:
DB Publishing House
Publication date:
11/02/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
174
File size:
508 KB

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Silas Marner 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting, nicely written book about a man who becomes so disappointed with the circumstances of his life that runs away and lives far from society. He becomes bitter, loving only his gold, but then changes. What made him change and rebuild his life is brought to him by chance. Destiny seems to have laid it at his door. Then begins the story of the man's transformation and his further affairs, all well told. The best thing about the book was the message it conveys that even when all seems to be lost, everybody can change and lead a full and happy life. What I did not like was that the protagonist did not really change because of his inner will but because of something foreign to him. Destiny will not always lay salvation at our door; more often, people have to make a very strong internal effort to overcome bitterness. In spite of this, the novel is definitely worth reading
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since I am not used to reading classic novels, I found it really interesting to read. I found this book really excellent because of the the descriptive writing and now I am really looking forward to reading many classic novels through my high school years. George Eliot is a really good writer. I want to read all of her books now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this book for my English class. Although it isn't a modern book, it still is an excellent read and applies to modern times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is outstanding. The characters are interesting and story is great. The only reason this book didn't get five stars is that it should of been longer because I would love to know more about silas marner and his relationship with Eppie. It is a good short read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book truely touches your heart and soul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a classic for all time. Kids today don't get it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book club choice as our classic of the year. Thought something from the 1800's would be difficult to follow but the language is interesting and not too wordy as some of the classics can be. I have not finished this but am still interested and enjoying it 2/3 of the way through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an English teacher I love re-reading novels each year. What I didn't expect this year was a new-found appreciation for Silas Marner. The theme of redemption and the colliding of parallel plots moved me this year like no year before. It just makes you feel good to read a story based in love, honor and just reward in a time like ours. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a feel-good story for spring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the language is 'old,' this book is a fabulous read. I encourage readers to 'plow through' the beginning even if it seems a little long on description. Once the story begins to unfold, it is engaging. Eliot's ability to weave a story out of small vingettes is amazing. The language may be old, the but the themes in the book are timeless: love, dishonesty, redemtion, and celebration. If the text is too difficult to read, let me suggest that you get the book on tape (or CD), take it on a long trip and listen to it. I think that by the end of the first CD, you will be fascinated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If u like old books the you'll love it an early verson of a simple twist of fate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Poor Marner went out with that despair in his soul- that shaken trust in God and man, which is little short of madness to a loving nature." (Eliot P 9) It was Silas's night to watch the sick and old Senior Deacon in the Church of Lantern Yard; the home in which Silas had become so fond of. Then something horrific happened that night. "The lots declared that Silas Marner was guilty." (Eliot P 9) Silas had lost everything. But he would not leave until he cleared his conscience of the false accusation. "The last time I remember using my knife, was when I took it out to cut a strap for you. I don't remember putting it in my pocket again. You stole the money, and you have woven a plot to lay the sin at my door. But you may prosper, for all that; there is no just God that governs the Earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the innocent." (Marner P 9) And with that, Silas set off as far away from the town of Lantern Yard, hoping that God would justify him and show him refuge. To inflict more damage to the already broken Silas Marner, late in the wintery night in Raveloe, to his astonishment he looks down to what appears to be a baby sitting at his chair looking at him. Bewildered by this sight, Silas grabs the baby and goes outside to see where she had come from. In the snow, he sees fresh made footsteps by this mysterious baby, which leads him to a furze bush, and behind it lay the baby's mother dead. "You won't be giving me away father, she had said before they went to the church; you'll only be taking Aaron to be a son to you." (E. Marner P 150) In the light of all Silas's misfortune and peculiar incidents involving him, it is clear that will all sacrifices comes goodness, and in the end, all ends well and restoration is made to the broken hearts of all that seek love again whether be in gold guineas, another woman, or in the heart of a toddler brought to your doorstep by the all mighty himself. Although a rather average novel at two-hundred-fifty pages, Silas Marner goes in depth and there are multiple outlooks and perspectives to take on the novel. Readers will also face up to a novel written in majority of classic English, which is often confusing and will lead readers off track constantly. One who reads will find that the book begins slowly and is jumpy throughout. Some chapters revolve all around one character and at the end, readers will be left with cliffhangers to think about. However, the novel begins to interest towards chapter five when readers actually get a feel for what each character represents and symbolizes. This novel provides historical fiction as it is based in England, and shows a complexion that many books may seem just too simple. As the headline states, for those who are only intrigued by the Harry Potters and Twilights of literature who look for action around every corner, unfortunately this book does not deliver. However, a person who is looking for a decent intellectual book that goes deep into the culture of a century ago will find the plot and storyline rather graceful. One book that although does not portray the same historical connection as Silas Marner, but does force the reader to think is Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Silas Marner delivers a spin and a twist which takes any reader for a rollercoaster ride, and in the end delivers a thought provoking insight to love, friendship, betrayal, societal hierarchy, religion, and hope earning "9" out of
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this story, it is one of the best classic novels. It makes me sad to learn that it has become highschool english fodder. It is the perfect book for reading by the fire on a cold winter day. Silas's tale of loss and gain, love and and selflessness, and the many ways to have wealth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first half of this book is hard to get into, and quite boring, but after that, it becomes an unforgettable heart warming story of a child's love changing an old man's life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is outstanding!! George Eliot has to be one of the greatest writers ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story of love, gold, and redemption. I highly recommend it. Go out and buy it or rent it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have taught a modified version to students with special needs and this version to students with similar results from both groups. The moral questions transcend setting, and it resonates with students of all backgrounds. I have had more profound classroom discussion with this work than any other. Ben Kingsley has a DVD of the work that is a high quality addition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Steve Martin delightfully updated this classic, modernizing it, calling it "A Simple Twist of Fate" I read his treatment in book form and also loved the movie he produced from his manuscript. It was this that lead me to purchase my copy of Silas Marner
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