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Silas Marner Essays

George Elliot shapes and reshapes the readers response to the character Silas Marner George Elliot, writer of Silas Marner, published in 1861, shapes and reshapes the readers’ response to the character Silas Marner through the opinions his Raveloe neighbours have of him in the events that occur. This is achieved through the suspicious and fearful attitudes towards him at the start of the novel, compared to the growing friendships that occur towards the end. Each of these attitudes alters the reader to feel the way Silas does in each situation, which changes as each event occurs.

The start of the novel portrays Silas to be an outcast to his fellow neighbours, one of a mysterious and suspicious nature, which triggers a sense of sympathy and pity for Silas from the reader. This is due to the fact that the community of Raveloe does not understand Silas’ past, yet the reader does. This is achieved through the narrator’s description of Silas’ life, which shows the reader both the perspective of his neighbours as well as Silas’ point of view.

The harsh view his neighbours have of him in comparison to the readers knowledge of Silas’ past, create the readers response to be respectful and sympathetic to Silas. For example, George Elliot uses the simile, “eyes set like a dead man” to emphasise the harsh and judgemental tone his community has against him through allowing the reader to imagine the horror of a dead man. He then uses the description, “of exemplary life and ardent faith” as a juxtaposition to allow the reader to feel pity for Silas, since the reader knows that the residents see Silas as a dead man, when in reality he is a “bright soul. Ultimately, the views of his Raveloe neighbours alter the opinion the reader has on Silas due to the knowledge the reader has of his past. When Silas’ money is stolen and he starts opening up to the residents of Raveloe, George Elliot reshapes the reader’s response to Silas to feel more proud and happy for him, despite him losing his money. This is because Raveloe community is finally realising what Silas is really like, and are finding a connection with him. It somewhat makes the reader proud of Silas as he is finally opening up.

This is evident when George says, “This strangely novel situation of opening his trouble to his Raveloe neighbours, of sitting in the warmth of a hearth not his own, and feeling the presence of faces and voices which were his nearest promise of help, had doubtless its influence on Marner, in spite of his passionate preoccupation with his loss”. Elliot uses the symbolism of Silas finally sharing a hearth that is not his own. His hearth is a symbol for love, care and warmth, and Silas finally not depending on himself for everything, but having friends to lean on when things get tough.

This symbolism emphasises to the reader the happiness and comfortableness that Silas is feeling as he is developing new relationships and moving on from his old life. This makes the reader feel proud and less worried for Silas, which is George Elliot’s intention. Once Silas has finally become accepted into the community, he starts contributing to the community, and one way is through the adoption of Eppie. George makes the reader respond in happiness to Silas’ new love, and relief to know that he has found something to replace the material object of money.

Through this the reader witnesses a greater growth within Silas, which makes the reader feel joy for him. George Elliot uses the metaphor, “Our consciousness rarely registers the beginning of a growth within us any more than without us: there have been many circulations of the sap before we detect the smallest sign of the bud. ” The metaphor has very positive and hopeful connotations and talks about the concept of rebirth. This may symbolise the changing of Silas from once a person who knew no other love than money, to a new and improved person who feels love and warmth.

The use of this positive metaphor influences the reader to also feel positive, hope and happiness for Silas. Ultimately, it shows how the effect of one resident of Raveloe (Eppie) changed his life so dramatically, which changed the reader’s response to Silas. The change of events in Silas’ life significantly altered the way in which residents of Raveloe viewed him. The opinions of his neighbours changed, which also affected the way in which the reader responds to Silas. As love and happiness enters Silas’ life, the reader no longer feels sympathy for Silas, but hope and joy. George Elliot, writer of Silas Marner, published in 1861, shapes and reshapes the readers’ response to the character Silas Marner through the opinions his Raveloe neighbours have of him in the events that occur.

This is achieved through the suspicious and fearful attitudes towards him at the start of the novel, compared to the growing friendships that occur towards the end. Each of these attitudes alters the reader to feel the way Silas does in each situation, which changes as each event occurs. For example, George Elliot uses the simile, “eyes set like a dead man” to emphasise the harsh and judgemental tone his community has against him through allowing the reader to imagine the horror of a dead man. * He then uses the description, “of exemplary life and ardent faith” as a juxtaposition to allow the reader to feel pity for Silas, since the reader knows that the residents see Silas as a dead man, when in reality he is a “bright soul. ” * It somewhat makes the reader proud of Silas as he is finally opening up.

This is evident when George says, “This strangely novel situation of opening his trouble to his Raveloe neighbours, of sitting in the warmth of a hearth not his own, and feeling the presence of faces and voices which were his nearest promise of help, had doubtless its influence on Marner, in spite of his passionate preoccupation with his loss” * George Elliot uses the metaphor, “Our consciousness rarely registers the beginning of a growth within us any more than without us: there have been many circulations of the sap before we detect the smallest sign of the bud. The metaphor has very positive and hopeful connotations and talks about the concept of rebirth. This may symbolise the changing of Silas from once a person who knew no other love than money, to a new and improved person who feels love and warmth.

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