View Full Version : Other Fiction Eliot, George: Silas Marner. 05 Sept 07

09-05-2007, 11:06 PM
Not her most famous, that distinction belongs to Middlemarch that has already been posted, but my favorite Eliot book.

Steve Martin's 1994 film A Simple Twist of Fate was inspired by Silas Marner.

From Wikipedia:
The novel is set in the earlier years of the 19th century. Silas Marner is a weaver in a small religious community, Lantern Yard. He is also a highly thought of member of a dissenting chapel. Silas is engaged to a female member of the church and thinks that his future happiness is assured. However, due to the betrayal of a fellow parishioner, who blames him for a theft that he did not commit, Silas is expelled from the congregation. He finds out later that his former fiancée married the man who had betrayed him.

Later on, he settles near the village of Raveloe, where he lives as a recluse who exists only for work and his precious hoard of money until that money is stolen by Dunstan Cass, a dissolute son of Squire Cass, the town's leading landowner. The loss of his gold drives Silas into a deep gloom, although a number of the villagers endeavour to help him.

Soon, however, an orphaned child comes to Raveloe. She was not known by the people there, but she is really the child of Godfrey Cass, the eldest son of the local squire. Her mother, Molly, is secretly married to Godfrey, but is also of low birth and addicted to opium and alcohol. On a winter's night, Molly tries to make her way into town with the 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 amid the snow, child in arm. Her child wanders from her mother's still body into Silas' house. Upon discovering the child, Silas searches for its mother and finds Molly - a woman unfamiliar to him - dead. Silas decides to keep the child and names it Eppie, after his deceased sister Hephzibah. Eppie changes his life completely. Symbolically, Silas loses his material gold to theft only to have it replaced by the golden-haired Eppie. Later in the book, the gold is found and restored. Eppie grows up to be the pride of the town and to have a very strong bond with Silas, who through her has found inclusion in the town. Later, the childless Godfrey and Nancy Cass arrive at Silas' door, revealing the truth about Eppie's family and asking that Silas give Eppie up to their care. However, the decision falls to Eppie, who has no desire to be raised as a gentlemen's daughter if it means forsaking Silas. At the end, Eppie marries a local boy, Aaron, son of Dolly Winthrop, and both of them move into Silas' newly enlarged house, courtesy of Godfrey.

Ultimately, Silas Marner is a tale of familial love and loyalty, reward and punishment, and humble friendships.