Silas Marner Themes Essay

1290 Words6 Pages
Themes The Individual versus the Community Silas, who goes from being a member of a tight-knit community to utterly alone and then back again, this is perfect for Eliot to explore the relationship between the individual and the surrounding community. In the early nineteenth century, a person’s village or town was all-important, providing the sole source of material and emotional support. The community also provides its members with a structured sense of identity. We see this sense of identity play out in Raveloe’s public gatherings. At both the Rainbow and the Squire’s dance, interaction is ritualized through a shared understanding of each person’s social class and place in the community. Not able to understand silas, the villagers see him as strange, regarding him with a mixture of fear and curiosity. Though it takes fifteen years, the influence of the community of Raveloe does eventually seep into Silas’s life. It does so via Godfrey’s problems, which find their way into Silas’s cottage first in the form of Dunsey, then again in Eppie. In terms of social standing Social Class Silas marner centers around two households, Marner's cottage by the stone-pits and the Cass manor, the red house. These two settings represent class extremes, and the people of Raveloe know it. Rather than set an impermeable boundary between these two worlds, Eliot stages many intersections between the two households. Dunstan Cass, who is a member of the moneyed class, enters Marner's home looking for money. Silas Marner, lowly and miserable, raises a Squire's granddaughter as his own child. Godfrey Cass, though he owns Marner's cottage at the end of the novel, is actually in the weaver's debt. These are just a few instances of the permeability of class boundaries in the novel.In Raveloe, strict boundaries of class do not necessarily lead to greater happiness among the higher classes.
Open Document