What Is the Significance of the Epigraph from Wordsworth: ‘Michael – a Pastoral Poem’ in Your Opinion? How Does It Influence Your Interpretation of Silas Marner?

827 Words4 Pages
The epigaph is presented as an appetizer to the plot of Silas Marner. Michael – A Pastoral Poem illuminates the significant aspects of the story, introducing that the book is about children and parents. It is ironic of Eliot to choose Michael as the poem tells a tale opposite of Silas Marner. In Michael, the child is presented as ruining the family rather than saving it as the angelic Eppie is portrayed. The epigraph also reflects the urbanization and industrialisation of the time of Silas Marner. Michael tells a tale of a young man going to a city and being corrupted, rather than Silas leaving lantern yard and finding salvation. However, the use of the poem as the epigraph can be seen as an inference that Silas Marner is no more than the idealistic fairy tale. The fragment of the epigraph chosen by Eliot informs the reader of the concept of children being a blessing, which is frequently associated with the language and imagery to describe Eppie. For example, Eppie is portrayed to of drawn Silas away from his miserly habits and reaffirm his connections with religion and his surrounding community. Eppie is seen as a “creature of endless claims and ever-growing desires” (p123) which contrasts greatly with Silas’ previous life style of obsessing over his gold. Eppie makes Silas feel a “certain awe in the presence of the little child, such as we feel before some quiet majesty or beauty in the earth or sky.“ (p116) This can be related to the epigraph as presenting Eppie as a blessing and gift to Silas. Eppie is equally an agent used by Eliot to combat materialism in the novel as she revives Silas’ love for the outdoors and draws him out of his “continually narrowing isolation” (p123) that the gold had demanded. Eppie also triumphs over the relationship of materialism by refusing the offer for an upper class lifestyle from Godfrey. However, Eppie can be compared to

More about What Is the Significance of the Epigraph from Wordsworth: ‘Michael – a Pastoral Poem’ in Your Opinion? How Does It Influence Your Interpretation of Silas Marner?

Open Document