Silas Marner

Setting and Character Change in Silas Marner 12th Grade

George Eliot’s novel, Silas Marner, conveys the power of the church in Victorian era England over the lives of its parishioners. Silas, in the opening pages, is an innocent, albeit naïve, God-fearing Christian. When the church of Lantern Yard convicts him of theft, a crime which he was framed for by best friend, he is led to believe that God has abandoned him, and that he can no longer trust the church. He retreats then to the fictional village of Raveloe, becoming a recluse and the object of much of the town’s superstitions. Despite being thought of as a devil worshipper by some townsfolk, he prefers Raveloe as it is more easygoing and less ardent in religion. As England grows more industrial, communities like Raveloe are becoming difficult to find, making it the perfect out-of-the-way place where Silas could begin anew. This new town, despite lacking the sort of religious fervor of Lantern Yard, came to be the place where Silas at last began to rediscover himself and recommit to God.

The detail with which Eliot writes about the community depicts a feeling of nostalgia for “old England”, which was rapidly beginning to fade. Describing Raveloe as “snug” and “nestled,” Eliot gives the town a comfortable feeling, making it feel as...

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