Silas Marner

Novel by George Eliot
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Published in 1861, Silas Marner is the third book by George Eliot and a real masterpiece. Subtitled The Weaver of Raveloe, the story tells about the life of a linen weaver in a way that makes the book one of the best examples of realism. Set at the beginning of the 19th century in Northern England, the story of Silas Marner touches upon a wide variety of subjects such as community life, religion and industrialization. The opening of the story introduces the community of Lantern Yard and the reader sees Silas being accused of stealing - he has been framed, but he is found guilty, nevertheless. The woman he was about to marry deserts him, so Silas leaves the city to go and settle in the Midlands where he supports himself from weaving and lives a secluded life, taking interest only in the gold he earns. His gold is eventually stolen from him by the son of a local landowner - an event that causes Silas to succumb to gloom, even though the locals try to help him get over the loss of the money. Later on he adopts the illegitimate son of the landowner's other son, the brother of the man who stole Silas' money and having the child around finally changes Silas' life for the better. The story then continues after a 16-year gap and the reader finds out about Silas' stolen money and also about how he finds happiness and the appreciation of the local community in his elderly years. He returns to Lantern Yard once, but the old community has disappeared and he finds a factory and workers living among inhuman conditions where his house once was. Silas Marner is a multi-faceted novel, with major themes that make the reader contemplate the values that govern life even today. Human relationships, moral values and the effects of industrializations are just some of these themes, giving readers of any age something to contemplate on.

First Published


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