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How can the reader see the change in the main character, in Silas Marner in the way...

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user3120320 | Salutatorian

Posted January 29, 2013 at 4:27 PM via web

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How can the reader see the change in the main character, in Silas Marner in the way Eliot describes him going to answer the door to Dolly Winthrop? 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 29, 2013 at 8:38 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter Ten it becomes very evident that Silas Marner has changed massively now that he has lost his gold and his riches. This is conveyed through the difference in manner in his action when he goes to open the door to Dolly Winthrop when she knocks on his door to ask whether she can help him in any way. Instead of the normal impatience with which he normally responds to interruptions to his work, Silas instead shows no sign of impatience. The narrator goes on to explore why this is so:

Formerly, his heart had been as a locked casket with its treasure inside; but now the casket was empty, and the lock was broken... Silas had inevitably a sense, though a dull and half-despairing one, that if any help came to him it must come from without; and there was a slight stirring of expectation at the sight of his fellow-men, a faint consciousness of dependence on their goodwill.

In other words, now that Silas has had his gold stripped from him he is suddenly aware that he is dependent on the goodwill of others in a way that he didn't need to worry about before. This explains the change in his attitude and the way that he greets Dolly Winthrop when she knocks on his door. Help is what he realises he needs, and it is fortunate that this is precisely what she is offering.

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