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What are 3 quotations in Chapter XII of Silas Marner which illustrate Eliot's view on...

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user3120320 | Salutatorian

Posted April 9, 2013 at 4:24 AM via iOS

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What are 3 quotations in Chapter XII of Silas Marner which illustrate Eliot's view on the infant Eppie (and young children in general)?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 9, 2013 at 6:39 PM (Answer #1)

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As Godfrey Cass drowns his importunate thoughts of Nancy, his wife Molly has decided to walk to the Red House in order to reveal the secret of her marriage to Godfrey.  However, under the influence of opium, she succumbs and dies in the snow; her babe sleeps as long as she stays warm. But, when the cold strikes her, she awakens,

Suddenly, as the child rolled downward...its eyes were caught by a bright, glancing light on the white ground, and, with the ready transition of infancy, it was immediately absorbed in watching the bright....That bright, living thing must be caught; and in an instant the child had slipped on all fours, and held out one little hand to catch the gleam....It came from a very bright place; and the little one, rising on its legs, toddled....on to the open door of Silas Marner's cottage....

Here, the innocence and wonder of the babe that knows no fear, which must be learned, leads her into Marner's cottage where a shining light has enticed her.  But, she is so tiny that she passes the myopic weaver without his knowledge, and before the warmth of the fire, she falls asleep again.

Later, Silas Marner, who has repeatedly opened his door and strained to see he does not know what, but with "mere yearning and unrest," touched with despair. After his return to the center of the room, delusionally perceiving gold, Marner feels for this gold, but touches instead the golden curls of the angelic babe. "It was very much like his little sister" and a flood of memories enter Marner's mind.  Thoughts, much like "old friends" enter the melancholy weaver.

...yet he had a dreamy feeling that this child was somehow a message come to him from that far-off life....old quivering of tenderness--old impressions of awe at the presentiment of some Power presiding over his life; for his imagination had not yet extricated itself from the sense of mystery in the child's sudden presence....

The presence of little Eppie reignites Marner's old faith in God and in love and family as he feels the little one is a message brought to him from "old quiverings of tenderness" and awe for a higher Being, For, he marvels at how the little one has arrived in his cottage. Then, when the baby cries, Marner lifts her to his knee and holds her tightly to him, murmuring and cooing to her with tenderness.  When the babe frets over her wet booties, he removes them and watches with equal wonder as the little one is fascinated by her own toes,


...inviting Silas, with much chuckling, to consider the mystery, too.

The new life of the infant brings a renewal of feeling in Silas Marner. Never before in Raveloe has he recalled his beloved sister until seeing Eppie. Never before in Raveloe has Silas Marner "chuckled" and filled his heart with tenderness for another being. And, never before has Marner been roused to concern for the well-being of others as he has by the presence of the innocent child.

 


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