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How does Eliot create such a poignant moment in the novel with this passage from...

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user3120320 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:38 PM via web

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How does Eliot create such a poignant moment in the novel with this passage from Chapter XIV of Silas Marner?  

"...baby was christened, the rector... and trembling gradually into full cocnsiousness...."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 16, 2013 at 2:07 AM (Answer #1)

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In a sense, Silas Marner has been resurrected from the darkness of his alienation and myopia after the baby girl with golden curls enters his life. In her innocence and wonder of life, Marner finds himself vicariously sharing the babe's delight as old, buried memories of youthful curiosities return to his consciousness. Piqued by her little squeals of joy, "her gurgling triumphs," Silas finds himself looking outward at the world, rather than dwelling solely on his gold.

Thus, his "enfeebled spirit" is brought back to life as he "takes refuge" in the simple joys and unfolding of old memories:

As the child's mind was growing into knowledge, his mind was growing into memory, as her life unfolded, his soul, long stuplified in a cold, narrow prison, was unfolding too, and trembling gradually into full consciousness.

Silas reawakens to his own humanity, to feelings he has long buried. The new, young life of Eppie has returned to him emotions that Marner has long thought buried. For, now he can "take refuge" in Eppie, knowing that she will not ridicule his feelings. Truly, little Eppie has renewed life for Silas Marner and has brought him joy and wonder again.

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