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In Silas Marner, what is the difference between the Silas Marner of Lantern Yard and...

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camdenpierce14 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:50 PM via web

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In Silas Marner, what is the difference between the Silas Marner of Lantern Yard and the Silas Marner of Raveloe

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 9, 2012 at 12:46 AM (Answer #1)

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The character of Silas in George Eliot's Silas Marner suffers a very traumatic incident in his hometown of Lantern Yard. The result of this incident does not only scar him emotionally, but also behaviorally. In reality, there are several differences in his character from one town to another. 

In Part I, Chapter I these changes are summarized in this line:

Marner's inward life had been a history and a metamorphosis, as that of every fervid nature must be when it has fled, or been condemned, to solitude. 

The first thing we are told is that, rather than being the shy, weird-looking and odd character that people in Raveloe wondered so much about, Silas was actually a happy, well-connected, and religious leader of his Lantern Yard community. 

Marner belonged to a very odd, semi-esoteric religious sect (whose description seems to mirror the Quakers) and he revelled in the sense of community that he felt being a part of such group. The story tells us how Silas was a huge adept of his faith, and that he attained a certain "fame" for an incident in which he stood in a sort of suspended animation during one of his many religious "fits" at one of the services. As a result, he was deemed as a man with a gift and, for this reason, people held respect for him. 

Silas inherited from his mother an excellent talent for mixing herbs and for making medical concoctions. In all, he was a happy, and calm man.  Silas was also engaged to marry, and it is this what leads his presumably best friend, William Dane, to betray him terribly. He accuses Silas of stealing from their Church elder, then takes Silas's fiancee away from Silas and makes him his girlfriend. As a result, Silas loses faith in people, in the Church, and in society as a whole. By the time he gets to Raveloe, Silas had arrived to heal and to start over. 

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