In Silas Marner, why has Eliot placed the events of Chapter 10 on Christmas Day?
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The timing of Chapter 10 is significant for two reasons. Firstly, Christmas is a time of community and of celebration, and this therefore is a time when Raveloe seek to take pity on Silas and his loss. Dolly Winthrop is a perfect example of a generous woman who willingly goes to the house of Silas, shares what she has, and does her bit to coax Silas into community life. Even though he still refuses any offer of companionship, it is clear that he is forced into community in a way that he never was before when he was obsessed with his greed. Notice how he is described:
The fountains of human love and of faith in a divine love had not yet been unlocked, and his soul was still the shrunken rivulet, with only this difference, that its little groove of sand was blocked up, and it wandered confusedly against the obstruction.
The reference to "not yet" foreshadows the way that Silas has changed and that his return to beliving in human and divine love will happen now that he has lost his money. Losing his gold, ironically, begins his journey back into community. Secondly, Christmas of course celebrates the arrival of Jesus into the world. This therefore foreshadows the arrival of Eppie into the life of Silas, which will also help restore his faith in humanity.
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