Although there are tragedies in Silas Marner (the death of Molly Cass, for example), the narrative emphasizes the moral order of the universe. The principal characters get their just desserts. Silas Marner is rewarded for the love he shows Eppie; Dunsey never lives to profit from his robbery; and Godfrey Cass, because of his deceitfulness and moral cowardice, can never publicly acknowledge that Eppie is his daughter. This moral order is at work through seemingly chance events. It seems to be chance, for example, that Marner happens to be away from his cottage on a short errand and has left his door unlocked (which he would never normally do) at the exact moment that Dunsey is walking by, thus giving Dunsey a chance to rob him. It also seems to be a chance event when Molly Cass collapses near Marner’s cottage and Eppie wanders inside. The door to the cottage is once again open and Marner is in one of his strange trances, so he does not notice the girl until she is asleep on his hearth.
But there is more at work than chance. Almost as soon as he sees the child, Marner senses that some supernatural order is operating in his life, and he later thinks that the child must have been deliberately sent to him. Dolly Winthrop agrees with him, although neither offers any explanation as to who or what this benevolent power might be. Later, after Marner has explained his past life to Dolly, she struggles to articulate her intuitive...
(The entire section is 1125 words.)
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