Contrast Silas' life in Lantern Yard with that in Raveloe in Silas Marner.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Silas was an active member of the town of Lantern Yard. His life, as part 1 of the novel states, had

   “movement, mental activity, and close fellowship”.

This is important to point out because this will contrast tremendously later on.

Back in Lantern Yard Silas’s strong fellowship was the most important thing for him. This is because the fellowship stemmed from the religious sect to which Silas belonged. This was his niche; in it, he was “highly thought of”, and people attributed to Silas certain interesting powers. This was after, during a prayer-meeting, he fell into a lapse of what is described as

...[a] mysterious rigidity and suspension of consciousness” that lasted over a hour. After this incident, people associated Silas to something tantamount to a spiritual leader, guide, or at least someone who would be respected for his spiritual abilities.

Moreover, Silas had a knack for medicinal cures; a gift he inherited from his mother.

Silas was happy in Lantern Yard. He had a friend with whom he spent most of his time, William Dane. Silas also had a fiancée, Sarah, whom he planned to marry once their finances were in order. In their religious group, Silas, William and Sarah were always together. The problem that happened in Lantern Yard was that William betrayed Silas by accusing him of stealing from one of their cult’s elders. As Silas fell into shame, William further turned the knife by also stealing Sarah. Left with nothing, Silas has no choice but to go away to the nearby town of Raveloe.

Raveloe is like a purgatory for Silas. He purposely chooses to remain alone and do his weaving work, which he uses as a form of therapy. With the exception of one instance where he came out of his isolation to employ the herbal cures that he was good for, he remained completely isolated, grieving his past, and living to accumulate money and gold. So different was Silas in Raveloe, that he even inspired fear. He detested company, and his enigmatic looks (he had huge eyes and eyebrows) made him stand out even more.

 ....he liked their intrusion so ill that he would descend from his loom, and, opening the door, would fix on them a gaze that was always enough to make them take to their legs in terror.

The pivotal events that change Silas were the theft of his gold by Dustan and the subsequent entrance of Eppie into his life. This is where life at Raveloe really begins for Silas even years after having escaped from Lantern Yard.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Lantern Yard, Silas is outwardly happy, the ony curious thing about him is the long trances he falls into during worship services.  He has a wonderful group of friends, he is preparing to marry a wonderful girl, and his hard-working and courteous nature puts him in good stead.  Once Dane has him tossed out of the village and completely disgraced, he moves to Raveloe.

In Raveloe, he is a cold and bitter man, focused only on saving and hoarding his money.  He does not socialize, he does not seem to enjoy anything about life except counting his money.  This all changes when Eppie enters his life and opens him up again to human relationships.  In some ways he has found redemption from his bitterness as well as a deeper and more powerful happiness.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial