Describe the social structure of the community in Silas Marner.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The clearest information we are given about the social structure of Raveloe in this fascinating novel is in Chapter Three, which introduces us to the "head" of Raveloe. Of course, as with any village, Raveloe consists of a mix of different groups of people, each having their own social standing. Thus there are the landed gentry, at the top of the social ladder, with other various groups taking their place below them until you reach the very poor. However, Chapter Three begins with an introduction to the Cass family:

The greatest man in Raveloe was Squire Cass, who lived in the large red house, with the handsome flight of stone steps in front and the high stables behind it, nearly opposite the church.

We are likewise told in this chapter about the relationship between the rich and poor of Raveloe:

...the rich ate and drank freely, and accepted gout and apoplexy as things that ran mysteriously in respectable families, and the poor thought that the rich were entirely in the right of it to lead a jolly life; besides, their feasting causes a multiplication of orts, which were the heirlooms of the poor.

Thus Raveloe exists with the head of its social structure being Squire Cass, with other members of the landed gentry who live a fine life. There also exists the poorer members of the community who do not begrudge their supposed "betters" the life they lead.

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