How do the people of Raveloe view the linen weavers in "Silas Marner"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The people of Raveloe view the linen weavers with distrust.

The villagers are a provincial people, "honest folk", but "mostly not overwise or clever".  Isolated from advances in the major cities of the time, they are suspicious of things they do not understand.  The linen weavers, "emigrants from the town into the country", appear to be "pallid and undersized", in contrast to "the brawny country-folk", and they "rarely stirred abroad without (a) mysteious burden...a heavy bag".  Even though the people of Ravenloe suspect that the bags contain nothing more threatening than flax or perhaps linen already woven, they do not know this for sure; "superstition cling(s) easily round every person or thing that (is) at all (unusual)" for these simple folk.

Another reason the villagers look upon the linen weavers with mistrust is because "no one knew where (these) wandering men had their homes or their origins".  "The world outside their own direct experience (is) a region of vagueness and mystery", and since the peasants, with their literal understanding of life, were not acquainted with the "father(s) and mother(s)" of the itinerant craftsmen, there is no way for them to form a basis of trust in accepting them.  "Regarded as aliens by their rustic neighbors", the linen weavers are relegated to the fringes of village life, and an existence of loneliness.

lieneka | Student

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