In Silas Marner, how does life change for Silas because of Eppie?

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herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Silas Marner's life, prior to Eppie was pretty much self-centered. He had suffered so much trauma and deceit in his former town of Lantern Yard that he chose to implode and remain isolated, caring only for making money and figuring out how to keep it away from everyone else.  Isolation made Silas quite bitter and had him lose touch with reality: The reality that humans are meant to interconnect, interact, and sometimes depend on each other.

When Silas suffered the major flop of having all of his gold stolen, he went into a frenzy that reminds one of his awful situation at Lantern Yard prior to moving to Raveloe. However, in one of those moments where he felt that life was out of his control, he finds the baby Eppie by the fire of his cottage, after she crawled away from his dead mother.  Caring for Eppie, with her gold locks, was to Silas a sign from heaven that, maybe if he cared for this gold-haired child, his own gold will return to him in due time. Yet, the relationship grew strong, and made Silas find something to care about . In fact, Eppie did not want to leave Silas's side and Silas was perfectly comfortable taking care of her.

Eppie gave him a new reason to live. She was the new motivation for his existence and he was a new man thanks to Eppie.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Eppie transforms the life of Silas Marner, bringing meaning and love into an existence devoid of human love or friendship.

George Eliot's Silas Marner is a story of loss, alienation, and redemption. Having lost his friend, his fiancée, and his reputation in Lantern's Yard, Silas Marner has come to Raveloe and lived as an alienated weaver who has worked solely for the accumulation of gold. Marner's redemption is achieved by his heart's having been re-opened by the child he finds.

The gold had kept his thoughts in an ever-repeated circle, leading to nothing beyond itself; but Eppie was an object compacted of changes and hopes that forced his thoughts onward, and carried them far away from their old eager pacing toward the same blank limit--carried them away to the new things that would come with the coming years....

When all that Silas worked for was his gold, he was compelled to a rigid cycle of work: weaving was the only thing that brought him gold. But when Eppie calls him from his work, he does not feel compelled to return to it for reward. Instead, the pauses from work are a holiday, an entry into a fresh new life that is warmed with the joy of loving another human creature. Caring for Eppie rewards him with love and happiness. With Eppie as his child, his life has new meaning since meaning depends upon sharing.

Eppie brings joy, meaning, love, and happiness to the life of Silas Marner, thus transforming his life from one of solitary loneliness and alienation from the community. With Eppie as his little daughter, Silas is no longer perceived as a strange recluse. He becomes a part of the community of Raveloe, having accepted help as he began caring for the orphaned baby he names Hephzibah.

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