Silas Marner Questions and Answers
by George Eliot

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How is Silas Marner of Raveloe different from the Silas Marner of Lantern Yard in Eliot's Silas Marner?

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Silas Marner changes from the naive, trusting, social, and religious man that he has been in Lantern Yard to an reclusive, misanthropic, non-religious miser in Raveloe. Certainly, Marner's life is shattered when the community in which he has felt himself an integral part accuses him of stealing the funds from the church. Based upon rather circumstantial evidence he is condemned and the woman he has hoped to marry rejects him and later marries Marner's friend. Perhaps, the worst of it for Silas is the treachery of his friend William who, in retort to Marner's reasonable accusation that William has stolen the money, declares before the community,

"I leave our brethren to judge whether this is the voice of Satan or not. I can do nothing but pray for you, Silas."

Betrayed by friend, lover, and society, Silas leaves Raveloe for Lantern Yard, a place completely unlike his former home. There he works on his loom long into the night. Eliot writes in Chapter II,

Every man's work, pursued steadily, becomes an end in itself, and so to bring over the loveless chasms in his life.

Marner reduces his life to "the unquestioning activity of a spinning insect"; this repetitive work keeps him from pondering the injustice of his life and his isolation. Distrustful of man, Marner now places his contentment in his gold.

It was another element of life, like the weaving an the satisfaction of hunger, subsisting quite aloof from the life of belief and love from which he had been cut off.

Silas Marner derives his sense of security from habit and from the possession of gold which protects him from poverty while he resides in Lantern Yard whereas he has felt secure previously in being a part of the community of man in Raveloe. Indeed, Silas Marner is completely transformed after his faith in mankind and God is shattered.

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