How is Silas regarded by the people of Raveloe?

Expert Answers

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

Silas is regarded with a mixture of awe, suspicion, and curiosity by the people of Raveloe. He isn't the kind of person you see every day in this neck of the woods. Raveloe is the kind of place people leave, not move to. Or, as George Eliot puts it with...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Silas is regarded with a mixture of awe, suspicion, and curiosity by the people of Raveloe. He isn't the kind of person you see every day in this neck of the woods. Raveloe is the kind of place people leave, not move to. Or, as George Eliot puts it with beautiful understatement, it's a place "undrowned by new voices."

The locals don't exactly roll out the welcome mat for strangers, and so it proves with Silas. He's doubly suspicious to the locals: first of all because he keeps himself to himself and secondly because of his epilepsy. There's something frankly rather weird about Silas. The good folk of Raveloe, like most inhabitants of small villages, pride themselves on knowing everyone else's business in their intimate little community. So to have someone in their midst who deliberately cuts himself off from the rest of society is something they simply can't accept. Silas wants to be left alone, but isolating himself only serves to make him stand out like a sore thumb in the village. As the villagers don't know anything about him, their superstitious minds get to work, and pretty soon Silas becomes the object of fear as much as anything else.

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

The people of Raveloe, which is hardly a cosmopolitan, varied, or visited place, made much of whatever was different and new. Silas Marner was one of few emigrants who arrived in the town after a bad misunderstanding involving a robbery prompted him to leave the former city where he was living before.

Being that he looked physically different than the people of Raveloe, he also had specific characteristics that made him look different, such as protuberant eyes, their brownish color, and his squinting. He also was prone to fits. However, this added to the mystery when they saw that Silas had a capacity to work with concoctions and that he used one to cure Sally Oates from her feelings of dropsy. This immediately made him a local mystery and legend, attributing him supernatural powers and capacities that he, himself, knew he did not have. Since he is also a loner and prefers to stay away from society, people continued creating myths about him. In all, he was regarded as an enigmatic and nearly surreal man.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team