Please comment on the following quote from Silas Marner: "Already Mr Macey and a few other privileged villagers, who were allowed to be spectators on these great occasions, were seated on benches places for them near the door..."
This quote comes in Chapter 11, which describes the New Year's party which is so important for various reasons to the plot of the story as a whole. What is interesting about this quote is the way that it draws attention to the obvious social divide that exists within Raveloe. The class system in Britain is such a massive force and here it is clear that those who do not occupy the higher rungs of Raveloe society are mostly kept away from celebratory occasions such as this New Year's party. Note that Eliot says it is only the "privileged" few who have access to the party which is put on for the enjoyment of the higher classes. The quote continues however by establishing the way that those who are there and not allowed to join in take keen enjoyment from watching the dancing of their social superiors:
...and great was the admiration and satisfaction in that quarter when the couples had formed themselves for the dance...
Eliot establishes that those fortunate members of the lower social rungs of Raveloe society who have been permitted to view the dancing view it almost as a spectator sport, as they comment upon the activities of their social betters and take great pleasure in what they see. The quote's importance therefore lies in the way that it draws attention to the existence of different social classes in Raveloe and how that divides the village.