How would life be different for Silas Marner in today's society?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although some basic truths would be the same, the context in which they might occur would be different. For example, a fellow church member could still falsely accuse Silas of theft and make his life miserable. He could still feel he had to move away to escape. A man like Godfrey could still marry someone from a poorer family than he, but the class restrictions of Victorian England would not exist, so it would not be such a big deal. If a rich man loves a poor woman, they could marry without worrying so much about a family's social status. Further, Silas would not have been a weaver today. A dry cleaner, perhaps, or a tailor. If he did any weaving, most likely it would be as a hobby, not as a major occupation.

A little girl could still wander into Silas' house if he lived in the country, but it would not be so easy for him to adopt her in today's society. He would have to alert Social Services! They would put her in foster care until her guardian ad litem decided what would be best. Plus, when Godfrey finally revealed, years later, that Eppie was his daughter, perhaps he would have taken Silas to court to fight for custody of her.

The human conflicts of the novel would not be new - as it says in the Bible, "there is nothing new under the sun" (this novel has many Biblical themes and references), but the setting and circumstances might be very different.

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