How would you describe the village of Raveloe, the setting for Silas Marner?
Raveloe is described directly and indirectly in chapter 1. It is first depicted as a place
"where many of the old echoes lingered, undrowned by new voices"
This is an indication that the town has a culture of being set in its ways, is perhaps old-fashioned and, for that reason, maybe even prone to "backward" thinking. This is what could be inferred from reading that specific line. If the new voices cannot replace the old voices, the conclusion is that the place is conservative enough to not be influenced by modernity.
The fact that Raveloe is a bit backwards is also supported by the next piece of evidence that suggests its nature as a stubborn town. Raveloe is not an isolated village. It has a very central location in "Merry England," and provides plenty of opportunities to make a good living thanks to the many farms that it hosts.
Still, the village itself is "nestled in a snug well-wooded hollow," which suggests that, even though it is not a faraway place, the exact location of the village renders it isolated enough to "not be reached by the vibrations of public opinion." This re-emphasizes that the place is set in its traditional ways.
Raveloe is said to "look important," which means that it offers all the staples of a city, from the cathedrals to the important buildings. It also says that Raveloe has its focal families that essentially hold the control and ranking of the city, offering their financial support through sponsoring community events. The Lammeter and the Cass families are examples of that type of community "royalty."
Therefore, Raveloe is a village healthy enough to hold a good social life and hard-working community. It also has the basics of the typical provincial town, complete with the small-town mentality that tends to accompany such places.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial