In what ways is George Eliot's Silas Marner a Victorian novel?

George Eliot's Silas Marner contains many elements that are commonly found in the general Victorian novel. She confronts the varying role of women in society with the poor, drug-addicted Molly Crass. Eliot also tackles class with Molly's secret marriage to Godfrey. Lastly, at the end, we see her comment on industrialization. A factory replaces the church in Marner's hometown.

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According to one description, Victorian literature is typified by “idealized portraits of difficult lives in which hard work, perseverance, love and luck” prevail over hardship and struggle. The novels tended to be morally instructive and aimed to improve and edify the middle-class reader on whom the novelist’s livelihood and popularity depended.

Silas Marner is an excellent example of the Victorian novel’s typical moral idealism and depicts a world whose inherent moral order punishes the wicked and rewards the good. The novel is set sixty years earlier than its writing, a pre-industrial past before mechanical looms and steam engines had turned the weaver’s traditional craft into factory-scale production. This context is essential to Eliot’s purpose to critique the increasingly industrialized age’s rising materialism and its erosion of strong communities and eternal values.

From the opening pages, Eliot lays out the central theme about the nobility of honest labor by...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 998 words.)

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