Silas Marner Questions and Answers
by George Eliot

Silas Marner book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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.

Expert Answers info

Elroy Sexton, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseProfessional Writer, Professional Tutor

bookB.A. from University of Maryland

bookM.A. from University of Pennsylvania


calendarEducator since 2020

write79 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

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.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Seth Oelbaum, M.F.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseEditor, Professional Writer

bookB.A. from Columbia College Chicago

bookM.F.A. from University of Notre Dame


calendarEducator since 2020

write634 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Law and Politics, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,292 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write7,057 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business









check Approved by eNotes Editorial