In Silas Marner by George Eliot, how does Silas Marner spend his time in Raveloe and why?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 2 gives us a good glimpse of Silas's life in Raveloe, where he lives basically in exile after he had to leave his beloved town of Lantern Yard. His friend, William Dane, proved to be no friend at all and framed Silas in a robbery scandal that prompted Marner to be banished in shame, even though he did not do anything.  

We learn that Silas basically goes through a period of anger, loss, sadness, grief and mourning that does not really stop in Raveloe. It is there where he gets the chance to channel his sadness through his loom, in solitude, and with no other things to do than his job. 

His first movement after the shock had been to work in his loom; and he went on with this unremittingly. [...] He seemed to weave, like the spider, from pure impulse, without reflection. [...] Silas's hand satisfied itself with throwing the shuttle, and his eye with seeing the little squares in the cloth complete themselves under his effort.

This is indicative of someone who hides behind his work to avoid thinking about the painful events that led him to that particular "there and then."

Silas is so consumed by pain that he turns into a hermit that simply satisfies his bare necessities. Silas does not have any financial need; he simply needs to find himself again, and that is the one thing that he has not been able to do.

...Silas, in his solitude, had to provide his own breakfast, dinner, and supper, to fetch his own water from the well, and put his own kettle on the fire; and all these immediate promptings helped, along with the weaving, to reduce his life to the unquestioning activity of a spinning insect.

Aside from all of this, we also learn that Silas hates to think about the past; that he has lost all faith in humanity, and that he feels that his future will be quite bleak. 

affection seemed to have died under the bruise that had fallen on its keenest nerves

Therefore, Silas's life in Raveloe is one where he is completely involved with this work, makes no connection with others (not meaningful ones, anyway), and focuses on his bare necessities. 

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Silas Marner

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