In Silas Marner please elaborate this statement "Silas's love of money is merely the product of spiritual desolation and his sudden capacity for love and sacrifice manifests itself when he takes in...

In Silas Marner please elaborate this statement "Silas's love of money is merely the product of spiritual desolation and his sudden capacity for love and sacrifice manifests itself when he takes in and raises Eppie"?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The statement that Silas's love of money is a product of spiritual desolation can be defended when we realize where Silas comes from and what his past was like.

As a former inhabitant of the village of Lantern Yard, Silas had it all: a fiancée, a best friend, a good standing in the community, and his job as a weaver. After being falsely accused of theft by his "best friend", who also stole Silas's girlfriend Sarah, Silas was unjustly disgraced, forcing him to move to the nearby town of Raveloe.

We know that the issue at Lantern Yard was a huge blow for Silas. He lost faith in humanity in general, and his feelings were shattered to say the least. For fifteen years he spent his life at Raveloe in isolation, dedicated to his work, and saving on all the money he could. The only way for him to regain control of his life would be to achieve something that not many people can: making a fortune. In time, that fortune that he had been able to amass helped to partially compensate for the huge losses he experienced at Lantern Yard.

Dunstan Cass, the evil son of Raveloe's richest man, callously steals all the money from Silas during one snowy night when Silas was away. This caused the weaver to go into a state of shock. However, this experience ignites a series of events that eventually would make Silas a better person. 

Soon after the robbery, Silas discovers in his home a child that had crawled all the way to Silas's cottage the very night of the theft. This child, who is actually the daughter of Godfrey Cass and his opium-fiend wife Molly, had wondered off after her mother died in the snow.

When Silas realizes that this child stumbled upon him, he embraced her as his own, insisting that she was a sign from above; a miracle. Eppie made up for the loneliness, betrayal, and lack of love that existed within Silas's life, helping him transform into a "whole man".

As the child’s mind was growing into knowledge, his mind was growing into memory: as her life unfolded, his soul, long stupefied in a cold narrow prison, was unfolding too, and trembling gradually into full consciousness.

After the gold is recovered, Silas's reaction to it shows that he has definitely changed as a character. He does not see the gold as a substitute for happiness, but as something that he can offer to his daughter to better her life. All Silas Marner ever wanted was to love and feel loved; he was able to do this through fatherhood and with Eppie in his life.

The money was taken away from me in time; and you see it's been kept - till it was wanted for you. The money takes no hold of me now[...] I wonder if it ever could again - [but] it might, if I lost you, Eppie. I might come to think I was forsaken again, and lose the feeling that God was good to me [if I lost you].

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