In Silas Marner, what language techniques are used in the moment of his discovery that his gold has gone?p. 41 " ... Again he put his hands to his head, and gave a wild rending scream, the cry of...

In Silas Marner, what language techniques are used in the moment of his discovery that his gold has gone?

p. 41 " ... Again he put his hands to his head, and gave a wild rending scream, the cry of desolation."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The grief and pain that Silas feels at the loss of his gold is evinced in Chapter 5 of Book I in this classic novel, as Silas returns home and automatically goes to take his gold out of its hiding place so he can gain pleasure from counting it as he was accustomed to doing. However, when he finds that the gold is not there, his reaction is conveyed through the following description:

Again he put his trembling hands to his head, and gave a wild ringing scream, the cry of desolation. For a few moments after, he stood motionless; but the cry had relieved him from the first maddening pressure of the truth. He turned, and tottered towards his loom, and got into the seat where he worked, instinctively seeking this as the strongest assurance of reality.

His response to the loss of his gold is conveyed through the use of emotive language such as "wild ringing scream." Note, too, the onomatopoeia in the word "ringing," that also is an implied metaphor as the scream of Silas is compared to the ringing of a bell in terms of its echo and quality. There is alliteration in the repetition of the "t" sound in "turned" and "tottered" which conveys his tenative walking and helps the reader to imagine him staggering with shock towards his seat. Note too that the verb "tottered" is one that is normally used with children or very old people, implying an unsteadiness of balance. Silas has been so struck with shock that he is unable to walk properly.

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