In Silas Marner, what are the respective roles of the upper and the lower social levels at the party?
The social divisions in Raveloe are made perfectly clear in the New Year's Party that the Squire holds in Chapter 11 of this great novel. There appear to be two groups of villagers. Those of the upper social levels who have been invited to the party by the Squire as his guests are wined and dined by the servants, and then pass the evening engaged in dancing and other similar activities. On the other hand, there is a definite social division between these guests and the representatives from the lower social levels at the party. Note how they are described once the dancing of their "betters" begins:
Already, Mr. Macey and a few other privileged villagers who were allowed to be spectators on these great occasions, were seated on benches placed for them near the door; and great was the admiration and satisfaction in that quarter when the couples had formed themselves for the dance...
Those from the lower strata of Raveloe are thus only permitted to watch on such "great" occasions, and there role is to gossip and comment on their "betters" as they watch them dance and enjoying themselves.