What special talent do people believe Silas has in Silas Marner?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to the information presented to us on Chapter 1, the village of Raveloe, being so barren and small (and in many ways narrow-minded) had decided that the strange eyes of Silas Marner as well as his behavior (aloof, distant, eccentric) meant that he had supernatural powers. One of these supernatural powers was the power of curing people, especially of rheumatism. According the the common folk, it was already now said for two generations that these powers had been attributed to Silas, and that he had indeed cured people from fits, and many other things. However, he is mostly thought to have the power of doing such things by staring at people with his eyes and making it happen. We know, however, that Silas was a foreigner and small town people always create these shadowy ideas about people whom they cannot relate to, and opt for making suggestions that are more impossible than plausible. Hence, his reputation in town was surrounded by mystery and enigma.