Why did George Eliot write "Silas Marner"?

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You might want to approach this question by thinking about what themes the novel tries to communicate. Certainly this story operates as a kind of fable about the redemptive power of love as we see one man who appears to have given up on life so long ago re-enter it...

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You might want to approach this question by thinking about what themes the novel tries to communicate. Certainly this story operates as a kind of fable about the redemptive power of love as we see one man who appears to have given up on life so long ago re-enter it with great joy and gusto.

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George Eliot wrote Silas Marner, a story about old-fashioned village life to examine the complexities of human relationships. It chronicles the hardships and successes of the title character as his life is defined and redefined by circumstances some in his control others not.

Eliot's publisher commented that the novel was very sad. 

"Eliot replied that it was not a sad story because “it sets in a strong light the remedial influences of pure, natural human relations.”  

Eliot celebrates the many chances that each individual has in life to find meaning and contentment.  The story has a happy ending, a fairytale ending.

"It also presents a realistic portrait of nineteenth-century life in a traditional English village in which the spirit of kindness and cooperation overrule petty differences."

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George Eliot herself says in her diary that the idea of Silas Marner came to her quite suddenly.  She actually put off her writing of Romola to write the new book which became Silas Marner.  The novel itself was a rustic novel, that is it showed the contrast between the evils of modern society and the value of a simple life close to nature.  At the time that Eliot wrote the novel she had recently moved from her country home back to London.  Eliot, really Mary Anne Evans, was living openly with her lover, George Lewes.  This was a shocking moral lapse in Victorian society.  Upon their return to London, they were ostracized from polite society because of their immoral relationship.  Unfortunately the couple could not marry because Lewes could not obtain a divorce from his unfaithful wife.  I believe that her unhappiness with city life in London may have spurred her to write this novel where healing was brought in a natural setting by a child.

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