Essay: Silas Marner – The Weaver of Raveloe

Silas Marner was one of those rare persons when he came to live in Raveloe, he left his hometown and very disappointed by all the people there and having lost faith in God, now Silas lives only for his work as a weaver, collecting the gold.
So, another major theme of the novel is the religion and its effect on Silas’s life. Because as we know from previous Marner lived in a community where he was a member of the church and was a faithful person who trusted God.
But, Silas early faith the one I have just mentioned is distinctly different from the faith he regains in later years, particularly in Raveloe.
Marner believes God will reveal his innocence, but when the church draws lots to make a decision and declare him guilty, he loses his faith in God, and wants to escpae and hide even from it.
When it comes to the community of Lantern Yard, of which Silas was a member it was called by the narrator as a ‘narrow religious sect’, and when we analyze the word narrow as well as the noun sect, we immediately recognize that these have no positive connotations.
The author doesn’t specifically or intentionally neither state that religion is bad just because Silas’s misfortune occurred and he was blamed, nor that religion was dangerous. She doesn’t ever say that one shouldn’t be religious too.
Instead of this, the author presents certain aspects of religion that she believes are prone to creating uncertainty and confusion. Silas Marner states that how one treats others is more important that the religion one follows or if one believes in God.
In other words Silas’s loss of religious faith, recalls Eliot’s own struggle with her faith.
Eliot is very careful to never attack the existence of God, even when Silas feels betrayed, he keeps his faith in the existence of God, but he believes that there is no just God that governs the earth righteously but a God of lies.
The ‘enthusiastic’ personal religious experience is to be distinguished from the ‘demon-worship’ of these people, for they do not worship God but the devil. Because it is not only that Silas lives isolated, but there is something definitely wrong with the country folks themselves, their ignorance and nastiness. Therefore what narrator is doing is implicitly making a distinction between the true and false religion, according to the main character and the society.
He contends that the superstitious and ‘rude’ minds of the peasants have ‘never been illuminated by any enthusiastic religious faith’, so it is clearly understandable that religion had another concept. Probably, Silas Marner’s religious faith was not as strong as he thought and so it turned out to be. The fifteen years of isolation and after that the discovery of the little girl Eppie whom Silas raises with the love and care makes him rediscover an interest in human connection.
What is more important is that Silas regains his faith and this time probably stronger than before.
As it is opposed with a quote of Wordsworth in one of his poems that,
‘A child, more than all other gifts, that earth can offer to declining man, brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts’.
It is Eppie who is a gift to Silas and her love and care a reminder that he should again believe in life and living.

Source: Essay UK -

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