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Friday, April 19, 2013

Silas Marner: The Book

Silas Marner
Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life. His fate, and that of the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. Silas Marner, George Eliot's favourite of her novels, combines humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism to create an unsentimental but affectionate portrait of rural life. 

I've been studying Silas Marner for my English Literature course this year and my mom wanted me to write a review of it on my blog along with some mini characters sketches of all the main characters (which will be forthcoming).  And since a full film adaption of the book is on Youtube, I'll probably be watching it and writing a review.  At least that's what I expect I'll have to do ;)

Silas Marner is the first George Elliot (or Mary Ann Evans) book that I've read (although I have Middlemarch on my shelf...I really should read that soon).  I knew the basic premise of the story (I watched this when I was younger and it gave me a few clues) before reading it, but there were a few surprises.  Now I usually don't like books that I have to study and really dissect all the plot points, etc. (that being said, I really can't wait to start A Tale Of Two Cities in school next year).  But.  I did enjoy this book.  It's definitely not on my top ten favorite classics list (maybe even not on the top twenty) but I did like it.  There were parts I did like and parts that I didn't.  And since I really don't like writing detailed reviews (even about books I love), I'm going to give the likes/dislikes in point form.

  • Silas' character change (which I'll be detailing in the characters post).  I love it when characters undergo a change (if it's a change for the better)...Mr Darcy, Flynn Ryder, Jean Valjean.  Basically, Silas undergoes three major character changes - and I'll leave the explaining of those changes for the characters post :)
  • The plot was interesting, especially the subplot (?) with Godfrey and Dunstan.
  • Aaron [for the life of me, I can't remember his last name - I'm not even sure the book mentions it]...I think he was my favorite character.  I mean, he's only in the book for a couple of chapters, but I love how he's so awkward and shy around Eppie.  It was sweet.  And 'Aaron' is my favorite boy's name.  Which is petty when it comes to liking (or disliking) a character but that's probably one of the reasons I like him so much.
  • I think Silas and Eppie's relationship is a lot like Valjean and Cosette (it really 'twas impossible to not bring Les Mis into this post).  Eppie's mother dies and Silas takes care of her even though he's a rather unlikely character to be a father.  She quickly becomes his all in all.  When she grows up and young man expresses an interest in her, Silas is worried.  I found the comparisons interesting... 
  • The ending.  I thought the ending of the book was very rushed.  About three-fourths of the book is about Silas and his weaving, Silas and his gold, Silas and little Eppie.  Then we have a huge time jump and suddenly Eppie is all grown up, Godfrey reveals his relationship to Eppie and then Eppie and Aaron get married.  I would have liked to see more of grown up Eppie (and, of course, Aaron).
  • I never really understood why Godfrey revealed his secret to Nancy.  But at least he did and their marriage still held together.  My mom and I have often talked about how if Lady Dedlock (Bleak House) had revealed her secret to her husband, things would have worked out for them.  So the situation in Silas Marner is sort of a reverse of the one in Bleak House (in case you haven't noticed, I'm rambling).
  • I can't really explain exactly why this book isn't one of my favorites.  I think if I read it all in one sitting without pausing to take notes or write down answers, I'll enjoy it more.  Hopefully.
Would I read it again?  Yes.  But I don't think George Elliot books are going to become a new obsession (like Jane Austen or The Scarlet Pimpernel).

What are your thoughts on Silas Marner?

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