by George Eliot
Silas Marner Community Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
The long pipes gave a simultaneous movement, like the antennae of startled insects, and every man present, not excepting even the sceptical farrier, had an impression that he saw, not Silas Marner in the flesh, but an apparition[.] (1.7.1)
This funny image of the smokers at the Rainbow Inn compares the villagers to a colony of insects all moving as one. Eliot, who never met a metaphor she didn't like, does a lot with this one. Insects represent both Silas's isolation and the collectivism of Raveloe.
This strangely novel situation of opening his trouble to his Raveloe neighbours, of sitting in the warmth of a hearth not his own, and feeling the presence of faces and voices which were his nearest promise of help, had doubtless its influence on Marner, in spite of his passionate preoccupation with his loss. (1.7.19)
This is the first time Silas has ever gone to his neighbors for anything. Even the simple act of reporting a theft starts to open the community's arms; it doesn't hurt that it's a lot easier to sympathize with someone who's just been robbed than it is to feel sorry for a rich, cranky miser.
In fact, there was a general feeling in the village, that for the clearing-up of this robbery there must be a great deal done at the Rainbow, and that no man need offer his wife an excuse for going there while it was the scene of severe public duties. (1.8.9)
The men figure they have to go down to the bar to help Silas solve the robbery. Individual misfortune brings the whole village together—at least, the male portion of it; no word on what the women are doing—and the togetherness happens at the pub. They don't call alcohol a social lubricant for nothing. Communal acts of smoking and drinking together are a kind of communion, just like eating together.