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Silas Marner

Silas Marner


by George Eliot

Silas Marner Isolation Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

Subtle and varied pains springing from the higher sensibility that accompanies higher culture, are perhaps less pitiable than that dreary absence of impersonal enjoyment and consolation which leaves ruder minds to the perpetual urgent companionship of their own griefs and discontents. (1.3.37)

What Eliot seems to be saying in this confusing sentence is that poor people are worse off if they're isolated, because they don't have the culture and sensibility to be company for themselves. In other words, Godfrey would be better off than Silas in the same situation. Poor people need community more than the wealthy—just like they seem to need religion more, too. Hm, Eliot's kind of leaning toward the 1% here, isn't she?

Quote #5

Silas spent his Christmas-day in loneliness, eating his meat in sadness of heart, though the meat had come to him as a neighbourly present. In the morning he looked out on the black frost that seemed to press cruelly on every blade of grass, while the half-icy red pool shivered under the bitter wind; but towards evening the snow began to fall, and curtained from him even that dreary outlook, shutting him close up with his narrow grief. And he sat in his robbed home through the livelong evening, not caring to close his shutters or lock his door, pressing his head between his hands and moaning, till the cold grasped him and told him that his fire was grey. (1.10.54)

If Silas were in Misers Anonymous, this would be his story of hitting rock-bottom. After all Dolly's kind efforts and the neighbors' gentle attempts to reach out to him, he's still sitting alone on Christmas. To rejoin the world, it'll take a miracle—a miracle in the form of a golden-haired child.

Quote #6

As the child's mind was growing into knowledge, his mind was growing into memory: as her life unfolded, his soul, long stupified in a cold narrow prison, was unfolding too, and trembling gradually into full consciousness. (1.14.35)

This sentence pulls out a hammer and hits you over the head to make sure you're paying attention: a child's maturation is similar to Silas's rejoining community. It emphasizes, or insists on, a reading of the novel as an allegory of the soul's growth by making Silas's character growth seem to match Eppie's physical and mental growth.

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