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Analysis

Literary Devices in Silas Marner

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Eliot sets her novel in an idyllic village full of "nutty hedgerows" (1.1.2) that is "nestled in a snug well-wooded hollow" with a "fine old church […] and two or three large brick-and-stone home...

Narrator Point of View

Oh boy, is this narrator omniscient. She occasionally pulls back to make some sort of grand philosophical statement, like the almost impenetrable "Minds that have been unhinged from their old faith...

Genre

The tricky thing about Silas Marner is that it's both incredibly realistic and totally implausible. The realist bits come through in the style (see "Writing Style" for more about that). The setting...

Tone

Snarky and sentimental? You betcha. Eliot's narrator veers from cloying to caustic so abruptly that you might need Dramamine. For example, she goes from describing Mrs. Kimble as having "a double d...

Writing Style

Describing Silas Marner as slice-of-life realism is not quite fair—it's a lot more than that—but many critics have noticed the "Dutch realism" of her writing here. Dutch realism refers to paint...

What's Up With the Title?

Silas Marner, the Weaver of Raveloe By titling her novel Silas Marner, Eliot is participating in a long tradition of naming books after their protagonist: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Samuel Ri...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

A child, more than all other gifts That earth can offer to declining man,Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts—Wordsworth William Wordsworth, a major player in the British Romantic mo...

What's Up With the Ending?

Silas Marner ends with a wedding, a curiously optimistic send-off for a novel that has led its protagonist Silas (and its secondary protagonist Godfrey) through one misfortune after another. The pa...

Tough-o-Meter

The plot of Silas Marner is simple and the writing some of Eliot's clearest, but the dialect can be tricky. Eliot was careful to represent country language accurately, as in this gobsmacker of a pa...

Plot Analysis

Betrayed, Disgraced, Erased It's easy to miss, but Silas Marner is actually a multi-plot novel. Multi-plot novels are something of a George Eliot-special, most famously Daniel Deronda, in which the...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Silas is exiled from Lantern-Yard. Godfrey marries Molly.When the novel opens, Silas is in a bad state: his friend and fiancée have betrayed him, and he's been kicked out of the only home he's eve...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

In Act I, Silas is evicted from Lantern-Yard, settles down in Raveloe, and begins to hoard his money. Act I kicks off the story with a gruesome death and a dastardly theft, both of which seem like...

Trivia

Eliot just said no to drugs. She wrote: "The highest 'calling and election' is to do without opium and live through all our pain with conscious, clear-eyed endurance." (George Eliot, letter of 26 D...

Steaminess Rating

On the steaminess scale, Silas Marner is about as foggy as tepid bathwater. And the only reason that we're giving this even a rating of "tepid" is the descriptions of Eppie as:[A] blond dimpled gir...

Allusions

Lethe (1.2.1), a river of the underworld in Greek mythology, associated with sleepMant's Bible (2.17.22), an annotated and illustrated version of the Bible published in 1817"beauty born of murmurin...
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