by George Eliot
Silas Marner Tradition Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
Time out of mind the Raveloe doctor had been a Kimble; Kimble was inherently a doctor's name; and it was difficult to contemplate firmly the melancholy fact that the actual Kimble had no son, so that his practice might one day be handed over to a successor, with the incongruous name of Taylor or Johnson. (1.11.35)
"Time out of mind" appears more than once in Silas Marner. The phrase emphasizes how Raveloe operates in a time-loop, and it also draws attention to the importance of family names. The tradition of having a certain family perform a certain role is more important than the individual who is currently occupying it. By the end of Silas Marner, Eliot has deflated that idea by letting Eppie choose her own family.
Already Mr Macey and a few other privileged villagers, who were allowed to be spectators on these great occasions, were seated on benches placed for them near the door; and great was the admiration and satisfaction in that quarter when the couples had formed themselves for the dance, and the Squire led off with Mrs Crackenthorp, joining hands with the rector and Mrs Osgood. That was as it should be—that was what everybody had been used to—and the charter of Raveloe seemed to be renewed by the ceremony. (1.11.61)
Another tradition of the New Year's dance is to allow villagers to watch the wealthier folk cavorting. Forget the rumblings of the 99%: these villagers are not only perfectly content for the rich people to party, they consider it proper and natural. Tradition dictates that everyone has a role to play.
For Silas would not consent to have a grate and oven added to his conveniences: he loved the old brick hearth as he had loved his brown pot—and was it not there when he had found Eppie? The gods of the hearth exist for us still; and let all new faith be tolerant of that fetishism, lest it bruise its own roots. (2.16.27)
Silas is so attached to his household objects that he worships a broken pot and refuses to upgrade his appliances. We're just speculating here, but maybe he clings to things because he had to leave all his friends and his childhood home.