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Silas Marner

Silas Marner

by George Eliot

Wealth Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

And sure enough the wedding turned out all right, on'y poor Mrs Lammeter—that's Miss Osgood as was—died afore the lasses were growed up; but for prosperity and everything respectable, there's no family more looked on. (1.6.40)

The villagers don't always have their priorities in the right place. Here, there's a mix-up between prosperity and actually "turning out all right." From one perspective, the wedding didn't turn out all right at all. Mrs. Lammeter died early, leaving two young daughters. From another perspective—the one that the villagers adopt—the wedding turned out just fine, because the family is prosperous and, therefore, respectable. Prosperity, or having wealth, is the same as being respectable, and we all know that it gets you out of jail.

Quote #5

Formerly, his heart had been as a locked casket with its treasure inside; but now the casket was empty, and the lock was broken. (1.10.22)

This elaborate description of Silas's empty heart after the theft of his gold suggests that wealth got between Silas and his neighbors. Wealth took up the place in his heart that something else could have. This image of a locked heart resonates with some Christian imagery that suggests a Christian's heart must be empty in order to allow Christ to enter. It's also super heavy-handed with the symbolism: along with his metaphorical treasure (his trust) Silas's literal treasure (his gold) has been stolen.

Quote #6

The heap of gold seemed to glow and get larger beneath his agitated gaze. He leaned forward at last, and stretched forth his hand; but instead of the hard coin with the familiar resisting outline, his fingers encountered soft warm curls. (1.12.8)

Here, the cold coins that Silas has hoarded magically transform into a little girl. Where's the Disney option? There are a lot of fairytale-like aspects to Silas Marner, and the moment in which Silas finds that his stash has morphed into a real, live human is crucial.

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