"The fotunes of Silas Marner" by George Eliot.

Essay by nettlesHigh School, 11th gradeA-, October 2003

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A Study into the Fortunes of Silas Marner.

George Eliot wrote Silas Marner in 1861. It is set in a time before the Industrial Revolution, a world that our society is unaware of. It is in a time where cloth was made at home in a weaver's cottage, rather than in large factories of mass production. Silas is a cottage weaver.

Silas Marner's fortunes throughout the book are many and varied. Although throughout the story he receives many setbacks and blows to his confidence, he seems to build on these and turn them to his advantage. His first major set back sets the scene for the rest of the book.

Silas' first misfortune occurs in his hometown of Lantern Yard. Here he is asked to keep vigil over the senior deacon; this is where Silas suffers from an epileptic fit, '...he had fallen...into a mysterious rigidity and suspension of consciousness.'

Silas lives in a time where catalepsy, or epilepsy, as we would now call it, is not known. This particular seizure allows William, one of Silas' best friends, to steal the church monies without anyone realising it. Silas' misfortune is to have this fit at a time when nobody else, save William, is around to witness it. This leads to Silas being blamed, in my view quite unfairly, for the theft of the church monies and he is excommunicated because, 'The lots declared that Silas Marner was guilty'. This betrayal by William severely 'bruise(s)' Silas' belief in God and trust in human nature.

After his excommunication, Silas moves within the week to Raveloe where he 'made his isolation more complete' by moving into one of the Squire's more remote cottages by the stone pit. It is here, in his isolated state, that he is unfortunate in the fact...