Silas Marner was an honest, hard-working weaver in a small, English village where all of the inhabitants were pious church goers of a rather superstitious sort. Not long into the novel, he is betrayed by his best friend, declared guilty of theft as the result of a lot drawing and as a result leaves the village and his religion along with it.
Silas finds another town where he is able to ply his trade and live in reclusive peace. His new neighbours try to be kindly and help integrate him into village life, but Silas has lost his trust in mankind. He shuns most contact with people and all contact with the church, which is the centre of village life at that time. He lives like this for many years earning money and hoarding it as his only trustworthy friend. It’s almost as if he is no longer able to stop and ask himself if he is happy and if there is anything in his life that he would like to improve. Unfortunately, Silas’ troubles are not over and he yet again falls victim to the evil of mankind and once again his life is changed forever.
Silas Marner is the study of human nature and the ways it can fail or succeed depending on the surroundings and people. It’s something like an early proponent of networking to get along in life. If you know people you can rely on and are willing to follow the social rules set up by society, your life will be much easier than if you go it your own way. Eliot explores the good and the bad of religion and of mankind. Her outlook is positive and perhaps a little idealistic, but that really makes for a good story, even if not as realistic as it might be. This one is another 5/5 for me just because I thought it was a happy, cheering story. The only negative thing I have to say is that the first half is a little depressing, but it’s necessary and not overly dramatic, so I can forgive that. I’ll be reading more of Eliot in the future.