Saturday, 11 May 2013

''Silas Marner''- Book Review

Author: George Eliot
Published: 1861

Genres: Novel, Victorian literature

Rating: 4 out of 5


I liked George Eliot's ''Silas Marner''. It was a simple and smooth, pleasant, quite emotional read. The titular character, the protagonist, is a weaver,who is falsely accused of a theft apparently committed by his best friend. After this, he loses his trust on humans- and a few days later, goes away to a village named Raveloe. Living in a stone hut, and weaving all day, he isolates himself, and keeps no communication with people (except, of course, for business purposes). People, meanwhile, have strange superstitions and ideas about him. Living alone, he grows an obsession for the money that he earns, and his life becomes centered on two things- his work and money. He starts hoarding his wealth, and notoriously becomes known as a miser. He becomes detached from the society.

Godfrey Cass is the son of Squire Cass. He has a terrible secret, that he is secretly married to a woman, who is addicted to opium and whom his father will certainly never accept. The only person who knows this secret is Godfrey's brother Dunstan, who blackmails him. Godfrey had lent some of his father's money to Dunstan, who spends it and, to pay it back to his father, Godfrey tells Dunstan to sell his horse. But the horse meets an accidental death- and Dunston, unable to get the money, sneaks into Silas Marner's house and steals all his hidden money.

Silas Marner is devastated seeing his money has disappeared. The money had somewhat been the purpose of his life. People slowly begin taking sympathy on him, and their views about Silas Marner start to improve. A twist comes in the story as Godfrey's wife is found dead in the snow, and Godfrey doesn't admit that it is his wife... Silas Marner finds Godfrey's infant daughter (who had been traveling with her mother), and starts raising her as his own daughter. Godfrey never reveals that the girl is, in fact, his daughter. Silas starts loving the girl, and his life takes a new direction, and he is again united with the society. His adopted daughter brings changes to his isolated lifestyle... bringing new hope and purpose to his life.

This was a relatively short novel and it told a story of isolation, of disappointment, and also gave a portrait of how isolated life can be. Then, a new hope comes in Silas Marner's life... the little child he finds and raises as his own daughter.  I liked the characters. Silas Marner, of course. Nancy Lammeter, Godfrey Cass, Eppie, to name but a few... These characters had an emotional depth. Godfrey's love for Nancy was quite touching. Silas and Eppie's father-daughter relation was wonderful. Yet, most of the characters were not that much well developed because of the fast paced nature (it became really fast paced from the time Eppie grew up) and short length of the novel. 

The novel reminded me of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, because Silas and Eppie had similarities with Jean Valjean and Cossette. 

I really liked reading Silas Marner. It wasn't a great read. But it was very good, really very good and memorable.

4 out of 5


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