Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for his precious hoard of gold. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child, Eppie, finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life.
The story of an isolated man who learns to open his heart, Silas Marner was George Eliot’s favourite of her novels, combining humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism.
Classic fiction often brings a stimulating conversation to our meetings. The majority of our group has come to reading classics later in life, so what we lack in literary comment is made up for with unqualified, yet genuine observation.
This type of discussion can then lead to a very enlightening look at what can some times be a rather sombre or staid study.
Generally speaking Silas Marner was well received. Praise was given to Eliot’s descriptive passages and character profiles. Village life was superbly portrayed with all the human characters tenderly drawn out. Everyone loved Dolly and her freely given advice on child-rearing, and anything else she felt needed saying! Empathy for Silas was also forth coming and even the neat and tidy, happy ending was forgiven.
There was some comment on the difficulty of the language and also the pace, which was just a little slow and frustrating for this busy time of year. We all agree that along with many other English classics, Silas is at its best when being read aloud. A few of us read out favourite passages and the group’s enjoyment was clearly evident.
It was felt that the theme of redemption was strong and could apply to many modern stories today, but basically this was a beautifully told ‘fairy’ tale that did not fail in its aim to enchant us.