Silas Marner

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Silas Marner Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After the early suppertime at the Red House, festivities reached a stage of jolliness and freedom and the servants and villagers crowded to the doors of the white parlor to look on the dancing. Nancy is seated with her father, as Godfrey stands a little ways off, attempting to avoid his father’s jokes about his and Nancy's relationship. At that moment, Silas Marner appears in the doorway carrying Godfrey’s own child. Marner says he’s looking for the doctor and that he has found a woman in the snow near the Stone Pits, dead, he thinks. Godfrey feels a sudden terror that the woman might not actually be dead.
All is normal at the Red House until Marner’s sudden appearance. Like his earlier appearance at the Rainbow, he interrupts a moment of joviality and startles everyone. Godfrey’s reaction is clearly the strongest because, with the arrival of his child, his secret life has collided with his happiness in the Red House. Godfrey’s wish that his wife be dead shows his desperation and dislike for the woman, his connection to her, and his fundamental weakness as a person who would rather evade responsibility by any means necessary.
Themes
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The ladies encourage Silas Marner to leave the child there, but he finds he cannot part with it. Godfrey offers to get Mrs. Winthrop for assistance, as Dr. Kimble heads toward the Stone Pits with Marner. Dolly tells Godfrey he need not come all the way to the cottage with her, but he insists. He waits outside the cottage as Dr. Kimble inspects the body, his thoughts jumping between hope and fear about the two outcomes of the situation. Dr. Kimble leaves the cottage and pronounces her dead.
Marner’s inability to part with the child shows the strong bond he is already forming with the little girl. Godfrey’s agitation causes him to leave the party to learn the truth about his wife. It is noteworthy that he is most preoccupied with the outcomes of life or death and how that will affect his life rather than concerned for his child, or his wife.
Themes
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Godfrey enters the cottage to see his secret wife’s body, but casts her only one glance. He asks Silas Marner if he’ll take the child to the parish the next day. Marner says he wishes to keep the child. His money’s gone and this child has appeared from the unknown. Godfrey gives Marner some money toward buying clothes for the child. Godfrey overtakes Dr. Kimble on the walk back and lies easily about his willingness to leave the party. With a sense of relief and gladness, he reappears in the White Parlor.
Godfrey’s gesture of giving Marner money for the child’s clothes reduces his relationship with his daughter to a monetary transaction. The only responsibility he feels for her can be covered with money. Godfrey lies to deceive Dr. Kimble, Marner, and Dolly about his true interest in the situation. He is relieved and glad, as he has not been up until this point in the novel.
Themes
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Godfrey feels strongly the opportunity he has from this point onward to say tender things to Nancy and to make promises to her. He realizes that Dunstan may still return and betray his secret, but he hopes to persuade Dunstan to be silent. What would the point be now of confessing the truth and losing what he has finally gained: his happiness with Nancy Lammeter?
Now that his happiness with Nancy is achievable, Godfrey has no interest in revealing the truth. This indicates that a past interest in telling his story was created from fear and anxiety and not any inclination to integrity. He wishes to have his happiness with Nancy, finally.
Themes
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
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