Silas Marner

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Silas Marner Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Silas Marner discovers that his new home in Raveloe is vastly different than Lantern Yard. The familiar figures, church, minister, and doctrine of Lantern Yard had been the basis of Marner’s faith and the presence of religion in his life. Raveloe seems to Marner to be a world of country abundance in which the villagers do not know of nor need the faith that Marner had relied on when he lived in Lantern Yard. Therefore, Marner feels little connection between his past life and his new present.
The physical details of Raveloe reveal the community’s insular nature, as well as its relationship with faith. While details describing Lantern Yard include primarily the people and the religious practices, Raveloe is a farming society, where people prioritize work, money, and local gossip over church attendance. It is as if Marner has moved to a new world.
Themes
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner’s first response to his shock at his false accusation had been to commit himself fully to his weaving work. Once settled in Raveloe, he wove without thought, as if from instinct, like a spider. Upon completing his first project, Marner was paid in gold, and the five guineas shone brightly in his hand. Money, in the past, had been the means to an end for Marner. But now, when any end he had sought was no longer attainable, the money itself became desirable.
Marner’s commitment to weaving is described as spider-like, a comparison which emphasizes the incessant nature of Marner’s weaving, and the way in which weaving is necessary to his survival. His soul has grown greedy and animalistic, and he desires only money, as a shiny object to hoard.
Themes
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
One day, Marner sees the cobbler’s wife, Sally Oates, suffering from heart disease and dropsy, which had also afflicted Marner’s mother. He brings her some foxglove to ease her pain, and through this act of charity, Marner feels emotions that he has not experienced since his departure from Lantern Yard. Soon other villagers come to Marner's cottage seeking charms and herbs to cure sicknesses. Marner turns each visitor away, disinclined to do anything false as he has limited ability to provide assistance with herbal remedies. The villagers resent his willful withholding of the skills he used to help Sally Oates, despite their dislike of skills they believe are acquired through devil worship.
Marner’s generous act for Sally Oates is a solitary kindness that nearly reminds Marner of what is missing in his life since his departure from Lantern Yard. However, this kindness does not improve Marner’s relationship with his neighbors. Marner is unwilling to offer other medical services, or to deceive his neighbors and take their payments by pretending he could help. Once again, his attempt to do right by others results in their increased dislike.
Themes
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner’s stash of money grows, and, with it, his desire for more gold. He stashes his money beneath some loose bricks in the floor under his loom. In the evenings, when his work is done, he takes out the money to admire it. He begins to feel that it is aware of him, like a conscious being, and he would not have willingly given up those specific coins. He rarely fears robbery, as hoarding one’s money was a common practice among country villagers where everyone knew everyone, and no one was inclined to run away from their village after robbing a neighbor.
The frequent, detailed descriptions of the gold reflect Marner’s obsession that has replaced his faith. His practice of taking out the coins to admire them, and the mutual awareness between him the coins, establishes their relationship as the type normally existing between two people rather than between a person and an object. The theft of Marner’s money is foreshadowed.
Themes
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Get the entire Silas Marner LitChart as a printable PDF.
Silas marner.pdf.medium
Marner’s life has withered to the solitary practices of weaving and hoarding his gold. After twelve years in Raveloe, he is fetching water from the well one day when he stumbles and drops his earthenware pot, which breaks. The broken pot saddens Marner, and he reassembles the pieces, and stores the broken pot in his cottage as a memorial. Likewise, Marner treasures his growing pile of coins. At night, he takes them out, counts them, spreads them out in piles, and runs his hands through them. His thoughts linger on his coins when he ventures outside to deliver his woven products.
The brief story of Marner’s broken pot shows that Marner’s heart has not hardened beyond sympathetic feelings. However, these feelings are directed at an inanimate object. Marner’s obsession with things has replaced any connections with human beings. He treats objects, primarily his gold, with the sentimentality, respect, and attention normally reserved for people.
Themes
The Individual and Society Theme Icon