Silas Marner

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The young daughter of Godfrey Cass and Molly Farren, Eppie wanders into Silas Marner’s cottage during a snowstorm in which her mother perishes. Eppie is a beautiful, golden-haired child and her hair color is linked to the gold, which had been recently stolen from Silas Marner. She is mischievous as a young girl, primarily because Marner refuses to discipline her in any way. Eppie grows into a sweet tempered, lovely young woman who is devoted to her father. The love between Silas Marner and Eppie reestablishes Marner’s interest in the village of Raveloe, in faith, and in community. Upon discovering that Godfrey is her true father, Eppie is unimpressed by his willful desire to take her away from the company and father she has always known. She stands up to Godfrey and refuses his offer. Eppie and the son of the Winthrops, Aaron, fall in love and are married at the end of the novel.

Eppie Quotes in Silas Marner

The Silas Marner quotes below are all either spoken by Eppie or refer to Eppie. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Silas Marner published in 1996.
Chapter 14 Quotes

Thought and feeling were so confused within him [Silas Marner], that if he had tried to give them utterance, he could only have said that the child was come instead of the gold—that the gold had turned into the child.

Related Characters: Silas Marner, Eppie
Related Symbols: Gold
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

As seen before, Silas Marner sees a strong connection between the gold he has lost and the child he has found. Their physical similarities (gold color and golden hair), their mysterious disappearance and arrival, and their location near his hearth, link the two in his mind. The timing of the loss of one and discovery of the other also leads Marner to have many confusing thoughts and feelings. He is devastated by the loss of his gold, which was the only thing he held dear to his heart. The child fills the gap left by the gold, and, as the novel shows, takes up her place in Marner’s heart in a more meaningful way.

In this passage, Marner understands the loss of the gold and the arrival of the child as less of a replacement and more of a transformation. He thinks, “the gold had turned into the child.” This transformation is his way of explaining something that is beyond his ability to understand. Instead of thinking about a cruel power that is bringing him unhappiness, Marner is considering a fantastical transformation that isn’t one of loss and gain, but one of change. He is reworking his bitter understanding of the loss of his gold, as he grows to believe that he hasn’t lost the gold, only that it has changed into something far better.

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“…the little child had come to link him [Silas Marner] once more with the whole world.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner, Eppie
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

When Silas Marner takes in the little orphaned child, the villagers of Raveloe gain a new interest in Marner and grow to see him in a new light. The once-frightening weaver is approachable with the little girl at his side. Mothers from the village come to Marner with help and advice. The child gives the people of Raveloe a reason to reach out to Marner, in addition to a new understanding of him as a kind-hearted, if lonely, soul. Therefore, it is through Eppie that Marner is once again “linked” with “the whole world.” This transition presents a parallel (yet opposite) transition to Marner's departure from Lantern Yard. There Marner severed ties with the world because others saw him as a threat. He was seen as a thief and a liar and he was cut off from his community.

The people of Raveloe's dramatic change shows that the opinions of society play a critical role in the relationship between society and the individual. If the individual is mistrusted, he is cast out. If the individual is well-liked, he is embraced as part of the group. This can be either logical or illogical. Marner deserves the respect of the villagers for taking care of Eppie. On the other hand, Marner was falsely accused in Lantern Yard and public opinion turned against him without good reason.

Chapter 16 Quotes

By seeking what was needful for Eppie, by sharing the effect that everything produced on her, he [Silas Marner] had himself come to appropriate the forms of custom and belief which were the mould of Raveloe life; and as, with reawakening sensibilities, memory also reawakened, he had begun to ponder over the elements of his old faith, and blend them with his new impressions, till he recovered a consciousness of unity between his past and present.

Related Characters: Silas Marner, Eppie
Related Symbols: Raveloe
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

Silas Marner loves Eppie and seeks out everything that is best for her, and, in the process, his personality changes from one of cold isolation into one who participates in the “forms of custom and belief” in Raveloe. This has the effect of helping Marner fit into Raveloe and become a part of the community. It also has the effect of restoring Marner to something like the person he was before his first hardship (his expulsion from Lantern Yard). This earlier person was a man of faith, and faith is one thing Marner regains as he raises Eppie and becomes part of Raveloe society. Marner must recover elements of his “old faith” and “blend them with his new impressions.” This integration of the old and the new is important because it allows Marner to see his episode as an isolated weaver as an interruption in a connected past and present. He is not meant to be that sad and isolated person forever. He regains his natural care for others and the faith he had as a young man.

Notably, part of Marner’s transformation involves taking on the “mould of Raveloe life.” Not only does he become part of a community, but he adjusts himself to specific traits and ideas of that community. This is later very apparent when Eppie and Marner visit Lantern Yard. Both miss the ways of life in Raveloe to which they are accustomed.

Chapter 20 Quotes

“She thinks I did wrong by her mother as well as by her. She thinks me worse than I am. But she must think it: she can never know all. It's part of my punishment, Nancy, for my daughter to dislike me.”

Related Characters: Godfrey Cass (speaker), Godfrey Cass, Eppie, Nancy Lammeter, Molly Farren
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:

After Godfrey and Nancy fail to convince Eppie to live with them, Godfrey reflects on Eppie’s dislike of him. He is troubled by Eppie’s refusal, which is the reason the couple agrees to leave the girl with her adoptive father. Godfrey says that he knows Eppie blames him for what he did to her, as well as to her mother. He thinks that Eppie’s opinion of him is too harsh, but resigns himself to this fact because it is part of his “punishment.” Godfrey’s odd opinion shows both his inherently selfish nature, as well as the ways he has begun to repent for his past actions. He is reluctant to think ill of himself, and, as usual, pushes the blame off onto another person. He thinks Eppie is too harsh because she “can never know all” of what he’s been through. But, at the same time, he is more willing to accept Eppie’s opinion than he once would have been. He sees her opinion as fate, or the will of God. It is inevitable that she dislike him because of his past actions.

At one point, Godfrey would have been happy to escape scot-free from any blame for his misdeeds. Now, he is more willing to bear the burden of living childless after having chosen to reject a biological child. Despite this new understanding of God’s will, Godfrey is as ready as ever to play the victim, rather than to take responsibility. His imperfect character ends the book in imperfect happiness, a prime example of the book’s "moral" lesson.

Chapter 21 Quotes

“It's gone, child," he [Silas Marner] said, at last, in strong agitation—“Lantern Yard's gone. It must ha' been here, because here's the house with the o'erhanging window—I know that—it's just the same; but they've made this new opening; and see that big factory! It's all gone—chapel and all.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner (speaker), Eppie
Related Symbols: Lantern Yard
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

Even though Silas Marner’s life has been changed for the better because of Eppie, he still feels unease about his past in Lantern Yard. He wonders if his name was ever cleared from the crime for which he was blamed. Seeking answers to these questions, Marner and Eppie visit Lantern Yard, only to discover that the town has grown into a city and has been completely transformed by the Industrial Revolution. A big factory has replaced the local chapel and the community where Marner lived. Despite these changes, Marner recognizes the location by a house with a distinct overhanging window. This confirms for him that the place he once knew, and the people he knew there, are gone.

This dramatic change shows a contrast between Raveloe and Lantern Yard. In the rural village, little has changed over the course of the book, but Lantern Yard is transformed. This transformation heralds the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which will affect even rural places like Raveloe. This historical context for the novel hints at the changes that England will face in the near future, which exist ominously in relationship to the villagers of Raveloe’s fear of change.

Although Marner once defined himself in relationship to society in Lantern Yard, this society is gone—and Marner remains. Society is not more permanent than the individual, but is always in flux. Yet the consistency and familiarity of Raveloe also offers comfort and security to both Marner and Eppie. Marner is eager to return home after visiting Lantern Yard—similarly, Eppie didn’t want to live with Godfrey and Nancy because it would mean leaving the comfort of Marner's familiar society.

“Since the time the child was sent to me and I've come to love her as myself, I've had light enough to trusten by; and now she says she'll never leave me, I think I shall trusten till I die.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner (speaker), Eppie
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

Marner tells Mrs. Winthrop that Eppie has changed his life because she brought light enough for him to “trusten by.” This idea of light and trust is two-fold. First, Marner is continuing a metaphor Mrs. Winthrop began earlier in their conversation when she referred to some things that are “dark” to humans: things we cannot explain or understand. On the other hand, those things that are "light" to us are so clear and obvious that they will never be questioned. Silas Marner feels this way about his love for Eppie. Marner also gains a newfound trust in God and in humanity because of Eppie’s presence in his life. Her love showed him the value of companionship and the value of being part of the society of Raveloe, and seemed to show him that a benevolent God brought Eppie to him in the first place.

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Eppie Character Timeline in Silas Marner

The timeline below shows where the character Eppie appears in Silas Marner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...sister. Dolly says she ought to have a nickname, and Marner decides to call her Eppie. Marner finally attends church for Eppie’s christening, but the practices and congregation are so different... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...had been the center of his attention, needed nothing, and could be worshipped in isolation. Eppie, on the other hand, needs many things that carry his attention away from his solitary... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Eppie grows into a troublesome toddler, but Marner finds he never has the heart to punish... (full context)
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
One day, however, Eppie causes more mischief than usual. Using Marner’s scissors, she cuts herself free of the linen... (full context)
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The failure of the coal hole punishment discourages Marner from ever again attempting to discipline Eppie. Marner carries the little girl with him on journeys and deliveries. Everywhere the pair goes... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
From a distance, Godfrey watches Eppie grow up in Silas Marner’s care. Occasionally he does what he can to help the... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Sixteen years have passed since Silas Marner discovered Eppie asleep on his hearth. The villagers of Raveloe are leaving their Sunday morning church service.... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Aaron Winthrop, now a good-looking young fellow, follows Marner and Eppie from the church. Eppie expresses to her father how much she wishes they had a... (full context)
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Once Aaron turns back to the village, Eppie skips in happy triumph, declaring that she knew Aaron would volunteer to help. At the... (full context)
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner watches Eppie as she prepares their Sunday meal at the hearth. He has kept the hearth and... (full context)
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Marner has been able to talk of his past with Eppie too as she has grown older. He’s always been honest with her about her past,... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Eppie and Marner sit outside discussing their garden and the stones they could gather to build... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
After the pair has been sitting a while in silence, Eppie asks her father whether, if she were to be married, she should be married with... (full context)
Chapter 17
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The Individual and Society Theme Icon
From the first suggestion of adoption, Godfrey had specifically spoken of Eppie as a child whom they could adopt. Surely the weaver would be pleased by this... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Godfrey’s conscience is never easy about Eppie and his lack of children with Nancy feels like an intentional punishment. The couple hasn’t... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...his past a secret: the dead woman found by Silas Marner was his wife and Eppie is his child. Nancy is silent as Godfrey tells her that he couldn’t bear to... (full context)
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...as he pleads for her forgiveness. She’s more troubled by the wrong he has done Eppie for fifteen years. Godfrey says they can still adopt the girl, although it will be... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Morality Theme Icon
That evening, Silas Marner and Eppie are sitting alone in the cottage. Marner is exhausted by the events of the afternoon,... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
There is a knock at the door and Eppie blushes when she opens the door to admit Mr. and Mrs. Cass. Godfrey first apologizes... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
...that he and Mrs. Cass have no children and, therefore, they would like to adopt Eppie as their own. As Godfrey speaks, Eppie puts her arm around Marner and feels him... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Godfrey, irritated, exclaims that he has a claim on Eppie because she is his child and her mother was his wife. Eppie is startled. Marner... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Godfrey urges rationality. Such a change wouldn’t tear Marner and Eppie apart forever, he argues. He says that he feels it’s his duty to care for... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Eppie insists that she would never again be happy if she were forced to leave her... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
...wrongs has been thwarted. He leaves abruptly, unable to say anything else to Marner and Eppie, and Nancy follows more gracefully. (full context)
Chapter 20
Morality Theme Icon
...each other in mutual understanding. Nancy admits they’ll have to give up hope of adopting Eppie. Godfrey says that Marner was right about turning away a blessing from one’s door: it... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...relieved that Priscilla and her father won’t be troubled with the truth. Godfrey realizes that Eppie didn’t like the idea of him being her father, and that she thinks he did... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The next morning, as Silas Marner and Eppie are eating breakfast, Marner tells Eppie that there’s something he’s been meaning to do for... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Silas Marner and Eppie arrive in Lantern Yard only to find a great manufacturing town, altered to a bewildering... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...is gone,” Marner cries. The large factory has replaced the chapel and everything Marner remembers. Eppie leads her father into a brush shop to ask about the old chapel, but no... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...Marner or Dolly to see and understand what that may be. Marner says that since Eppie has appeared in his life he’s been able to trust again in the world, and... (full context)
Part 2, Conclusion
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Eppie and Aaron are married on a beautiful sunny day. Eppie wears a dress of white... (full context)
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Morality Theme Icon
The cottage at the Stone Pits now has a larger garden than Eppie ever dreamed of. Other alterations were made by Godfrey Cass to accommodate Silas Marner’s growing... (full context)