Silas Marner

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Nancy Lammeter Character Analysis

An elegant young woman who lives in Raveloe, Nancy inspires Godfrey’s love and affection despite his unfortunate secret marriage. Nancy is a strong-minded woman who is committed to her ideals. For example, she refuses to adopt a child, although she cannot have children, because she believes such an act willfully disregards the fate given by God. She is precise, tidy, and hardworking. Her elegant appearance does not extend to her hands, which show the marks of her labor. Once married to Godfrey, she becomes a good mistress of the Red House, although she reflects frequently on her and Godfrey’s lack of children and Godfrey’s unhappiness.

Nancy Lammeter Quotes in Silas Marner

The Silas Marner quotes below are all either spoken by Nancy Lammeter or refer to Nancy Lammeter. 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 18 Quotes

“Everything comes to light, Nancy, sooner or later. When God Almighty wills it, our secrets are found out.”

Related Characters: Godfrey Cass (speaker), Nancy Lammeter
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

Godfrey finally finds the strength to confess the truth about Molly and Eppie to his wife Nancy. This strength is born of the shame he feels when Dunstan’s body is found at the bottom of the stone pits with Silas Marner’s stolen gold. As he begins to explain his secrets to Nancy, he starts with this proclamation: that everything hidden is at some point revealed. He sees the hand of God in what has happened to Dunstan. Despite the long time his brother was missing, the truth of his cruelty in robbing a lonely man is finally revealed. The chance events that led to this secret coming to light convince Godfrey that all secrets are eventually revealed, and he had better not tempt fate by continuing to lie.

This is a change for Godfrey, who once struggled to confess his secrets, but always failed. Godfrey has clearly grown as a person, although he has not entirely changed. His willful plan to adopt Eppie, regardless of Marner’s wishes, shows that he is still self-focused. But he has a new faith and understanding of God, and he sees events as the products of God’s will. Where once he relied on chance to save him, knowing no other way, now he actively engages with the idea of a God who controls events. Nancy has a very strong faith and seems to have influenced her husband’s thinking and character, as Godfrey once hoped that his father could have more positively shaped his character.

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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.

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Nancy Lammeter Character Timeline in Silas Marner

The timeline below shows where the character Nancy Lammeter appears in Silas Marner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...that such behavior on Godfrey’s part will cost him the heart of a young woman, Nancy Lammeter, who has looked favorably upon him for the past year. (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...is supposed to attend Mrs. Osgood’s birthday dance the next day. Dunstan teases him about Nancy Lammeter who will be at the dance and who doesn’t know of Godfrey’s secret marriage.... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Godfrey’s naturally irresolute personality and his fear of losing Nancy Lammeter’s affections, should his secret become known, have stopped him from telling Squire Cass everything.... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
...having gotten himself into this situation. For four years, he has wooed and dreamt of Nancy Lammeter. He longs for the comfort of a domestic life with her, having grown up... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...to find Dunstan has not returned. His thoughts are too occupied with having seen Miss Nancy Lammeter, and despair that he cannot free himself from his secret wife, in order to... (full context)
Chapter 9
Morality Theme Icon
...discipline in his life. Squire Cass mentions that he’s never dissuaded his son from marrying Nancy Lammeter who he seemed interested in, whereas some fathers might forbid their sons from making... (full context)
Chapter 10
Morality Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...half anxious that Dunstan will return and reveal his secret and half eager to see Nancy Lammeter and to dance with her. (full context)
Chapter 11
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Miss Nancy Lammeter arrives at the Red House with her father on New Year’s Eve. She sees... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Kimble, the Squire’s sister and the doctor’s wife, greets Nancy. In nearly every bedroom in the house, women are getting dressed and ready for the... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Nancy prepares for the evening. Everything she owns is neat and pure. When she is ready,... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Nancy’s older sister Priscilla arrives and comments on her and Nancy’s matching gowns. Nancy wants her... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Priscilla remarks that she’d rather see the men fawning over Nancy, and Nancy, blushing, says she won’t ever marry. To which Priscilla responds that one old... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Nancy blushes as she takes her seat and Mr. Crackenthorp teases her that he saw the... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
In the middle of the dance, Nancy’s skirt is caught under the Squire’s foot and stitches are torn out at the waist... (full context)
Chapter 12
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
While Godfrey is caught up in spending his precious moment with Nancy, his wife, unknown to him, is making her way through the village to the Red... (full context)
Chapter 13
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 15
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...he has reformed and set his feet on a better course. He rides to visit Nancy nearly every day and feels the imminence of his own happiness with Nancy, and their... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...villagers of Raveloe are leaving their Sunday morning church service. Godfrey Cass and his wife Nancy depart first, as their humbler neighbors watch them pass. The pair turns to wait for... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
At the Red House, Nancy tries to persuade her sister to stay for tea. The Red House has been changed... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...frustrated by men like Godfrey who, she believes, always want what they don’t have, but Nancy defends her husband. It’s natural and understandable that he wishes he had children because he... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Nancy is hurt by the knowledge that their lack of children has been an aspect of... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Nancy had resisted over the years Godfrey’s few attempts to suggest that they adopt a child.... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Nancy, during her Sunday afternoon reflection, reassures herself that she was right to discourage any consideration... (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 spoken of the idea of adoption in... (full context)
Chapter 18
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Godfrey returns, but he is trembling and pale. He tells Nancy to sit down and that he’d had a great shock, but has come back to... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
...reflects aloud that all secrets come to light sooner or later, when God wills it. Nancy’s feeling of dread returns. Godfrey says that when he married her he kept his past... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Godfrey reminds Nancy that if she had known the secret earlier she would never have married him. Nancy... (full context)
Chapter 19
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...loved her first, and she is certain that no one will ever come between them. Nancy reminds Eppie that what she says is a natural way to feel, but that she... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
...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
Nancy and Godfrey walk home in silence and stand together in the parlor. They look at... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Nancy is relieved that Priscilla and her father won’t be troubled with the truth. Godfrey realizes... (full context)
Part 2, Conclusion
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...are married on a beautiful sunny day. Eppie wears a dress of white cotton, which Nancy begged that she be allowed to provide for the young bride. Eppie tells her father... (full context)