Silas Marner

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Raveloe Symbol Icon
The village of Raveloe is strongly contrasted to Lantern Yard both because of its homely appearance and because of the simple lives and perspectives of the people who live there. In Raveloe, practicality takes precedence over faith and church attendance. Community and familiarity are preferred to change and innovation. Raveloe’s community represents Silas Marner’s new faith, which he discovers through Eppie: a faith in humanity and love. Raveloe is a haven for Silas Marner, an unchanging world in which he and Eppie live happily together; a world that has not yet been affected by industrialization.

Raveloe Quotes in Silas Marner

The Silas Marner quotes below all refer to the symbol of Raveloe. 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 1 Quotes

In that far-off time superstition clung easily round every person or thing that was at all unwonted, or even intermittent and occasional merely, like the visits of the peddler or the knife-grinder. No one knew where wandering men had their homes or their origin; and how was a man to be explained unless you at least knew somebody who knew his father and mother?

Related Symbols: Raveloe
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

Silas Marner is primarily set in the rural village of Raveloe in England in the early 1800s. This setting defines the character of the people who inhabit Raveloe—inclined to suspicion of differences, uneasy with change, and entrenched in their regular lives. Because travel is difficult and social circles are small, the unfamiliar is rare, but when it appears—even in the form of a traveling peddler or knife-grinder—it is met with suspicion. This passage captures the mood of the people of Raveloe toward outsiders and explains why Silas Marner, who moves there from Lantern Yard, is a social outcast and an oddity. Silas Marner’s job as a weaver leads to a solitary existence consumed by work, and his limited interactions with the other villagers categorize him as the type of “intermittent” visitor who is regarded with suspicion.

This thinking among the villagers is explained by their sedentary lives over generations. In this small community, every person is accounted for because their home has always been in Raveloe, as was their parents’ before them. A man is “explained” when his parentage is known. This sentiment is partly humorous, as Eliot asks these rhetorical questions ironically, but she also emphasizes that one’s parentage defines one’s situation and identity in a small village like Raveloe. Social classes and occupations are taken for granted and passed on through the generations, leaving little room for individuality or escape.

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Chapter 8 Quotes

Mr. Snell gradually recovered a vivid impression of the effect produced on him by the peddler’s countenance and conversation. He had a “look with his eye” which fell unpleasantly on Mr. Snell's sensitive organism. To be sure, he didn't say anything particular—no, except that about the tinder-box—but it isn't what a man says, it's the way he says it. Moreover, he had a swarthy foreignness of complexion which boded little honesty.

Related Characters: Mr. Snell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Raveloe
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

In a rare appeal to his fellow men, Silas Marner goes to the local pub for help after he is robbed. The villagers of Raveloe offer their advice, which ranges from suggestions of supernatural interference to suspicion of an unknown peddler who traveled through Raveloe. In this passage, Mr. Snell remembers several things about this peddler that make him an object of suspicion in the eyes of the villages. These suspicious traits reveal the xenophobia of the villagers, who are particularly afraid of anyone or anything that is different from themselves. These traits include a suspicious “look with his eye” and a “swarthy foreignness of complexion which boded little honesty.” The suspicion cast on this peddler is very insubstantial. The argument against him is the way he made Mr. Snell feel, and this is quickly attributed to his foreignness and the darkness of his skin. The villagers of Raveloe never feel good about foreignness.

Mr. Snell goes so far as to acknowledge that the peddler didn’t say anything particularly suspicious, so there is no real evidence against him. Furthermore, he must “gradually recover” the impression the man made on him, which shows that he is talking himself into his suspicions the longer he contemplates the peddler's foreignness. The villagers are much happier to suspect a foreigner than one of their own. 

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.

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Raveloe Symbol Timeline in Silas Marner

The timeline below shows where the symbol Raveloe appears in Silas Marner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
One linen weaver, named Silas Marner, resides in a cottage near the village of Raveloe, beside a Stone Pit. Local boys are both fearful of and fascinated by Marner and... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
At the beginning of the story, Silas Marner has lived in Raveloe for fifteen years. His appearance and lifestyle, fifteen years earlier, had discouraged his neighbors from... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Despite the suspicions of his neighbors, Marner’s weaving services continue to be popular in Raveloe, and little changes in public opinion of Marner, or in Marner’s personal habits, over fifteen... (full context)
Chapter 2
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Silas Marner discovers that his new home in Raveloe is vastly different than Lantern Yard. The familiar figures, church, minister, and doctrine of Lantern... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 3
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The most prominent family in Raveloe is that of Squire Cass. Squire Cass is one of several occupants of Raveloe who... (full context)
Chapter 4
Morality Theme Icon
...suggest his earlier idea to Godfrey: taking a loan from Silas Marner. Dunstan walks toward Raveloe through the misty evening, all the while tapping Godfrey’s inscribed gold whip that he carries. (full context)
Chapter 5
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...the Rainbow, which he thinks of as a place where the most prominent people of Raveloe, and those most likely to help him, pass the time. The nice parlor at the... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...Snell appeals to the elderly Mr. Macey who remembers when Mr. Lammeter’s father moved to Raveloe. Mr. Macey, tailor and parish clerk, says he prefers to let the young ones talk,... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...the disagreement among the group, as Mr. Macey bemoans the absence of great musicians in Raveloe, when there used to be some in the village. Mr. Macey speaks warmly of Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...secret wife, in order to dwell on Dunstan’s absence. The next day, the whole of Raveloe is fascinated by the story of Silas Marner’s robbery. A close examination of the area... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...stopped at nearly every house in town, the question is posed to the villagers of Raveloe. Through the power of this suggestive question being passed among the villagers, there are at... (full context)
Chapter 9
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...never having interacted with men of a higher rank, and living among the villagers of Raveloe for his whole life. The Squire leads an idle life, but believes youth is the... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...in question. But as no news arrives over the next few weeks, the villagers of Raveloe slowly lose interest in Silas Marner’s robbery. Dunstan’s disappearance on the same day as the... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...he moans aloud, in pain and loneliness. Yet, his misfortune has changed his reputation in Raveloe and his neighbors become more likely to help him than to avoid him. (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...Marner with the purpose of asking him to come to church. While the villagers of Raveloe are not religious churchgoers, it is still expected that one attend church occasionally. Mrs. Winthrop... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...never too late to turn over a new leaf by coming to church. Her simple Raveloe theology, in which she refers to the divine “They” or “Them,” has little impact on... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
In Raveloe, the bells ring merrily on Christmas and the villagers celebrate. At Squire Cass’s family party,... (full context)
Chapter 11
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...early dances before sitting down to cards, and upholding this proper tradition seems to reinforce Raveloe’s society and quality. Those villagers sitting and watching comment upon the dancers. Mr. Macey and... (full context)
Chapter 14
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...and without any tears, but her death has redirected the lives of several individuals in Raveloe. Silas Marner’s decision to raise the child is met with surprise, and women throughout the... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...years have passed since Silas Marner discovered Eppie asleep on his hearth. The villagers of Raveloe are leaving their Sunday morning church service. Godfrey Cass and his wife Nancy depart first,... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...he has acquired many such habits and beliefs which are held to be good by Raveloe society. By seeking out everything that could help Eppie and add to her happiness, Marner... (full context)
Chapter 21
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Upon their return to Raveloe, Marner reports to Dolly Winthrop that the old Lantern Yard has completely vanished. He realizes... (full context)
Part 2, Conclusion
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The wedding party passes into the humbler part of Raveloe and stops to greet old Mr. Macey, seated outside his door. Mr. Macey says he... (full context)