Silas Marner

Silas Marner Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 House. Molly, his wife, has decided to appear at the Squire’s party with her child in her arms and reveal, once and for all, the secret connection between herself and Godfrey. Molly knows that the real cause of her poverty is not Godfrey’s treatment of her but her opium addiction. However, she wants to punish her husband who is well off.
Molly’s attempt to reveal her connection with Godfrey is the result of bitterness. She hopes to bring her unhappiness upon him too and knows that the best way to do this is to shame him in public. The power of public opinion is evident in Molly’s knowledge that she could punish her husband by revealing their connection to Raveloe society.
Themes
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
As she walks through the snow, she takes a dose of opium, seeking comfort. Due to the cold, her weariness, and the drug, she is overcome by a longing to sleep. She collapses in some bushes, and relaxes her hold on her daughter. A light on the snow catches the child’s eye and she follows it to the open door of Silas Marner’s cottage. She wanders inside and falls asleep on an old sack near the warm hearth.
Molly’s downfall is her addiction to opium. Because she is so dependent on the drug she cannot resist taking it and losing both her life and her vengeance on Godfrey. Molly’s death, which occurs as she is on her way to hurt Godfrey, is her moral punishment.
Themes
Morality Theme Icon
In the weeks since the loss of his money, Silas Marner has formed the habit of opening his door from time to time and looking out as if he thought his money might be coming back to him. On New Year’s Eve, as he peered out his door, he was frozen in one of his trances, his eyes fixed and unseeing. Upon recovering from his trance, Marner felt that no time had passed and, turning to his hearth, he saw, with his poor vision, his gold on the hearth.
Marner’s sense that his gold could come back to him prepares both the character and the reader for the link between the golden haired child and the lost gold. Marner even mistakes her for his gold at first, indicating to the reader that one thing is intended to replace the other in Marner’s life.
Themes
Morality Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Stretching his hand out to his returned gold, Silas Marner touches curly hair. Marner examines the sleeping child. Is this a dream? He wonders. He cannot understand how this child could have entered his house without his knowledge and he feels as if it must have appeared by some supernatural method because his imagination cannot supply a rational explanation.
Marner’s inclination to believe the child has appeared by supernatural means, just as he thought his gold might have disappeared through non-human intervention, demonstrates how willing he is to turn to the unexplainable to account for an event in his life.
Themes
Faith Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
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The child awakens, crying, and Silas Marner is kept busy feeding her porridge and following her tottering steps about his house. He removes her wet boots and realizes, finally, that she must have been walking in the snow and entered his house on foot. As he opens the door, the child cries, “Mammy!” He notices footprints in the snow and follows them to discover the human body collapsed in the bush and half-covered with snow.
The child’s wet boots are a concrete piece of evidence pointing out her arrival by realistic means. The child’s limited speech can identify the dead woman as her mother, but she is young enough to not understand what is happening. She is innocently trusting of the weaver.
Themes
Morality Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon