Silas Marner


George Eliot

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Silas Marner: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Nancy and Godfrey walk home in silence and stand together in the parlor. They look at 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 falls to another. Godfrey decides he won’t make it known that Eppie is his daughter, but that he must still do all he can for her regardless of the life she has chosen.
Godfrey and Nancy’s mutual acceptance of each other’s thoughts and feelings demonstrate that they have not lost everything. They love each other, even though they have no children. It is too late for Godfrey to reclaim the blessing of having a child when he once saw the presence of his child as a burden.
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Nancy is 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 wrong by her mother and herself. But this is part of his punishment, he admits, for his daughter to dislike him. Nancy is silent, for she feels Eppie’s response to be a bit of fair justice for Godfrey’s past choices. Godfrey says that he has been unhappy wanting something else, above and beyond his lovely wife who he got, in spite of his past errors. “It is too late to mend some things,” Godfrey says, but it’s not too late to mend his longing for children and his unhappiness with his lot in life.
Godfrey and Nancy both believe that Eppie’s dislike of Godfrey is more than chance, and is in fact a punishment given by the divine because of his past choices. The novel relies upon the power of fate and divine intervention in the lives of the Raveloe villagers. The characters can control their actions and their attitudes, but certain things occur which are beyond their control. The novel’s plot relies upon these meaningfully connected events.
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