Silas Marner

Silas Marner Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Just as Dunstan is leaving the cottage, Silas Marner is about to return. While he had left his home and his money defenseless, Marner is not uneasy. His feeling of security has become a habit, as he’s never had reason before to suspect a thief might take his gold. Marner is looking forward to a gift of cooked pork for his supper and to pouring over his treasured gold in the evening.
Silas Marner’s false sense of security in leaving his home unlocked is the result of habit. Habits and familiarity may prevent one from seeing a potential problem. This is different than the faith in benevolence that Marner held previously. He does not believe he is protected or looked after.
Themes
Faith Theme Icon
Marner had ventured out earlier because he recalled he needed to purchase a fine twine for the next day’s weaving project and didn’t want to lose time in the morning with a trip into the village. And so he set off through the mist and rain, leaving his door unlocked, the latch tied to help string up his cooking supper. Upon entering his home, Marner’s poor eyesight notices no difference, and he sits down to tend his supper.
Marner’s fixation with accomplishing as much weaving as possible leads to his evening outing. His obsession with the gold allows it to be stolen. Marner’s poor eyesight overlooks the marks of an intruder in his home. His nearsightedness may also represent a metaphorical blindness to everything he is missing in life.
Themes
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Silas Marner has lost all his faith, and his isolation has turned his power of loving onto only his gold. He decides to take out his gold before supper and admire it as he eats. He removes the bricks without noticing any change and sees the empty hole. Shocked and shaking, Marner at first hopes he himself moved the gold and searches every inch of his cottage until he must face the absence of the gold. He cries aloud, a desperate, desolate cry.
Marner’s reaction to losing the gold transitions from disbelief and denial to incredible pain. His emotions resemble those one might experience at the loss of a loved one. He grieves for his gold, which was the object of his love and attention.
Themes
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Marner wonders suddenly if he has been robbed, but it had appeared to him as if the sand and the bricks had been unmoved. Was it some cruel supernatural power, and not a human thief, who had taken his gold? His thoughts fix on Jem Rodney as the probable thief. Jem had once lingered too long on a visit to Marner’s house, which had irritated the weaver. Marner feels he must go and proclaim his loss in the village, not so any thief can be punished, but so that he can reclaim his property.
Marner considers the possibility of a supernatural “thief” rather than a robber who entered his home. Having lost faith in a benevolent power, he is nevertheless quick to think of a divine explanation for his loss, attributing it to some evil force. He also considers Jem who he suspects because of Jem's attempted socializing, which Marner misunderstood and disliked.
Themes
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
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Marner runs to 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 Rainbow is dark that night, as the important townsfolk at all at Mrs. Osgood’s birthday dance. The bar where the lesser townsfolk gather is well occupied and Silas Marner stumbles into that crowded room.
The Rainbow is the social center of Raveloe where conversation occurs and diverse folks gather together. In appealing to his fellow men, Marner is rejoining society and placing some trust in the power of others to help, rather than hurt, him. Need forces Marner to connect with other people.
Themes
The Individual and Society Theme Icon