Silas Marner


George Eliot

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Themes and Colors
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Silas Marner, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.


Silas Marner describes nearly thirty years of Silas Marner’s life, in which the protagonist loses his faith in God and in human society, and then slowly regains his faith years later when he adopts a loving orphan girl named Eppie. Silas Marner’s early faith is distinctly different from the faith he regains in later years. As a young man, Marner lives in Lantern Yard and his faith depends on the community and worship there…

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In Silas Marner, the author George Eliot presents a universe in which characters’ personalities and actions determine their fates. This authorial morality secures justice for Silas Marner and for Godfrey Cass, as well as for several secondary characters. While Marner is initially wrongly accused of a crime in Lantern Yard, his later generosity toward Eppie determines his ultimate happiness. At the ending of the novel, the neighbors at Eppie and Aaron’s wedding…

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The Individual and Society

Two societies are at the heart of Silas Marner: Lantern Yard and Raveloe. These societies are drastically opposed to each other. By the end of the novel, Lantern Yard is a large town filled with factories, busy men, strangers, and travelers. It has experienced the transformative force of the Industrial Revolution. Raveloe is rural and intimate and changes very little from generation to generation. The inhabitants of Raveloe all know each other and…

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Fear of the Unknown

An irrational fear of the unknown characterizes the attitudes of the people of Raveloe. This fear of the unknown is a key factor in Silas Marner’s initial separation from the society of the village. On the first page of the book, the wary perspective of these people is described. The basis of their xenophobia is their narrow circle of acquaintances and the limited travel that would occur in any individual’s lifetime. The villagers of…

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The Limits of Human Knowledge

While characters in Silas Marner may influence their own future through their choices and actions, certain key events depend upon inexplicable good or bad fortune appearing in characters’ lives. Such events may be attributed to chance or to the will of a divine being. Regardless of chosen explanations, these events are beyond the control and rational understanding of George Eliot’s characters.

While the reader is presented with the full account of Dunstan’s theft and Eppie’s

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