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MonkeyNotes-Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Chapter 6

Summary

The lower classes of Raveloe are gathered at Rainbow for a drink and some gossip. An interesting assortment of characters is displayed. Mr. Snell, the landlord; the tailors and parish clerk, Mr. Macey, the farrier, Mr. Dowlas, the wheelwright, Mr. Winthrop, and many others. Their talk is racy, spirits flow freely, people puff their pipes. Mr. Macey narrates his oft-repeated anecdote. The talk is centered around trivial matters which seem all important in their little world.


Notes

The "rustic chorus" is an important element of this chapter and of the entire novel. The chorus is made up of village folk who give information about characters, society, and plot. Through the famous scene at the "Rainbow Inn," the reader gathers a great deal of information about the Raveloe society. In the little village, the right opinion is the community opinion, and the community speaks in one voice. It appears that Raveloe is a surprisingly homogenous society with no wide range of rank or wealth, and the gentry of Raveloe are scarcely less native than the rustics. Their lives are almost as confined and isolated. The company at Rainbow Inn speaks about the character of Lammeters in relation to the prospective match between Nancy and Godfrey. The rustic chorus also gives information about the religion and customs of Raveloe.

Eliot's rustics have been compared to Hardy's rustics in their eccentricities. Says Leslie Stephen, "The condescending parish clerk and the judicious landlord and the contentious farrier with their attempts at humor and curious mental process, which take the place of reasoning, are delicious and inimitable." The humble attempts of the rustics at intellectual discourse evoke the reader's sympathy for them. The reader also finds humor in their conversation.

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