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MonkeyNotes-Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Chapter 7

Summary

The pale figure of Silas Marner stands at the doorstep of the Rainbow Inn, half-scaring the villagers who have been talking about ghosts. Silas' lean figure seems to be no more than an apparition. He is beside himself at the loss of his gold, and somehow manages to blurt out the story of the theft. At the end, Silas Marner accuses Jem Rodney. He requests him to hand over the money and promises that he will take no legal action against him. The landlord vindicates Jem Rodney from the allegation, assuring Silas that Jem has been sitting in the inn for a very long time. Those present decide that legal help should be sought, and after much haggling over who would assist Silas, the landlord and the farrier set off to meet Mr. Kench, the constable.


Notes

Silas appears like an apparition before the people who have been talking about ghosts. Earlier in the novel, Silas has been referred as "a dead man come to life again;" he now looks as if "his soul went loose from his body." This figuratively seems true because his life has been woven around his gold for some time now, and the loss of it has given him a frightful, cadaverous look.

In spite of his strange ways, the community is willing to help Silas. In all of Eliot's novels, there is an "interpenetration between the life of a community and the individual lives that compose it." The tragedy of Silas, thus, becomes the tragedy of the community and serves to bring the protagonist closer to the community in a common bond.

There are five instances of humor and irony in the debate over choosing the constable. There is an ironic statement in which there is a discrepancy between the apparent and the intended meaning. The author's reference to Mr. Dowlas' "pregnant speech" implies that it is insignificant rather than eloquent. There is also irony of action in the Farrier's confident volunteering as a deputy, but backing out later because Mr. Macey has hurt his professional pride. Irony arising from misinterpretation of situation occurs when Mr. Macey argues with the farrier that doctors are not qualified to be constables, but the reasons he gives for his statement are based on twisted logic. The farrier is ultimately persuaded to be a constable although the farrier wished to go in his professional capacity.

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