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MonkeyNotes-Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Chapter 19

Summary

The little village of Raveloe is abuzz with the news that Silas' gold has been discovered; but Silas feels tired after all the excitement and wants to be left alone. That evening he tells Eppie how he used to treasure his money. As he reflects on the past, Silas is thankful that the money was taken away, because its removal was replaced by Eppie. He knows that her presence and love have given meaning to his life; she has redeemed him. The father-daughter conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Nancy and Godfrey Cass. Godfrey begins by saying that he feels duty bound to make up for Silas' loss of money. Silas says that he is no longer upset about the incident, and in any case he (Godfrey) is not responsible for the theft. Godfrey discreetly broaches the subject of adopting Eppie. Silas replies that he will not be a hurdle in her way. Eppie, however, refuses politely, and firmly asserts her allegiance to Silas. He is the only parent she has ever known. Godfrey, having never suspected that he would be refused, feels irritation and anger at Eppie's rejection.

Godfrey finally comes out with the whole truth. Silas angrily reproaches Godfrey and asks him why he didn't accept his daughter sixteen years ago. He boldly tells him that repentance doesn't alter "what has been going on for sixteen years." Godfrey fails to understand Silas' deep love for his daughter and unjustly accuses him of being selfish and of ruining a bright future for Eppie. Silas, who is grief-stricken over the thought of losing Eppie, leaves it for her to decide. Eppie, with tenderness, places her reassuring hand on Silas' trembling palm and declares that her happiness lies with the man who has loved her for all these years. Silas urges her to rethink her decision because with the Cass family she would be able to get the best things in life. Eppie says that she doesn't care about being a lady. Nancy reminds Eppie that she has a duty towards her real father, but Eppie feels that she is not bound to any father but one. Besides she has promised to marry a working man. Defeated, Godfrey leaves and is followed by Nancy.


Notes

In this chapter, the discovery of Dunstan's body and Silas' gold brings the novel towards a final climax. Silas and Eppie have been talking about the days' incident. Silas doesn't regret the theft anymore, for the money has been replaced by something more precious than gold, his daughter. While this conversation takes place, Godfrey and Nancy enter to claim Eppie, Godfrey's daughter.

Although sixteen years have passed, Godfrey's vision still seems restricted. The thought never crosses his mind that Eppie might refuse to come and live with Nancy and him. He also fails to comprehend the depth of love between Silas and Eppie. He further blames Silas' resistance to the adoption on its being a selfish act. He is puzzled by Eppie's rejection of his offer and is irritated because it doesn't give him the chance to "retrieve his error" and soothe his conscience, which is now what he wants to do. Nancy feels torn between Godfrey and Eppie's arguments. She is very moved by the tender love that she sees displayed between Silas and Eppie. But she is also a stern believer in well-defined principles; for her "Eppie owes a duty to her father", whom Nancy considers to be Godfrey.

Eppie's deep love for her father is once again sensitively developed in this chapter. Previously Eppie has said that she will marry Aaron only if agrees that Silas can stay with them. This same sense of love and devotion is clearly depicted when Eppie tells Godfrey, "I can't feel as I have got any father but one." She absolutely refuses to leave Silas, even when she is tempted with fine things in life and becoming a lady. She knows she will be much happier with Aaron, a common working man, and Silas by her side.

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