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MonkeyNotes-Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Chapter 20

Summary

Godfrey and Nancy give up any hope of having Eppie back and now realize that they can't alter her upbringing. Godfrey is filled with self-incrimination over Eppie and feels that she hates him. He also feels that it is his sin that has brought on this final retribution of her rejection. Nancy and Godfrey mutually decide not to disclose Eppie's parentage to the community, for she worries about the effect the news would have on her family. Godfrey has realized that it is Aaron who Eppie plans to marry, and he decides to help her.


Notes

George Eliot's characters are never static; they gradually evolve and change, for better or worse. Godfrey evolves from a self- indulgent young man, tainted by moral irresolution to a matured man of forty. Finally, in the last pages of the novel, he owns up to his sins and shortcomings. Repentance has brought him to a realization of the nature of human relationships; "There's debts we can't pay like money debts." Godfrey believes that his childlessness is an act of retribution, for he once turned away his child. Now Eppie gently and politely turns him away and he and Nancy are condemned to pass the remainder of his life without children. Godfrey at least is thankful to have Nancy as his wife.Throughout the novel, there has been a subtle comparison and contrast made between Eppie and the gold. Like the gold to Silas, Eppie is a treasure. But Eppie is a blessing to her father, and the gold was a curse. Ironically, since Godfrey cannot enjoy the treasure of Eppie, he wants to give her gold. He states that he plans to help Eppie and Aaron financially (even though he is not in favor of her marrying a working man).

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