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He has just come in after "gaz[ing around] for a long while He stands "with wide but sightless eyes, holding open his door, powerless to resist either the good or the evil that might enter there. He sits in his chair by the hearth and is bending to tend the fire when he sees a blurry heap of gold on the floor in front of it.

Silas Marner (Unabridged Content) (Famous Classic Author's Work) by George Eliot

But when he touches it, "his fingers encounter Feelings of tenderness and "of awe at the presentiment of some Power presiding over his life" stir in him for the first time since coming to Raveloe. The child wakes up, crying "mammy," and Silas picks her up and murmurs to her as he holds her. Then he warms up a bit of porridge and feeds her.


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He watches her toddle about for a while, then helps her get her wet boots off. In doing so, he realizes she must have walked to his cottage.

Silas Marner: GCSE English Illustrated Student Edition with wide annotation friendly margins

He picks her up, opens the door, and sees her footprints in the snow. Following them, he reaches some bushes. The child leans towards them, crying, "mammy"; that's when he realizes there's a human body laying among the bushes, half covered with snow. The three paragraphs in Chapter 12 that explore Molly's feelings and intentions are the only ones in which she appears in Silas Marner.

Nevertheless, Molly is a significant presence throughout the book—before her death because her marriage to Godfrey prevents him from standing up to Dunstan or proposing to Nancy and after it because her daughter transforms Silas and his relationship with the Raveloe community. In these three paragraphs, Eliot manages to give a strong portrait of Godfrey's unwanted wife.

She was a barmaid and "as handsome as the best. He has never lived with her but has paid her money as regularly as possible to help support her and their child. She knows he has supported her and that her addiction is to blame for "her dingy rags" but still feels resentful. After all, he married and then rejected her. Her bitterness and desire for vengeance is easy to understand. The only bright spot in her life is her child. The narrator says Molly "refused to give [Godfrey] her hungry child," which indicates he offered to recognize the child as his own and raise her.

Resist the Urge to Explain -- Lessons From Silas Marner by George

From what is known of Godfrey, it is likely he made this offer out of a sense of duty rather than affection for the child and was glad when Molly did not agree. Readers should not think of Molly's drug addiction as a criminal act. Although today the use of opiates is illegal without a prescription, this was not the case in 19th century England.

Silas Marner Quotes

In fact, laudanum—a mixture of opium, spices for flavoring, and either wine or water—was as common then as aspirin is today and like aspirin could be bought at the drug store without a prescription. It was used as a painkiller and a sleep aid and prescribed for a wide range of illnesses.

George Eliot herself used laudanum. People were aware of the opiate's addictive qualities, and doctors urged their patients to stick to the prescribed doses. Nevertheless, many people in all classes and occupations became addicted. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life.

His fate, and that of Eppie, the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. This text uses the Cabinet edition, revised by George Eliot in David Carroll's introduction is complemented by the original Penguin Classics edition introduction by Q. Mary Ann Evans began her literary career as a translator, and later editor, of the Westminster Review. It is more nearly a masterpiece; it has more of that simple, rounded, consummate aspect Get A Copy.

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Silas Marner | Study Guide

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Silas Marner

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