Literature Study GuidesSilas MarnerPart 2 Chapter 19 Summary

Silas Marner | Study Guide

George Eliot

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Silas Marner Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 16 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Silas-Marner/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2016, November 28). Silas Marner Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Silas-Marner/

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Silas Marner Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed July 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Silas-Marner/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Silas Marner Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed July 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Silas-Marner/.

Silas Marner | Part 2, Chapter 19 | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

That evening Silas Marner and Eppie are finally alone in the cottage. Earlier many people had come to celebrate the return of his stolen money. He has counted it out with Eppie and told "her how he used to count it every night, and how his soul was utterly desolate till she was sent to him." He's grateful that it has been returned now when she can use it. Both are happy.

Godfrey Cass and Nancy arrive. Godfrey says he wants to make up for his brother having stolen the money and is "beholden to" Silas for something else, too. Silas says he already has much to thank Godfrey for and that the robbery isn't Godfrey's fault. Godfrey continues talking about how Silas might need more income, but Silas feels he and Eppie have plenty, with the returned money perhaps even more than they need. He says "it's little we want." But Eppie adds, "Only the garden, father." Nancy tells Eppie she also likes to garden, and Godfrey says, "There's plenty of gardening at the Red House." Eventually, he says what he came to say: "We should like to have Eppie, and treat her in every way as our own child." He says Eppie would visit Silas often and that he and Nancy would make sure Silas was "comfortable." Trembling, Silas says, "Eppie, my child, speak. I won't stand in your way. Thank Mr. and Mrs. Cass." But Eppie refuses the offer, saying she "can't leave [her] father" and doesn't "want to be a lady."

Godfrey had not expected this and feels angry over being thwarted in his desire to finally step up to his responsibility. He says he has "the strongest of all claims" on Eppie, "a natural claim ... that must stand before every other." Now that Eppie has said she doesn't want to go live with the Casses, Silas feels he can speak from the heart. He demands to know why Godfrey didn't say this 16 years ago, why he waited instead till Silas had "come to love her." He says exactly what Nancy had said about such an adoption: God "looks upon her as mine: you've no right to her! When a man turns a blessing from his door, it falls to them as take it in." Godfrey agrees and says he repents. But he says that, if Eppie comes to live with him, things would be just the same for Silas and her, that she wouldn't be far away and would see Silas often. Silas disagrees: "How'll she feel just the same for me as she does now, when we eat o' the same bit, and drink o' the same cup, and think o' the same things from one day's end to another? ... that's idle talk. You'd cut us i' two." Seeing only what his money can do for Eppie, Godfrey accuses Silas of "putting [him]self in the way of her welfare." He "feel[s] now it's [his] duty to insist on taking care of [his] own daughter." Eppie feels a "repulsion towards the offered lot and the newly-revealed father." Silas, though stops arguing and says it's up to Eppie. Nancy feels that the "father by blood" has the stronger claim on Eppie and is relieved that Silas will not fight them. Eppie, however, refuses to leave the father and the friends she loves. Nancy says Eppie owes "a duty" to her "lawful father." Eppie insists, though, that she has only one father. She "wasn't brought up to be a lady;" she likes "working-folks" and is engaged to "a working-man, as'll live with father, and help me to take care of him." Godfrey says quietly that they should leave, and they do.

Analysis

Chapter 19 begins with a picture of complete trust and openness as Silas tells Eppie what sort of relationship he had with his coins before they were stolen. He confesses that, even after she came to him, he missed the money for a while, saying he'd have been "glad [to] feel it, and find it was come back." But readers will remember how he clung to her on the day she arrived and how sincerely he dedicated himself to her welfare from that moment on. They know that his desire to touch the coins again after she entered his life can only have been the call of habit, not love. Silas thinks, though, that if he lost Eppie, even now he might feel "forsaken again" and get caught up in the money once more. Before Eppie can deny that he would ever lose her, Godfrey and Nancy arrive—as if on cue—to try to take her away.

In addition to the relationship between Silas and Eppie, this chapter further shows the closeness between Godfrey and Nancy. Godfrey and Nancy have discussed how best to approach Eppie, and Godfrey tries to take Nancy's advice not to tell her immediately that he is her father. Nancy, although touched by Eppie's desire to be with Silas, feels "distress on her husband's account." Both Nancy and Godfrey share the belief that it is not only right that Eppie come to live with her "natural father" but also that a restoration of her social and financial "birthright" is best for her. In fact, even after Godfrey has realized he has delayed too long to make good his claim—as is seen in his reflectively fixing his eyes on the floor—Nancy fights for what she knows Godfrey most desires. But when Godfrey quietly suggests they leave, Nancy goes with him immediately, making appropriate remarks for both of them to smooth over "her husband's abrupt departure." The love and concern between them is clear in this scene and will be further explored in the next chapter.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Silas Marner? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!