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Silas Marner | Quotes

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1.

There is no just God that governs the earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the innocent.


Silas Marner, Part 1, Chapter 1

Silas Marner's journey from his youth in Lantern Yard to his happy old age in Raveloe begins with an act of betrayal. As he perceives it, this betrayal is perpetrated not only by his best friend, William, but also by the God he had trusted in but who allowed him to be found guilty by his congregation through the drawing of lots. As a result of this betrayal, Silas loses his faith until it is restored after Eppie enters his life 15 years later.

2.

Every man's work ... tends ... to become an end in itself ... to bridge over the loveless chasms of his life.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 2

Having lost his faith and the companionship of his Lantern Yard congregation, Silas moves to Raveloe, where he knows no one and is unable to find acceptance into the local community. Instead, he finds purpose and solace in his weaving.

3.

A dull mind ... is rarely able to retain the impression that the notion from which [an] inference started was purely problematic.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 4

Dunstan Cass is a liar. Often others know when he's lying, but that doesn't bother him. He enjoys lying and trying to get away with his lies. But what he may not realize is that sometimes he is the most gullible of the people he lies to. Often he will begin to speculate on what may be and ends up believing that it is a fact rather than a speculation. This is what happens as he makes his way through the night toward Silas's cottage.

4.

Opening his trouble to his Raveloe neighbours ... had ... its influence on Marner, in spite of his passionate preoccupation with his loss.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 7

Silas comes home and is horrified to find that his hoarded coins have been stolen. Desperate, he runs to the Rainbow and, for the first time in his 15 years in Raveloe, asks for help. In doing so, he opens his heart to the villagers for the first time. This moment is the beginning of his inclusion into the community. He shows himself to be a normal human being and not someone possessed of supernatural powers. Silas doesn't realize this, though, because he is too focused on the pain of having lost his money, which has been his only companion for so long.

5.

His religion will be the worship of blessed Chance ... that religion ... by which the seed brings forth a crop after its kind.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 9

Godfrey is indecisive and leaves things up to chance, hoping that things will work out as he wants. But gambling with his life in this way will not end well for him. When he goes back on his decision to tell the squire about his marriage to Molly, he is already sealing his fate with regard to Eppie. Since he refuses to admit to the marriage, he can hardly claim the child of it. As long as he thinks confession will prevent him from marrying Nancy, he will not confess.

6.

There was ... a dreamy feeling that this child was somehow a message come to him from that far-off life.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 12

When Silas left Lantern Yard, he also left behind his faith in his fellow man and in a benevolent God. When Eppie enters his life, he feels tenderness toward her; this is a sensation he last felt in Lantern Yard. When that old emotion stirs, it opens the door for others to follow and, ultimately for faith to be reborn.

7.

Perhaps it would be just as happy in life without being owned by its father ... the father ... happier without owning the child.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 13

Godfrey looks at Eppie in Silas's arms and pushes down a feeling of longing. At that point, he sees her mostly as an obstacle to happiness with Nancy. He hopes she'll be happy, but is more concerned with his own future happiness. Fortunately for Eppie, his hopes for her are realized: She is very happy with Silas. But his assumption that he will be happier without her is proven very wrong in the long run since, although he and Nancy marry, they end up childless.

8.

In old days ... angels ... took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction ... the hand may be a little child's.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 14

Eppie is likened to an angel leading men away from the city of Sodom. For Silas, of course, the destruction of his soul was not of his own choosing. Sixteen years after she enters his life, Silas sees that Eppie has made him able to leave behind the events that led to his years of misery. They journey to Lantern Yard to find it has been torn down and replaced by a factory. He realizes, though, that he has only one home now—the one in Raveloe with Eppie and his friends.

9.

Everything comes to light ... sooner or later. When God Almighty wills it, our secrets are found out.


Godfrey Cass, Part 2, Chapter 18

The mystery about Dunstan and the theft of Silas's money is finally solved when Godfrey drains his new fields. The quarry is drained along with them, revealing Dunsey's skeleton wedged between two rocks at the bottom. Beside it are the two bags of Silas's money. When the secret of his brother's being a thief comes to light, Godfrey realizes he must also confess to Nancy about his marriage to Molly. This is a relief to him after all this time, and he initially hopes he will now be able to claim Eppie as his own.

10.

When a man turns a blessing from his door, it falls to them as take it in.


Silas Marner, Part 2, Chapter 19

After confessing to Nancy that Eppie is his child, Godfrey takes Nancy with him to go and finally claim the girl as his. Neither of them thinks Eppie will turn down life in a big house with a lot of money or that Silas will be anything but grateful for the financial help they will give him. What they do not expect is the depth of the love between Silas and Eppie. Silas states the main idea of the novel when he tells Godfrey that you must grab the blessing when it is offered you. This is the lesson that Godfrey has had to learn the hard way, but he accepts it as fair and just for both him and Silas.

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