“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
Silas Marner is a simple weaver from Lantern Yard, an impoverished area of Northern England. He is the main protagonist who is wrongly accused of being a robber. Silas loses his sweetheart, reputation, and as a result, has to move out of the town. He dedicates the next fifteen years of his life to earning money. Despite developing an unhealthy obsession, he is still the same just and honest person albeit rather stingy by this time as monetary enrichment became the sole purpose of his being. But when injustice strikes again, Silas is about to change his perception of life forever. What he first considers to be the ultimate disaster of his existence, turns into the thing that gives a new meaning to his life. This moral tale will set things in the right place presenting a picture of justice and love that rise above ignorance and greed.
The work is regarded as a pastoral novel and a moral tale with fairytale elements. A notable feature is Eliot's representation of the effects of industrialisation. Indeed, upon Silas's return to his home town in his old age, he can barely recognise the town where new buildings and factories have been erected. The author deploys her signature technique of setting the novel in a more distant past, which gives her the advantage of scope and hindsight. Published a year before Hugo's world-famous Les Misérables, Silas Marner tackles many similar tropes as effectively and authentically but in a more condensed form – in particular, finding the meaning in life when there seems to be nothing left to hold on to.