Many are the, times outsiders suffer afflictions following their ‘being new’ in society. It is worthy noting that these are the very people the society later trusts and relies on on its vital development project. George Elliot, in his Silas Marner tale, proves this fact. He uses a major character, Silas, who is currently living in Raveloe village as an outsider.
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His life in this village is not as one can imagine, but as the narrative unfolds, he later becomes the village’s cornerstone. Though Silas becomes an outsider following the false accusations said against him by his church, he is later the most trusted and the beloved insider of the village following his adoption of Eppie, a girl child whose love and trust to Silas, makes her refuse her biological father, Godfrey as explained below.
Silas is a skilled linen weaver living in a lonely place as an outsider from the town of ‘North ard,’ living in the village of Raveloe. In his former town, he stands out as a man, young and zealous of faith and one whose character is worthy imitating. His former place is subjugated by a particular group of religious people who frequently meet in the ‘Lantern-Yard,’ a place destined for worship services. Silas is then a devoted member of this yard.
His misconceived fainting in the church one night marks the beginning of his troubles in this place. His friend William posits that this scenario is more of a devil’s visitation than a favor from God (15). This is no more than the root cause of Silas migration from his ‘North ard’ region to Raveloe as the following scenario expounds.
One night in his work-shift as he is nursing one of sick senior Lantern-Yard deacon, he realizes that it is almost dawn, but little does he know that it is the dawn of his false accusation. As he explains to the church about William, who among other church members falsely accuses him, he says, “there is no God that governs the earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the innocent” (Elliot 20). These words dictate his departure, not only from God but also from his place.
Following the presented evidence of a knife and the empty money bags found in his house, the church declares him a thief, having stolen its church money from the sick deacon. Angered by this and knowing very well it is false, he denounces his God and leaves for Raveloe anyway. He is now an insider of this village as explained below.
Angry of the church conflicts, Silas moves to Raveloe village, as an insider. His life is not significantly different from his previous. Afflictions have become his daily dose. “the Power in which he had vainly trusted among the streets and in the prayer-meetings, was very far away from this land in which he had taken refuge, where men lived in careless abundance, knowing and needing nothing of that trust, which, for him, had been turned to bitterness” (Elliot 23). This shows the kind of life he is living.
He is lonely, his money and gold is stolen, and none seems to mind regardless of his efforts to report the case. He is not the accompanied, zealous, and happy man of yesterday but the lonely and sorrowful of today. Little does he know about his God’s plan for his loneliness state! He recalls his God following the appearance of a strange child, Eppie, whom he believes will accompany him. “…message comes to him from that far-off life”(Elliot 136). But according to Gilbert, this is child joining the miser’s life (141).
This message is no more than the child. He adds, “God gave her to me because you turned your back on her…” (Elliot 203). The way he was devoted in the church is as exactly as the way he devotes his life into taking care of this child. The girl-child grows loving and trusting him though not his biological father, as the conclusion explains.
Eppy marks Silas source of happiness and according to Silas, she is a restoration of what he lost, love, company, gold/money, among others. To show how much she trusts him, Eppie refuses his biological father, Godfrey. In fact, she posits, “we’ve been used to be happy together every day, and I can’t think o’ no happiness without him…” (Elliot 206).Eppie is a child whose real parents did not devote to raising her. It is only during her loitering in the market with her drunkard mother when she chipped into the then lonely Silas’ house.
Though she claims that the two are happy and comfortable, Silas is even more comfortable and happier basing on what he has gone through. Though he began as a lonely suffering outsider; he later stands out as the most trusted and beloved insider through Eppie as expounded above.
Elliot, George. “Silas Marner”.
Gilbert, William. “A Classic Victorian & His Theatre.” Oxford University Press, 1996, P. 141.