How is the reading going? I’m behind on my chapter discussions! To start out, check out this neat infographic on Silas Marner. I feel like I need all the help I can get with this book.
I keep wondering when the kid shows up. I’m pretty sure there is a kid in this book. At some point. A significant kid. BUT WHAT DO I KNOW?
Chapter 6 was so confusing for me, but when I re-read it for this post I enjoyed it more. It’s all the local yokels I guess, hanging out at their favorite bar, The Rainbow, and trading stories. Apparently they never get any new stories ever because they just retell all the same ones they already know, like about Nancy Lammeter’s grandfather and how he came to Raveloe and bought The Warrens and died and now haunts the stables. I really love “The Warrens” as a house name. I’d like to live in The Warrens, please. I’d also really like to meet Nancy Lammeter in this book at some point.
As the barflies are telling their old, worn-out stories, they finish up with the ghost story about Mr. Lammeter, and just then Silas appears at the door like a ghost. I like how Silas appears both as a ghost and as a person bearing a new story – or an old story that the Raveloe inhabitants (Raveloans?) have never paid attention to or heard before. I mean, Silas has been living there a while and they’ve never heard about where he comes from or what has happened to him. Now that Silas is the victim of a mysterious robbery, he is VERY interesting and worthy of keeping around, for his story value.
Maybe that’s a little unfair – the Raveloeans seem to feel sincerely bad for him, but they’re all fascinated by and invested in his misfortune, too.
I love the moment at the beginning of chapter 7 when the guys in The Rainbow notice Silas: “The long pipes gave a simultaneous movement, like the antennae of startled insects”. It’s a perfect visual image of surprise as the room reacts to Silas’ presence.
I was feeling pretty ambivalent toward poor Silas at this point in the book, but the part where he realizes that he is very wrong to accuse Jem with no evidence went a long way toward making me like him. I like a guy that can immediately and humbly admit he was wrong. And he’s so upset and distressed! He needs a beer and a hug.
The Raveloans immediately set to work figuring out who stole Silas’ gold, and how. Of course, the easiest way to do this is to discuss it and talk it to shreds, and the best place for doing that is at the Rainbow:
“In fact, there was a general feeling in the village, that for the clearing up of this robbery there must be a great deal done at the Rainbow, and that no man need offer his wife an excuse for going there while it was the scene of severe public duties.”
Chapter 8 is full of the incredible ways that gossip and speculation work and grow and mutate into the publicly-accepted truth of What Must Have Happened. Part of me keeps laughing at these excellent and foolish townspeople and part of me is feeling reeeeeeal bad for Silas.
Meanwhile, Godfrey is still a mess. This guy really needs to work on his spine. He has plenty to criticize about Dunstan to others:
“He couldn’t have been hurt, for he must have walked off.”
“Hurt?” said Godfrey, bitterly. “He’ll never be hurt- he’s made for hurting other people.”
But Godfrey isn’t very interested in criticizing himself. I do relate to Godfrey’s struggle to come clean to his father, though. I like the implicit parallel between Godfrey, who keeps tying himself up in knots of deceitfulness in order to make himself appear in the best light to people like Nancy and his dad; and Silas, who is intrinsically honest, if a little pathetic. Godfrey is constantly cycling through fear, guilt, anxiety, and relief, especially when he has a talk with his dad in chapter 9 and almost, but doesn’t quite, confess.
“Godfrey left the room, hardly knowing whether he were more relieved by the sense that the interview was ended without having made any change in his position, or more uneasy that he had entangled himself still further in prevarication and deceit.”
YOU ARE A MESS, GODFREY CASS.
I have very little hope for Godfrey, but Silas is doing okay in spite of being robbed of his entire hard-earned fortune. The community thinks much better of him now that he is shown to be a normal human who can suffer loss:
“Instead of of a man who had more cunning than honest folks could come by, and, what was worse, had not the inclination to use that cunning in a neighborly way, it was now apparent that Silas had not cunning enough to keep his own.”
The Raveloans, instead of letting Silas retreat to his solitude like before, force themselves on his company, to his consternation. Their motives are partly self-righteous, partly curious, and partly kind. Mr. Macey and Mrs. Winthrop are the main do-gooders in chapter 10, and seem to enjoy lecturing Silas. But despite all of this terrifying extrovert activity directed at introvert Silas, it is probably good for him and he already seems to be opening up – he offers cake to Mrs. Winthrop kid Aaron, for example. A kid! A kid in chapter 10! I don’t think he is the significant kid, though.
Anyway, as devastated as Silas is, it sseems to be a blessing in disguise that his gold was stolen – it opens up the community to him, and shows there may be hope for him yet, now that he isn’t so focused on his gold and his work. He HAS to focus on things and people outside of himself now, right?
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