A amount of dust piles up on the books of Eliot, said David Cecil, but she had been nurtured intelligently in the philosophical circle at that time, which enables her to weave complicated matters into a novel. That is prominent feature of George Eliot, who must have been incomparably better informed than any other women writers in the Victorian period. As for her masterpiece Middlemarch, written on the basis of a sort of strategic structure, it is understandable that today’s readers are to feel throwing it away in the middle. It is a Victorian novel being too long, strict and old-fashioned, in addition, also includes philosophical issues that they must lose their interests eventually.
However, Silas Marner is not the case of it. It is so sorry that it has been buried with other works. In fact, when you go to a used book shop, a translation of the novel is definitely found on the shelf. Such book is rare. To such a degree, in the past, it is true that it was read by lots of people. The novel is, what is called, a ‘fable’, containing a lesson, which is so much clear to understand and heartwarming.
“It seemed as if there were gold on the floor in from of the hearth. Gold! — his own gold — brought back to him as mysteriously as it had been taken away! …for a few moments he was unable to stretch out his hand and grasp the restored treasure. The heap of gold seemed to glow and get larger beneath his agitated gaze.”
Marner’s experience in the pastime that his friend betrayed him, forces him to live in the pessimistic and isolated way for his only purpose of earning money (quite comparable to Christmas Carol by Dickens). One day, when he is in so much despair since he found his money taken away, a baby Eppie, whom he misunderstands as his gold, comes to him. She is identified with money in terms of its significance, but this relation is gradually changing.
Marner recovers warmth with Eppie whose consideration cures him in spite of his distrust of others. It reveals slowly that what he regains, instead of his lost money, is not Eppie, but the heart to believe others.
What is quite exquisite technique of Eliot is to construct an episode from loss to recover with several episodes: the episode of Godfrey who experiences his loss and recover in the same way, the background of industrial changing from rural to urban in the Victorian period, and the experience of Eppie herself who loses her mother and encounters Marner. It is Eliot’s immeasurable talent to structure in balance as a story.