Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review: Silas Marner by George Eliot

5 of 9 for the fall reading challenge
5 of 6 for the classics challenge

genre: fiction
rating: 5/5

In the small country village of Raveloe, we meet Silas Marner, the weaver. Friendless and wrongly accused of a crime, Silas lives out a lonely existence in a small shack, weaving by day and obsessing over his earnings by night. When the outside world stumbles in and wreaks havoc on his monotonous but, in a sense, comforting lifestyle, Silas is thrown for a loop. Forced to begin to interact with his neighbors, he slowly begins to be a part of a community again when another bit of chaos is thrown his way. This time, it's in the form of a two year old girl whose very nature begins to soften the heart of the weaver.

George Elliot is a masterful writer, I feel like I underlined on every page, her language is so powerful and evocative. For example:
If there is an angel who records the sorrows of men as well as their sins, he knows how many and deep are the sorrows that spring from false ideas for which no man is culpable.

We can send black puddings and pettitoes without giving them a flavor of our own egoism; but language is a stream that is almost sure to smack of a mingled soil.
In this short tale, she examines the threads of what makes us human - our loves, our mistakes and their consequences. The villagers and main characters show us their merits and follies through their choices and through dialogue that is expertly written to shed light on what matters most to them. Even the lesser characters and their choices have a great impact on Silas and his plight - this truly is just his story and Elliot has graced us with an interesting and varied cast that adds depth and meaning to the plot. The more secondary "extra" characters are a bit satirized which spiced up the duller sections of male villager gossip and provided a forum for social commentary.

Is is an absolute joy to watch Silas Marner awaken from his life of drudgery and obsession. I love his character and I loved that this book is also about faith, lost and found - and that happiness comes from being a part of something bigger than yourself.


Heather said...

Yeah! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I think it's fascinating the way Eliot explores the question of predestination through her characters--the way their natures determine their choices and weave the plot. I also love witnessing the weaver's awakening. :)

Kya said...

I have not read this book but I read Middlemarch several years back and really enjoyed it. george Eliot is an excellent writer.

Bookish Ruth said...

I loved this book when I read it in high school. It was one of those books that helped give me a lasting love of classic literature. I need to read it again soon.

BTW, you won a copy of Tethered on my blog. Please e-mail me with your address so I can get your book to you. Thanks so much for participating!

Anonymous said...

Awesome book it is - I want to re-read it again :-)

Trish said...

Great review, Corinne! While I didn't love this one as much as you did, I really liked Silas as well. I read about half of Middlemarch and I'll probably make it a challenge book next year so I can finish, but it is so long! I loved that this one was shorter! (read both for college).

Joy said...

Oh! I just bought this at a library sale for 50 cents. I believe the book has two short stories in it as well. I'm happy to see that this was a positive read for you. I hope to read it in 2009 - we'll see. :) Happy Reading, Corinne.

Anonymous said...

Hey im in high school, about to be a sophmore...and i have to read this book over the summer for my Honors English 3-4 class and i cant understand it, nor get into it! usually i can get into any book i read but not his one... I need advice, help something cause i need to read this book for school!

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