Essay on The Triangular Silas Marner

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The Triangular Silas Marner

As a result of betrayal, Silas Marner of George Eliot's so titled novel becomes a man in body without incurring any of the duties normally associated with nineteenth century working class adults. Eliot creates these unusual circumstances by framing our title-hero so it appears to his comrades that he has stolen money. Thereby, she effectively rejects innocent Marner from his community and causes him to lose his fiancé. At this pivotal moment in Marner's life, just as he is about to assume fully the role of a man, depended upon as such by his neighbors, future wife and probable children, he is excised and does not successfully complete the transformation. Accordingly, he moves on to a new
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However, I do not think that Silas Marner's endorsement of family values is nearly as straightforward as Nunokawa makes it out to be. In fact, Eliot's stance on the family unit is three-pronged. Nunokawa's reduction of Silas Marner to a "dichotomy" ignores the middle ground that Eliot ultimately recommends as the key to a life with a happy ending.

In order to demonstrate this, I must first show that none of the families in Silas Marner (with the exception of Silas' own) are totally happy. In accord with Nunokawa, I will start with the uncomplicated melancholy of Squire Cass' male-only family. Eliot candidly tells her reader that "Red House [the Squire's residence] was without the presence of the wife and mother which is the fountain of wholesome love and fear in parlour and kitchen" (Eliot 22). Immediately, Eliot prepares her reader for an unhappy, incomplete group of inhabitants. The only scene between father and eldest son is both awkward and unkind, showing the attitude of life within the motherless house. The one scene in the novel between two brothers, Godfrey, the eldest, and his next younger brother, Dunsey, mocks the notion of "brotherly love," depicting it as actually blackmail via brotherly knowledge (Eliot 24).

The brother-scene calls to mind the next well-respected family in Raveloe, the Lammeters.

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