• Graham Handley
Part of the Macmillan Master Guides book series


Most novels live through their characters, and Silas Marner is no exception. The central character, an unlikely hero in terms of personality, age and physique, is fully realised and psychologically integrated. He is established in our minds — and our hearts — from the first chapter of the novel. The backward look at Lantern Yard gives him a sympathetic identity and explains his behaviour and reactions in Raveloe; fifteen years after those experiences ‘North’ard’ he is still regarded with suspicion in Raveloe, the bucolic mind investing his cataleptic trances with the possession of supernatural power of injury if you don’t ‘speak him fair’. His ardent, religious nature is replaced by a rejection of God and man, for both have rejected him. William Dane’s friendship and Sarah’s love are replaced by the ‘bright faces’ of the gold coins he earns from his unremitting work at the loom. The trusting, impressionable and vulnerable young weaver of Lantern Yard is replaced by the man withdrawn into a solitary, ‘insect-like’ existence in Raveloe.


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© Graham Handley 1985

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  • Graham Handley

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