‘Silas Marner’ – Chapter 9 By Ellie and Chloe
Narrative point of view and style • Omniscient narrative – “Every one breakfasted at a different hour in the Red House, and the Squire was always the latest...” This gives the reader an insight into the family dynamics of the Casses. • Subjective; reveals the author’s point of view: “...Fleet, the deer-hound, had consumed enough bits of beef to make a poor man’s holiday dinner.” This portrays the wasteful aristocratic lifestyle. • Dips down into first person – “Favourable Chance,Ifancy,...” The personal pronoun, “I”, creates an intimacy with the reader, as though the author is disclosing her innermost opinions.
Imagery and symbolism “Godfrey waited...until the ale had been brought and the door closed...” The “closed” door gives a sense that he is being caged in the room with his father. “...[Godfrey] had entangled himself still further in prevarication and deceit.” The verb, “entangled”,brings spider web imagery to mind, interlinking the dual plots of ‘Silas Marner’. Agricultural imagery: the antonymous idea for “Chance” is described as “the orderly sequence by which the seed brings forth a crop after its kind.” This is a metaphor for the usual cycle of hard work followed by success, i.e. Marner’s dogmatic regime.
Language devices • Metaphor: “...the sweet flower of courtesy is not a growth of such homes as the Red House.” The Cass family is indirectly contrasted to the Lammeter family. • Dramatic irony: “You’ve been up to some trick, and you’ve been bribing [Dunsey] not to tell...” This is an alarmingly accurate guess on Squire Cass’ part added tension. • Simile: “...if I hadn’t four good-for-nothing fellows to hang on me like horse-leeches.” Squire Cass selfishly implies that his sons drain him of money. As the head of the family, he is expected to provide for his four sons. • Metaphor: “Let [even a polished man] neglect the responsibilities of his office, and he will inevitably anchor himself on the chance...” Once faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, respectably people even today will take “refuge” in chance or fate.
Thematic concerns Chance Inequality • “...some throw of fortune’s dice...” • “Favourable Chance...is the god of all men who follow their own devices instead of obeying a law they believe in.” • “...dreaming of a possible benefactor, a possible simpleton..., a possible state of mind in some possible person not yet forthcoming.” Repetition of “possible” implies how unreliable “Chance” is as a last resort. • “...cunning complexity called Chance...” Alliteration of the harsh “c” sound has negative implications. • Class inequality: Squire Cass speaks in “a ponderous coughing fashion, which was felt in Raveloe to be a sort of privilege of his rank”. Eliot mocks the false concept of his superiority. • Gender inequality (in marriage): “...a woman has no call for [a will of her own], if she’s got a proper man for her husband.” In Victorian society, men were thought to be physically and intellectually dominant. • Advantageous marriage: “Lammeter isn’t likely to be loth for his daughter to marry into myfamily...” The Cassesare of a higher rank than the Lammeters, so Nancy’s marriage into the Cass family would raise her social standing.
Characterisation • The Squire • “…the knit brow and rather hard glance seemed contradicted by the slack and feeble mouth.” • “…there was something in the presence of the old Squire distinguishable from that of the ordinary farmers…” • “…I shall let you know I’m master; else you may turn out, and find an estate to drop into somewhere else.” • Extremely aware of his societal status and comes across to his son in a very authoritative, self-assured manner. • Eliot includes multiple descriptions of Squire Cass, suggesting that it is his influence that plays upon Godfrey’s conscience. • Godfrey • “…as soon as his father was silent, he began to cut his meat…” • “The truth is, sir—I’m very sorry—I was quite to blame.” • “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.” • Very respectful but also fearing of his father, Godfrey is very apologetic because he knows that it is in his father’s nature to be unforgiving. • The relationship he has with his father is based on fear.
Contextual relations • “Favourable Chance, I fancy, is the god of all men who follow their own devices instead of obeying a law they believe in…” This links to Eliot’s broad outlook on life. She tries to express to the reader her awareness of following oneself instead of the ‘normality’ of the rules and regulations one is taught. • The dipping into the author’s first person voice is a direct personal contextual link as it sums up what she thinks of the chapter herself. • The readers of 1860would have been very familiar with the issues of theft, prejudices, social pressures in society, etc., so Chapter 9 would be easy for them to relate to. Moneywas constantly the main topic of discussion and it ruled the upper class life. • The readers of today can connect with the argument the father and son have and how they are not so like-minded. Also, the fact that Eliot constantly analyses Godfrey’s faith in Chance makes the reader think about what is most important to them.
Setting “wainscoted parlour” “Red House” “…the sweet flower of courtesy is not a growth of such homes as the Red House.” These quotes express a sense of unease and tension. The “Red House” is where the Squire lives, however it could symbolise: Blood/death Regret Love and hate – extreme opposites