1. Why do you think the author chose "Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe" as her title? (As opposed, say, to The Fate of Godfrey Cass, Silas and the Gold Coins, etc.) Why do you think Eliot selected a weaver as the protagonist of her tale?
2. What seems the narrator's point in her remarks at the opening of the first chapter on the mindset of early nineteenth-century uneducated people?
3. What happens in this chapter? What do you think are the narrator's views of the religion she describes?
4. Why is Marner drawn to collecting and dispensing herbal remedies? Why does he cease doing so? What does his refusal to sell remedies show about his character?
5. Why does he take to hoarding money? How are his responses to the gold described? Is he a capitalist in modern terms?
6. From their conversation, what do we learn about the character and past of Godfrey and Dunstan? What is their relationship? Are there any symbolic meanings in the choice of names?
7. What details add interest to the narration of the theft of Silas's gold? Does the narrator intend to make any points about how major life changes occur?
8. What do we learn about Silas's neighbors from the conversation at the Inn? Does the narrator seem to enjoy recounting the scene? Why? Would you want to live in c. 1800 Raveloe?
9. Whom does Marner accuse of the theft, and why does he withdraw his accusation? How is the reader expected to respond to this choice? How do Silas's neighbors respond to his tale?
10. Why would the narrator devote a chapter to portraying Godfrey's learning what the reader already knows? What new elements to the analysis are introduced?
11. What reasons prompt Godfrey to consider telling his father about his imprudent marriage, unacknowledged child, and debts? Why does he decide not to do so?
12. Does the narrative of Godfrey's conversation with his father imply any views about how family members should behave to one another? What are some ironic and determining events in the scene? What does the father threaten to do that alarms his son? What does the narrator think Godfrey should have done?
How is Marner's relation to his neighbors changed in the aftermath of the theft? Why? Who is the chief agent of this change?
Overall: What are some features of George Eliot's writing style? What seeem to be recurrent preoccupations of the book?
If you have read to the end, in retrospect what do you believe are the most important elements of the story up to this point?
Why does the author spend half of the plot before introducing Effie?
What are some important secrets still left unrevealed midway in the book?