Chapter 11 How do the remarks on language on page 93 reflect the nature of George Eliot's intended audience? (dialect and colloquialisms)
What do the descriptions of the party at the Squire's reveal about Nancy's character and the nature of Raveloe society? (great concern with costume, dress, and female appearance; Nancy's character described in favorable terms, since she is a model of probity and goodwill, if somewhat narrow in her judgments)
What is unusual about the character of Priscilla? (a contrast to Nancy; considers herself ugly and is quite content with this)
What are features of a traditional Christmas party in Raveloe? How would you describe the conversation?
Chapter 12 What causes Molly's death? (opium) Is her husband's neglect responsible? (narrator tells us not) What are some symbolic events that surround her daughter's entrance into Silas's home? (she moves toward light; door is temporarily open as he experiences a fit) How does he respond? (sees her as the replacement for his stolen gold)
Chapter 13 In what dramatic way is the existence of Eppie revealed? (Silas finds her and carries her into festivities) What is Godfrey's reaction to the news that his child has been left an orphan? (he is relieved that Molly has died; refuses responsibility)
How can you tell whether the narrator approves? (ironically notes his capacity for deceit and self-forgiveness, 119, anticipates later telling, 117) How is Godfrey's response contrasted with that of Silas?
Can you think of other Victorian novels in which a character is raised by a guardian rather than a biological parent?
Chapter 14 How does Silas raise Eppie? Are any aspects of his methods of parenting unconventional? (doesn't punish her) What role does Dolly Winthrop play in the adoption's successful outcome? (offers advice, demands that he attend church with Eppie)
Why do you think Dolly is brought into the plot? (softens unusual circumstance of a man raising a young girl--renders respectable the situation and provides a motherly figure for Eppie) What form of morality does she represent? (untutored, unintellectual goodness)
What changes occur in Silas relative to his past? (remembers past, including his mother and sister, also becomes interested in medicinal herbs)
Chapters 15 How does Godfrey respond to the fact that his child is reared by another? (feels little guilt, hopeful about future)
Chapter 16 How have things altered in the 16 years between sections? What events have changed Eppie and Silas? (Eppie now sixteen and Silas about 55, described as bent and frail from age; Casses have no children; Silas feels an increased unity between past and present, 143)
What do we learn of the character of Aaron? Will he be a good mate for Eppie?
What metaphysical advice does Dolly Winthrop offer when confronted with the mysteries and sorrows of Silas' past? (trust God even though we can't understand evil of the world)
Chapter 17 What do we learn about the Casses' domestic life? Why has Nancy resisted the idea of adoption? (feels it wrong to go against Providence) What aspect of her past troubles her? (feels she has failed Godfrey since her decision has made him restless)
Chapter 18 What results flow from the drainage of the pond? (body of Dunstan and bag of gold discovered) How does Nancy react on learning Godfrey's secret? (feels sense of shame that her husband's family contained a thief)
What points does the narrator wish to make in this scene? (he should have told her)
Chapter 19 On what grounds does Eppie reject the Casses' offer of adoption? Could there have been a middle solution for the Casses, Eppie and Silas? How may social stratification have predetermined their responses?
What may be Eliot's views about sudden changes in social station or inheritance? Would Gaskell have agreed?
Chapter 20 Are there ways in which this incident may have affected the Casses' marriage? (he resolves to be less discontent; admits his faults)
Chapter 21 What does Silas learn on his attempt to visit Lantern Yard? (it has disappeared as the city has been rebuilt) How is this of symbolic importance to the novel? (can never return to the past, but also can't know whether his former companion's crime has been discovered and he has been exonerated)
Chapter 22 What are some socially important features of the wedding celebration? (Silas and Eppie have been fully integrated into the community; all feel goodwill toward them) What has been the significance of the Dolly Winthrop-Silas Marner subplot?
1. What are some ways Silas's catalepsy is used thematically in the book? How does it determine the plot? Does he continue to experience these episodes after the appearance of Eppie?
2. What are some features of the novel's closure? Do you feel it is a satisfactory resolution to the circumstances and problems raised by the novel? Does everyone receive his/her just deserts?
3. Are there any aspects of the plot or story that you feel may not have been fully treated? If so, why may this have been the case?
4. Do you believe the ending is "realistic"? If not, is this a flaw?
5. In what ways is this a specifically Victorian ending? What deeper points does the narrator wish to make?
6. Can you think of other Victorian novels in which the father/guardian-daughter relationship is central? (Mary Barton reluctant to save her innocent lover at the expense of her guilty father; Esther won't marry Woodcourt unless Mr. Jarndyce is satisfied; Mr. Home won't let Polly attend school because he can't be separated from her)
7. Would such a plot be popular today, say, for a television drama? Why or why not?
8. Just a thought--why do you think the narrator and townspeople emphasize the advanced age and frailty of a 55-year old man?
9. What are some features of the book's design and structure? How would you describe the author's writing style?
10. After finishing Silas Marner, what important scenes of the book stand out most clearly in your memory?