The Weaver and the Waif (Classics Week)
Silas Marner by George Eliot is a classic novel that was first published in 1861. There are a couple of things right off the bat that may be misleading. First off, author George Eliot is not a man. Eliot is the pen name of Mary Ann Evans. Mary Ann Evans is an English novelist, who besides Silas Marner, wrote several classics including Adam Bede, Middlemarch, and Mill on the Floss, among others. Secondly, Silas is not a big albino who likes to beat himself. Wrong book. That’s in the Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. This Silas is a weaver who was wrongly accused of theft. Disgraced and dumped by his fiancée he leaves town to make a small life for himself in the countryside. Being the early nineteenth century he has nothing to get his mind off his problems—no Pinterest, no Dancing with the Stars. So, he sets about weaving and weaving and weaving and hauling in loads of gold for his work. Then one day someone steals all his gold. Everything he’s worked for is gone in sixty seconds. He’s devastated. He has nothing—until one winter night a two-year old girl toddles into his life—literally. Her mother, an opium addict, died in the snow and the little girl roams right into Silas’s home (and heart). He finds the dead mother and takes the little girl in and raises her as his own. Having little Eppie in his life is worth all the gold in the world. She’s his salvation and makes his life worth living again. She completes him. She’s the yin to his yang. Years later some interesting developments come to light, and we get some answers to questions like “What happened to Eppie’s father?” and “Who stole Silas’s gold?”
Like Ethan Frome and other classics, you can find free versions of Silas Marner on the Internet or book reader downloads. Visit http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/geliot/silasmarner6x9.pdf to view the complete online version provided by Penn State University. It doesn’t matter what medium you choose to read it on, Silas Marner is a good book.
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