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Suffering, Love, and Redemption
One of the most prevalent themes in human existence is the terrible toll that suffering can wreak on the manner of one's existence. Indeed, a good, happy, and honest person can quickly, though the course of adverse life events, become a shallow, negative, lurking shell of what he or she once was. Further, although society generally places little weight on the cause of one's "fall" into despair, it is the experience of suffering that divides true evil from a mere "faltering" from the path of right. This reality is exactly what George Elliot evokes in her novel, Silas Marner -- the horrible toll that suffering can exact on the individual and his personality -- as well as the power of the positive experiences of kindness and love to reverse those effects and ultimately lead to redemption.
hen the reader first encounters the character Silas…… [Read More]
Marner on the other hand, reveals that despite his social position, he is in fact a very noble individual; he chose to adopt and raise Eppie and to treat her with both love and care. His actions reveal him to be a moral and upright individual despite his social status.
Elliot goes on to show that social order not only dictates the actions of individuals but it dictates morality and integrity between cross-class interactions. Individuals who of higher social classes feel that they have a right to abuse and treat others of lower social class with disdain. This is the reason that Dunsey was so callous in taking Marner's money, because he felt that Marner was a simple source of easy money without any additional value to society. Similarly, Godfrey and Nancy revealed this dynamic when they thought that as higher-class landowners they had a greater claim on Eppie than…… [Read More]
Juliet knows there is no hope of reasoning with her father. Capulet's treatment of his daughter is symptomatic of his general lack of respect for women -- he tells the nurse to "Utter your gravity o'er a gossip's bowl" and will not listen to his wife when she tells him he is too 'hot' in his reproaches of his daughter (III.5). His attitude is why Juliet lies to him and concocts a plan with Friar Lawrence to pretend to be dead, and be reunited with Romeo. She knows what her father wants to hear: "Henceforward I am ever ruled by you," she says, after she has created the plot involving the magic potion (IV.2). She believes has no choice: he refuses to listen to her when she tries to be honest.
Although Shakespeare wrote his famous romantic play during the 16th century, the types of attitudes he portrays as existing…… [Read More]
One cannot build the right sort of house -- the houses are not really adequate, "Blinds, shutter, curtains, awnings, were all closed and drawn to keep out the star. Grant it but a chink or keyhole, and it shot in like a white-hot arrow." The stare here is the metonymic device -- we assume it is stranger, the outside vs. The inside, but for some reason, it is also the authority involved, and one that is able to ensure adequacy. In a similar vein, the "churches were freest from it," but they offer only an homage' to safety, and use their power to shut people out from the light that "made the eyes ache" and had been inhumanly oppressive. The prison, though, is "so repulsive a place that even the obtrusive star blinked at it and left it to such refuse of reflected light as could find." The stare is…… [Read More]
From these examples there is a varied sense of the realism of Eliot in both her prose and her poems. The realism of Eliot demonstrates a reflection of the era. The naturalist and realism movements were ingrained in the Victorian 19th century and yet the descriptive nature of Eliot's works make them in many ways timeless. The characters are enveloped with the reader into the surroundings of events of human social drama.
Eliot, George. The Best-Known Novels of George Eliot: Adam Bede, the Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola. New York: Modern Library, 1940.
Eliot, George, Brother and Sister
Eliot, George, Two Lovers
Eliot, George in a London Drawingroom
Eliot, George, Mid my Gold-brown Curls
Eliot, George, Two Lovers, in Stevenson, Burton Egbert. The Home Book of Verse. At http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/george_eliot/poems/3456
Pizer, Donald. Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Revised ed. Carbondale, IL:…… [Read More]