Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Silas Marner...

Yes, I finally finished Silas Marner this afternoon. I am aware that Mary Ann Evans who used the pen George Eliot was atheist and a humanist. Eramus of Rotterdam was also a humanist. From what little I read at Wikipedia, a humanist may not believe in God but does believe in doing what is right or good, as far as right is understood. I think 'right' can be interpreted many ways. I'm not sure it would always be right in my mind.

A young man who is wronged by his own community. He is framed by his friend with murder and robbery. And then his girlfriend is stolen by this same so called friend. Right there is reason to give up I suppose. Silas feels rejected of God.(I guess this could be the atheist in the author?) Silas vows to never connect with others again, and losses himself in a new community and with the skill of a weaver he is able to work but is thought to be evil in someway because of his occupation and his remoteness.
I think God does intervene in this story however. Silas after many years is a miser and dreams only of his money. The money is stolen and our character really has no reason to live until God intercedes with the 'golden child' whom Silas first thinks may be his gold. Years later after rising the child 'Eppie' as she is called and raised as his own daughter, both are confronted by the biological father who wants to make good now. Mr Godfry Cass feels he has repented by this confession. I like how the author pens the response of Silas.

"...-then sir, why didn't you say so sixteen year ago, and claim her before I'd come to love her, i'stead o' coming to take her from me now, when you might as well take the heart out o' my body? God gave her to me because you turned your back upon her, and He looks upon her as mine: you've no right to her! When a man turns a blessing from his door, it falls to them as take it in."

Silas took that blessing and raised a lovely daughter who does not want to leave her father for a grander life in the 'red house'.
Why read Silas Marner? I am reminded that we come from different back grounds and histories that do indeed shape our lives. This remembrance can help me to use greater compassion when handling others of the human race. Showing compassion can soften a persons heart to open and share deep feelings of pain. This very act happened as Dolly, the godmother of Eppie learns by listening and giving trust and guidance in her limited way to help Silas as he begins to raise a child. In turn Silas opens himself to explain about his upbringing and the pains that lead to his solitude in Raveloe.
Ultimately righteous living, using worthy morals, following a code of human goodness does pay off. Silas does get his money returned in a surprised twist of fate. I felt pretty sure that the twist in this story would be Dunstan's body found in the stone quarry pit and I was right.

Get excited about the new year and all you can read and learn. We don't know that we don't know until we know differently. Study, read, discuss with others, make a sacrifice to improve and you will be blessed beyond your earthly experience.

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