English 101

‘The tale of “Silas Marner”,must be read and understood Symbolically and Literally as well.’

In the light of the above statement,discuss the following characters,and what do they symbolize?

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1) Silas Marner

2) Eppie

3) Dunstan

Write minimum of 200 words paragraph on each character, clearly explaining symbolism related to each character.

Total 600 word count.



The Theme of Symbolism

The Tale of Silas Marner

The tale of Silas Marner is symbolic in many ways. The novel presents a symbolic representation of the choice for its characters seen to communicate its major thematic concerns. As such, analyzing the symbolic nature of the adoption of its characters is key in understanding the literal meaning of the novel.

Such characters as Silas Marner, Eppie and Dunstan presents a sense of symbolism throughout the novel. For instance, Silas Marner is a perfect resonation of the renewal of human contact as well as a reunion between an individual and their faith. His human and spiritual reunion is seen as a symbol of his rebirth.  His alienation from the rest of his fellow men is seen as a symbol of his death. The character presents a life seen to be transformed into worshiping other inanimate objects that distances him from the rest of his mates. This character is however portrayed to be later renewed; a sense of his new life contrary to his alienated life. This new life is therefore the symbol of his rebirth.

The manifestation of symbolism in the life of Silas is also manifested through his interaction with the cottage. For instance, this object has been used to represent the love and family bond between Eppie and Silas (Wiesenfarth, 1970). It represents the reunion between these two characters. It is representative of the Eppie’s appearance in Silas Marner’s life. Throughout the novel, Eppie is also symbolizes a perfect substitute of Silas’ treasure. After failing to find trust in other of his associate colleagues, he finds the love of Eppie as one that gives him the sense of trusting people. The literal and spiritual meaning of a treasure is therefore manifested through Eppie. The hearth represents Eppie as a perfect gift to the life of Silas. It represents his found love after being forsaken by the people he was close to. It therefore depicts a place of warmth and homage between these two characters. Silas’ door has also been portrayed to represent his spiritual status. His interaction with the object is seen to influence both evil and good happenings throughout his life. In yet another case, Silas’ association with money is symbolically representative of his demise. He trusts and worships gold and coins and becomes more intimate to these inanimate objects. As a result he loses his trust for people. He believes that money cannot betray him or forsake him like people do. He therefore finds a sense of his identity with the worship of inanimate objects.

Silas’s loom is a symbol of his industrious and solitude nature. It portrays Silas as a spider ‘lunched over his loom’ (Wiesenfarth, 1970). On the other hand, Dunstan has also been portrayed as a character of symbolism throughout the whole text. For instance, he is seen to steal the gold belonging to Silas, an even that that symbolically exposes him to fateful circumstance. For instance, in the process of stealing from Silas, he falls into a pit thereby causing him harm. The pit in this case represents the negative implications associated with any social vice. Dunstan’s fate is therefore a symbol of punishment for having stolen from Silas. The analysis of the characters like Silas, Eppie and Dunstan as adopted by the novel of Silas Marner therefore plays a crucial role in understanding the symbolic nature of these characters as a reflection of the literal meaning of the novel.







Wiesenfarth, J. (1970). Demythologizing Silas Marner. Elh, 37(2), 226-244.



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