Isolation and Community in George Eliot’s Silas Marner Essay example

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John Donne explains isolation best by saying, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main” (455).1 Many individuals live daily in isolation, but in some way or another everything everyone does creates a significant impact that will play a role in someone else’s life. The aspect of community is unavoidable; community is the basis of life. Characters in every novel ever written are interwoven unbeknownst to each other. Although some believe they are in true isolation, all the character’s actions impact one another, creating a community. Silas Marner’s life of going back and forth from isolation to community expresses the importance of this theme to the novel. On the other hand Godfrey …show more content…
The community of Lantern Yard even thought so highly of him that they perceived him to have “… some special spiritual gift” (Milne and Sisler).4 However, he is not able to recover from the betrayal done by his best friend, William Dane, for fifteen years. This betrayal banishes Silas to the unwelcoming small village of Raveloe where he becomes the town recluse. Previous to Silas’ life of isolation, he suffers a betrayal, “‘I remember now- the knife wasn’t in my pocket,’” (Eliot 10)5 this quote encompasses the crushing moment when Silas realizes the perfidy of William Dane. This effects Silas’ life in many aspects. Because of William’s actions, Silas is “Disillusioned by this betrayal, Silas withdraws from Lantern yard and from society almost altogether, moving to Raveloe, where he knows no one and where he can weave at his loom, hoard his earnings, and forget his past” (Ermarth).6 This begins Silas’ life as a hermit, and it creates the theme of isolation and community. Silas only communicates with his customers. He is content with seclusion from society because he resents his past; “He hated the thought of the past; there was nothing that called out his love and fellowship toward the strangers he had come amongst; and the future was all dark, for there was no Unseen Love that cared for him” (Eliot).7 William’s betrayal is the catalyst which starts Silas’ adventure into Raveloe. Similar to any community, the village of

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