Silas Marner: Novel Summary: Chapter 2

Eliot begins chapter two with the same retrospective writing with which she began the first chapter. Again, describing those people alienated from society after a traumatic event, like Silas Marner, she asserts, “the past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories.” Later she addresses the reasons Silas fled to another region of England. She follows, “In the early ages of the world, we know, it was believed that each territory was inhabited and ruled by its own divinities, so that a man could cross the bordering heights and be out of the reach of his native gods, whose presence was confined to the streams and the groves and the hills among which he had lived from his birth. And poor Silas was vaguely conscious of something not unlike the feeling of primitive men, when they fled thus, in dear or in sullenness, from the face of an unpropitious deity.”
The trust which Silas had previously had in his faith and in the church had now been turned to bitterness. No longer was his faith or personal relations important to him since they had betrayed him. Gold now became the object of his work, and nothing else but weaving his loom day and night in order to get more of this gold mattered. Eliot admits, “money had stood to him as the symbol of earthly good, and the immediate object of toil… His life had reduced itself to the mere functions of weaving and hoarding, without any contemplation of an end towards which the functions tended.”