|I found this picture on Google|
images, but it's identical
to my mother's copy.
In addition to admiring the decrepitude of my copy, I also read Silas Marner. The best word that I can come up with to describe it is quiet. It takes place in a quiet little village tucked away in the quiet little countryside, to quiet little people who may possibly think that there's nothing else out there, that their world consists of no more than what they can se. Sure, stuff happens, some really dramatic stuff in fact, but Eliot doesn't allow this to tear these quiet little characters' worlds apart; in fact, what could be destructive is actually healing: losing his money releases Silas from his miserly ways; an mother addicted to opium dies in the snow, allowing her daughter a better life and releasing her from the shameful existence through which she drags herself.
This isn't the journey to finding a man and also some cash story that typifies much of Victorian literature. Sure, Silas finds his gold at the end of the story and little Eppie marries, but these plot points are not the point of the novel. What is the point of the novel, you ask? Well, as with anything that's well-written it's hard to say, as often there is no one point, but I would say that there is a bit of a message there: happiness and poverty are not mutually exclusive. When Eppie marries Aaron, she confirms that the poor life she grew up in is the life for her. Money, though nice to have, isn't necessary for her happiness. Hard work and love are what matters.
It's a beautiful story with an excellent lesson that peeks out of the page without clobbering you. Short and sweet, it's definitely worth a read and probably, due to its length, an excellent choice if you've never read before read anything by George Eliot.
I completely forgot to mention that Silas Marner counts towards all three of my challenges! Win!