In part two of Silas Marner, Eppie has the opportunity to be adopted by Godfrey Cass. She declines his offer. Discuss why she responds this way, with reference to both Silas Marner and Godfrey. In my essay, with reference to Godfrey and Silas, I will discuss why Eppie declines Godfrey’s offer to become adopted by him. George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans on November 22, 1819, in Warwickshire near Nuneaton. She was the daughter of Robert Evans and Christina Pearson, and was the youngest of their five children. Her father was a manager of an estate while her mother died when she was just sixteen.
Mary was a well educated and religious child. In 1849, after the death of her father, Evans moved to London where she met George Henry Lewes, a writer, critic, philosopher, and actor. The two intellectuals went from colleagues to friends to live-in lovers. Though Lewes was married with children when he began his relationship with Evans, his wife had been living with another man for several years. Because of legal and financial restrictions Lewes was unable to obtain a divorce, and he and Eliot were much criticized for living together.
At the suggestion of Lewes, Evans began writing fiction in September 1867, beginning what she called a new era in her life. At this time she took the pen name George Eliot — George after her lover and Eliot because she said it was “a good mouth-filling word. ” Her first work was a collection of stories and sketches about the people of Warwickshire, the town of her youth. Evans continued writing at a prodigious pace. A year after Adam Bede, she wrote The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner. She became a success, and was no longer scorned for her relationship with Lewes.
She went on to write her most acclaimed novel, Middlemarch, between 1871 and 1872. Lewes died in his sleep in 1878, and in 1880 Evans married John Cross. On the other hand they were only married 8 months as she died in that same year. In addition because she had not lived by the rules of the church, her body was forbidden burial in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner. Instead, her husband chose a plot near where George Lewes lay in Highgate Cemetery. Silas Marner is a weaver, and first lived in Lantern Yard, but after 15 years he moved to Raveloe after being accused of the theft of the church’s money.
When Silas arrived in Raveloe, he was quiet and isolated himself from other human beings. From the beginning of the novel, we see themes relating to faith, relationships, choice and wealth. Besides spending all his time weaving, Silas Marner also began hoarding his money, until Dunstan Cass stole it from his cottage. When Silas realizes the money has gone his actions are very significant because he rushes to the local pub to inform the villagers of the robbery. Usually, Silas would not socialize with the villagers, however in this situation he asks for help; breaking out of his comfort zone.
One New Years Eve while Silas is out Eppie appears by his fire, and Silas believes she is ‘a gift from god,’ after her real father, Godfrey Cass fails to claim her as his own. Sixteen years pass, and Silas is now very content living at home with Eppie. He rediscovered his religion, and Eppie has given him a relationship – not just with her, but with the rest of the villagers. Godfrey is miserable as well as irritated as he has no heir, so eventually he speaks the truth and announces that Eppie is actually his child.
To Godfrey’s disappointment, she rejects his offer to become a lady, and wants to stay with Silas. ‘I can’t feel as I’ve got any father but one… I’ve always thought of a little home where I’d sit in the corner, and I should fend and do everything for him: I can’t of no other home. ‘ In part two of the text, Eppie’s relationship with Silas was put under pressure when the offer was made by Godfrey. They have a symbiotic relationship; they need each other and together are similar to one unit.
She sees him as her father, as for the last 16 years he was the one who provided for her – giving her not only material items, but a home and family. On the other hand, Eppie has also provided Silas with a family and social life, ‘by seeking what was needful for Eppie… he had himself come to appropriate the… mould of Raveloe life. ‘ (Chapter 16, page 124) Silas was also a very shallow person until Eppie arrived, and was only interested in money. Eppie changed his view on life, and the only way he would be attracted back to money was if he lost Eppie.