CliffsNotes on Eliot's Silas Marner

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The original CliffsNotes study guides offer expert commentary on major themes, plots, characters, literary devices, and historical background. The latest generation of titles in this series also feature glossaries and visual elements that complement the classic, familiar format.

In CliffsNotes on Silas Marner, you explore the life of Silas Marner, a weaver who has been outcast from his original home and lives a lonely, miserable existence until his gold is stolen and a child comes into his life to replace it. This memorable novel is George Eliot's most well-known and admired work -- one that strives to present realistic human relationships and address the function of religion in society.

Chapter summaries and commentaries take you through Silas Marner's journey, and critical essays help you understand the plot, structure, characterization, themes, and use of symbolism in the novel. Other features that help you study include

  • Analyses of each of the main characters
  • A section on the life and background of George Eliot
  • A section of review questions
  • A selected bibliography
  • A genealogy chart to help you understand the complex relationships of the novel

Classic literature or modern modern-day treasure — you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.

Curriculet Details
37 Questions
31 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in eleventh and twelfth grades, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining dynamic characters, irony, and pacing. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about internal and external conflict, simile and metaphor. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of theme, character motivation, and structure. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Homework #5

Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
What can you tell of Silas Marner and his relationship with the town from this highlighted passage? 
After watching the video on static and dynamic characters. Although the story just began, this highlighted passage suggests Marner is which type of character? (This annotation contains a video)
Who betrayed Silas Marner? 

Homework #6

In this highlighted passage, the author mentions Lethean influence. This is an allusion to the River Lethe. In Greek mythology, it is a river the shades pass in Hades, literally the River of Forgetfulness. Why is the speaker using this allusion to describe Marner's life in Raveloe? (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Marner bitter? 
Why would the doctor dislike Marner's help? 
Watch the video on simile and metaphor. In the highlighted passage, a metaphor of prisoners is used to compare Marner's developing obsession with money. What is the thematic point being made using this metaphor? (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #7

What is the quarrel between the two brothers about? 
Why is Godfrey held hostage by Dunsey for Dunsey's sins? 
Why is Godfrey bitter about the other woman? 

Homework #8

Why does Wildfire suffer? 
Originally, Dunsey thought to persuade Marner to loan him money. What does Dunsey end up doing? 

Homework #9

Once before, Marner trusted the authorities to see the truth, and they failed him. Why does Marner decide to go to the authorities about the robbery? 

Homework #10

How does the argument about the cow connect to Marner's situation? 
What do the argument about the cow and the story of the botched wedding ceremony show the reader of the town of Raveloe? 

Homework #11

How does the story of the ghost create an aura of surprise and mystery to the arrival of Silas Marner? 
In going to town to report the robbery, what has Marner done? 
Chapters 1-7 Quiz 

Homework #12

Watch the video on irony. How is it ironic that Godfrey Cass is helping with the investigation into Marner's robbery? (This annotation contains a video)
Why is the pedlar suspected of the robbery? 
Why does Godfrey have the opinion of his brother that he shares in this highlighted passage? 
Why doesn't Godfrey want to confront his father with his failures? 

Homework #13

Who is Squire Cass more upset with- Godfrey or Dunsey? 
Why is Squire Cass disowning Dunsey? 

Homework #14

Why does Dunsey's disappearance not arouse suspicion in connection to the robbery? 
Why has the town's opinion of Marner changed? How has the robbery changed his view despite the fact that his behavior doesn't change? 
How is the town trying to envelop Marner into their culture? 
How have the behaviors of the townspeople begun to change Marner's feelings and behavior? 
Why is Marner having trouble with the conversation? 
What does it say about Dunsey that no one is missing him? 

Homework #15

Why doesn't Nancy  Lammeter want to marry Godfrey Cass? 
In this highlighted passage, Nancy is described as neat,more try, and delicate. Why are these words used to describe her personality? 
What is Priscilla accusing Nancy of? 
Does Mr. Lammeter want the union between Godfrey and Nancy? 
In the highlighted passage, the author uses the word "lure" when describing Solomon Macy's leading the procession to the dance. What tone does the word lure suggest? 
How does Nancy truly feel about Godfrey? 

Homework #16

Why does Molly seek Godfrey and Squire Cass out New Year's Eve? 
What causes Molly to collapse? 
Who does Marner believe he's found at his hearth? 
The clip below is from the movie "Silas Marner". It depicts both Godfrey and Nancy's interaction with Marner's discovery of the girl. After reading of these two encounters, how does the movie depict these encounters differently? How are the depictions similar? (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #17

What is Godfrey's reaction to hearing of Molly's death? 
Why is Godfrey ashamed of his own behavior? 
Why does Silas believe he should keep the child? 

Homework #18

How has Marner's decision to keep the child further ingratiated him to the town? 
What has quickly replaced Marner's love of gold? 
How does Dolly convince Silas to christen the child and raise her in good faith? 
How is Eppie changing Marner? 
Why is Eppie's punishment a failure? 
Eppie has paved the way for Marner to be accepted in Raveloe unconditionally. How has she changed his heart? 

Homework #19

Chapters 8-15 Quiz 

Homework #21

Watch the video below on pacing. Why would the author skip sixteen years into the future? How does the change in pacing affect the plot in the story? (This annotation contains a video)
What has time done to Godfrey and Nancy Cass? 
What type of character has Eppie become? 
Who has become Marner's benefactor in these sixteen years? 
What truth does Dolly Winthrop give Marner? 
What upsets Marner about Aaron's marriage proposal? 
Why would Marner accept Aaron as a son-in-law and giving Eppie away in marriage? 

Homework #22

How do the sisters differ in their view of men? 
What mars Nancy and Godfrey's marriage? 
What is it about Godfrey's actions that show his true selfish character? 
Why does Godfrey believe his marriage is a childless one? 

Homework #23

What was Dunsey's fate? 
Why does Godfrey finally admit all to Nancy? 

Homework #24

Below is a video on external and internal conflict. Throughout the story, we have seen examples of both, but predominantly internal conflict of Silas Marner and Godfrey Cass. How are the individual internal conflicts going to come to an external conflict? (This annotation contains a video)
Why doesn't Marner speak to Godfrey Cass himself? Why does Marner allow Eppie to speak on her own behalf? 
Why is the conflict between Godfrey and Marner so Filled with emotion? 
What of Godfrey's speech further motivated Eppie to turn Godfrey and Nancy's offer? 

Homework #26

How does Eppie's reaction to Lantern Yard show the difference between where Marner lived before and where he lives now? 
What lesson does Marner learn? 


Final Quiz