The Effects Of Industrial Modernization On People In Silas Marner

Silas Marner, written by George Eliot, portrays many themes relevant to modern occurrences in life. Among one of the most prominent is the exposé of industrialization depicted in a small section of the book. The replacement of Lantern Yard’s chapel with a large factory symbolizes the advancement of the Industrial Revolution and all the side effects that come with it. This relatively short portion of the book reveals the differences between Raveloe and Lantern Yard as seen through the social and economic conditions.

Eliot chooses to have the book take place in a rural setting to show the distinctions from industrial or city life. The transition from Lantern Yard in a rural setting at the beginning of the novel to “…a great manufacturing town” setting represents the disruptive force that modernization encompasses. Lantern Yard is dull and intimidating as tall buildings “hide the sky” and narrow alleys cause neighbors to live “so close together”. The intrusion of industrialization into society appears to divide community, replace old traditions, and wipe out memories. Silas describes “…neither from the brush-maker… nor from any other source… could Silas learn anything of the Old Lantern Yard friends” (Eliot and Carroll 179). The absence of any recollection of the old and more rural Lantern Yard accentuates the higher degree communitarian values in rural societies.

Similar to this sudden change at the end of the novel, Silas abruptly separated from his faith and finds peace with a new rural community. In this new society, Eliot uses Raveloe to show a more natural environment that contains more interactive social relations between individuals. In contrast to the industrialized Lantern Yard, Raveloe is a rural village with individuals who are invested in the community’s troubles and difficulties such as Silas’ robbed coins and upbringing of Eppie. Specifically, the descriptions Eliot uses when describing the characters at the Rainbow and the Squire’s New Year’s dance at the Red House provide individualism and distinct character development. Lantern Yard, however ,is met with a group with no relational affiliation between one another and a comparative lack of description. Along with these character models, the social interactions were lacking as well. Eliot’s descriptions of the people as a “…multitude of strange indifferent faces” add on to the direct disengagement of regard for the community (Eliot and Carroll 178). While nobody knew what happened to the chapel and the people in Lantern Yard, everyone knew what every person was doing in Raveloe.

Ultimately, the reader can see the loss of self-individualism and livelihood through industrial modernization. Relations become less open and more reticent. The smaller and more isolated, but more close-knit, society portrays a fuller human experience where people reveal the more emotional side of the human condition.   

16 December 2021
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now