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MonkeyNotes-Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Nancy Lammeter

Nancy is a charming young woman whose inherent refined qualities of character cover up for her lack of a sound formal education. "She had the essential attributes of a lady--high veracity, delicate honor in her dealings, deference to others and refined personal habits." Nancy also has a mind of her own. At the age of twenty-three, she has compiled for herself a complete code of conduct to cover every possible contingency, and she sticks to it with the firmness of a mountain. For instance, she believes that "Sisters must be dressed alike," so she insists that Priscilla wear an outfit similar to hers even if it makes her "look as yellow as a daffodil." She is in love with Godfrey and can't think of marrying any other man, but she won't accept him until he reforms himself. Nancy will not agree to Godfrey's suggestions for adoption because if Providence has not bestowed them with a child then they have no claim to one.

With the passing of time, Nancy matures. Her "soul ripens to fuller goodness." The change in her character is not wrought by any external circumstances. It is the result of the flowering of her inherent goodness. When she discovers that Eppie is Godfrey's daughter, her reaction is more generous than what Godfrey had expected. She is full of sympathy for the child and advises Godfrey to correct the wrong he has done to her.


Dunstan Cass

Dunstan is a vain, glorious fellow who is fond of boasting and drinking. He is also a hollow person. While he keeps running down others, it is the opinion of others that matters most to him. He doesn't want to be seen walking, for "he would cut a pitiable figure." It is for the same reason that he carries Godfrey's whip; he feels the golden whip gives a better appearance than his own. Dunstan's character is important for the development of the plot; he makes things happen to other characters. He serves as a foil to Godfrey; he is the person who rocks Silas out of his shell by robbing his gold; his dead body leads Godfrey to confession.

Eppie

Eppie has a functional role in the novel just like Dunstan. Eppie is most charming in her childhood. Her chubby face and golden curls, coupled with her mischief, make her an endearing figure. Eppie grows up to be a charming young woman, who is full of genuine love for her father. Hers is a relatively uncomplicated character. The only dash of complexity in her is the slight ambition she displays in wanting to have an advantage over Aaron. Eppie's most endearing quality is her love and loyalty towards Silas. She agrees to marry Aaron only on the condition that Silas will live with them. She refuses the life of luxury offered by Godfrey and remains faithful to Silas.

Dolly Winthrop

Dolly Winthrop is the epitome of Christian goodness, ready to offer her neighbor help in times of need. She is a strict observer of Christian rites (even if she doesn't fully comprehend them) and urges Silas to attend church and to have Eppie christened. By nature, she is pensive, "a tender, tolerant and sympathetic observer of the aspirations of muddled and limited intellects." She is also an excellent housekeeper and a loving mother, who is very helpful to Silas, but is never patronizing or domineering to him. Dolly is the first person in the village to really become friends with Silas.

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