Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lessons from Silas Marner

Silas Marner is a book written by George Eliot. I just finished this short story which I felt was a wonderful read. In this story, the life of Silas Marner is told.

Silas lives as a lonely waver near the village of Raveloe. He works hard and gains gold and reputation but shuns humanity for it treated him badly once. One night, his stash of gold is stolen and in its place, Silas finds a gift that is more precious....

The way George Eliot wrote this book was wonderful. The way she stringed together words were also perfect in my opinion. What is even more amazing is the way she uses the character of Silas to show the tendency to hoard money amongst human beings. Certain good quotes from the book as follows:

"Do we not wile away moments of inanity or fatigued waiting by repeating some trivial movement or sound, until the repetition has bred a want, which is incipient habit? That will help us to understand how the love of accumulating money grows an absorbing passion in men whose imaginations, even in the very beginning of their hoard, showed them no purpose beyond it."

"His life has reduced itself to the mere functions of weaving and hoarding, without any contemplation of an end towards which the functions tended."

George Eliot has indeed hit many money hoarders right where it hurts. Too often, we treat our work and the accumulation of wealth as the entirety of our lives without giving thought to what purpose they serve.

The end of the story is a sweet ending and I shall not reveal it lest some of you might want to read the book.


4 comments:

  1. This was my school literature textbook lor and i agree that Silas deserved his reward at the end of it all.

    hmmm i suppose we can't help hoarding money to a certain extent lah...cos money makes us feel safe and empowered.

    If we have money, we don't have to be chained to our office desks or drag ourselves to work everyday, if we have money we don't have "depend" on a job or wished that a certain boss whom we don't like confer a "much needed" promotion onto us, we don't fear retrenchment, poverty, mounting medical bills, end up sell tissue......etc... [you get the idea lor]

    Then how leh? hoarding money just like silas did initially is also super miserable also.... hahaha... btw who says hoarding money no purpose? the purpose is.....Survival lor....:P

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  2. Hi Anonymous,

    You are fortunate to do such a book for your school literature. I found the book very meaningful as it was written in almost a parable form.

    I think too often, we spend an obtuse amount of our time thinking about money and our career that we forget they are just a means to an end and not the end in itself.

    Money is meant to buy us the necessities in life as well as to help us provide for our loved ones and family. But if we end up hoarding money without knowing why, then it is a terrible mistake.

    Too many parents are out there trying to earn a living and provide a "better life" for their children when all their children want from them is perhaps their time instead of their money and enrichment classes and what nots...

    If you can forgo earning $100 per day to spend quality time with your children, will you do it? If you can forgo earning $3000 per month in exchange for quality time with your loved ones, will you do it?

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  3. Hi SgFF,

    "If you can forgo earning $100 per day to spend quality time with your children, will you do it? If you can forgo earning $3000 per month in exchange for quality time with your loved ones, will you do it? "

    If that's all I earn, then no. I'm practical. Family love and warmth feeds no one. Like you said:

    "Money is meant to buy us the necessities in life as well as to help us provide for our loved ones and family."

    There's no point to start talking about spending time with family, or even starting a family, if one does not have sufficient even for the basic necessities.

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  4. Silas believed that he had nothing except money when he started hoarding money. He was in love with money, cos he didn't have anybody/anything else to love......

    The moment his money disappeared and a "substitute" to his money turned up at his door things change...

    so the crux of it all was that Silas had to cling on to something and money provided the last bit of "hope" he had in order for him to continue living on in this world...he would have been sucidal i guess if he had lost hope completely...very strange/weird to us, but perhaps logical under those circumstances..

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