Silas Marner

Enhance reading comprehension with a with a guide that contains an overview, discussion questions, follow-up activities and suggestions to be used before, during, and after reading the novel, Silas Marner.
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An initial exposition of the main substantive thematic issues will lead readers past surface difficulties such as the setting or some vocabulary, engaging them with the heart of the work. Ways of dealing with such possible impediments are addressed in the opening portions of the next section, While Reading the Novel. Likewise, the large number of characters may be a problem for some readers. A listing activity is suggested to help these students.

Students should give thoughtful consideration to at least some of the following questions. One possibility is for students to write about one or more of them and then discuss their thoughts and feelings with classmates who chose the same questions. These discussions can be in small groups, with group responses shared with the total class for additional comment.

• What are the consequences of being the victim of lies, gossip, or rumors?

• If you had three minutes to evacuate your home because of a fire, what would you try to save? Explain your choices.

• How does home environment influence people? Give examples.

• What is essential for happiness? Defend your choices.

• Some people are lucky, while others never have good fortune. True or false? Explain.

• What connections does social class have with happiness or with responsibility, both personal or social?


Getting Started

The teacher should read the first chapter aloud to help involve students in the novel's action. The following questions should be written on the board for students to keep in mind as they listen:

  • What kind of person is the main character?
  • How is he viewed by others?
  • Are their views justified?

Vocabulary Study

The class may be provided with a list of words from the novel that might be unfamiliar to them. Students should determine the meaning of each word by noting its use in context or by consulting a dictionary.

Each word included in this list is accompanied by a chapter and page number in parentheses. The vocabulary words are as follows:

remnants (I/5)
unwonted (I/5)
aliens (I/6)
chary (I/6)
flail (I/6)
protuberant (I/6)
rickets (I/6)
rustic (I/6)
winnowing (I/6)
benignity (I/7)
phantasm (I/7)
rectory (I/7)
tithes (I/7)
weathercocks (I/7)
averred (I/8)
stile (I/8)
provident (I/9)
repugnance (I/9)
singularities (I/9)
accession (I/10)
artisan (I/10)
fervid (I/10)
resurgent (I/10)
colloquies (I/11)
cataleptic (I/12)
queries (I/12)
blasphemy (I/15)
dropsy (II/19)
precursors (II/19)
erudite (II/22)
revelry (II/22)
anointing (III/24)
husbandry (III/24)
orts (III/24)
unctuous (III/24)
pillions (III/25)
wainscot (III/25)
distrain (III/27)
casualties (III/30)
repose (III/30)
vacillation (III/30)
conciliatory (III/31)
compunction (III/32)
fetters (III/32)
prosaic (III/32)
rumination (III/33)
pliant (III/33)
tacit (III/33)
vicinage (III/34)
judiciously (IV/35)
felicitous (IV/38)
cajolery (IV/39)
problematic (IV/41)
ingeniously (V/43)
farrier (VI/47)
drenched (VI/48)
preternatural (VII/59)
impious (VIII/63)
clairvoyant (VIII/64)
surmise (VIII/64)
culpable (VIII/68)
odious (VIII/68)
indulgence (VIII/69)
homage (IX/70)
ponderous (IX/71)
collogue (IX/72)
entail (IX/72)
prevarication (IX/76)
bereavement (X/78)
dubiety (X/83)
comporting (X/90)
irascibility (X90)
importunate (X/91)
joseph (XI/91)
exiguity (XI/92)
vouchsafed (XI/101)
epigram (XI/102)
scarify (XI/102)
carping (XI/107)
phial (XII/112)
vindictive (XII/112)
profligacy (XIII/117)
whist (XIII/117)
advent (XIII/118)
requisition (XIV/132)
propitatiatory (XIV/135)
veracious (XVI/140)
filial (XVII/154)
contemplative (XVII/156)
rectitude (XVII/157)
solictude (XVII/157)
privation (XVII/158)

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