How is the child’s relationship with his or her carer presented by each of these writers Essay Sample
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How is the child’s relationship with his or her carer presented by each of these writers Essay Sample
Silas Marner tells the story of a weaver who lives, and works in a cottage just outside the village of Raveloe. Raveloe is a very different world from the northern town, Lantern Yard, where Silas grew up, and belonged to a strict religious group. Silas suffered from caleptic fits and his friend, William Dane took advantage of this, to frame him for the theft of church money. Silas was then expelled from the church. Silas then moves to Raveloe and starts a new life there becoming a miserly old man of whom everyone is afraid.
Goodnight Mr. Tom tells the story of a young boy named Willie who has abused by his mother and evacuated during the second world war. A widowed man named Tom Oakley, of whom many of the villagers are afraid, looks him after. There are quite a lot of significant similarities in both of these stories, one of them being that in both stories the writer tells us that the people in their community are afraid of them, and that they themselves have brought about this view of them by their own actions and attitudes. In Goodnight Mr.
Tom, Tom has rarely spoken to anyone in the village since his wife died, an event that made him feel lonely and isolated from the rest of the world. Similarly in Silas Marner, his betrayal by his friend makes him feel lonely and isolated also. Silas must have felt very betrayed, both by his friend, and by God, who failed to clear him of the charges wrongly brought against him. His betrayal by these figures, results in a total loss of faith in both people and God, leaving Silas to think that “there is no just God that governs the earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the innocent”.
Silas’ fianci?? e, Sara, then ended their engagement, and married William Dane. This makes the reader feel very sorry for Silas as he has been betrayed by the people he is closest to. His personality changes dramatically and he is transformed from, “A young man of exemplary life and ardent faith” to a “bitter” man with “despair in his soul” and a “shaken trust in God”. As a writer, Eliot makes us feel both sorry for Silas and interested in him at the same time. We want Silas to regain his trust in God and people, and in this way we are drawn into the story.
We see the decline of his character as well as the emotional pain he is going through when he, “for a whole day sat alone, stunned by despair… (and) benumbing unbelief” . The reader gets to know and understand Silas and how he sees things. The reader is brought to be on Silas’s side as we see the wrongdoings that befall him and we have been brought to know him through the writer who makes us feel compassion towards him.
When Silas moved to Raveloe, a rural community, the people in the community are very suspicious of him, as he is a stranger, whom they regard as alien, “pallid, under-sized m(a)n who… ooked like the remnants of a disinherited race”. Silas works long hours and is very antisocial. Eliot demonstrates Silas’ self-isolation and withdrawal from all human contact, as he invites “no comer to step across his door-sill”. He also never stops to “drink a pint at the Rainbow (inn)”, or enjoy a “gossip at the wheelwrights”. He never went to the village “save for the purpose of his calling” and only visited people in order “to supply himself with the necessaries”.
This constant self-inflicted separation and alienation from people and the community, is Silas’ defence mechanism, to prevent him from being betrayed and hurt by the people he is closest to again. In not allowing himself to be drawn into friendships he has removed this threat of betrayal. The writer has made the reader understand what Silas is doing and his reasons for doing it. The reader can see that Silas needs a friend to make him realise that not everyone will betray him, but he prevents himself doing this, and in doing so also makes the reader aware of his vulnerability.
Silas ignores his natural need for friendship and instead turns to his work, “to bridge over the loveless chasms of his life”. He weaves, “like a spider, from pure impulse, without reflection”, doing nothing else but answer “the calls of hunger”, and in doing so “reduce(s) his life to the unquestioning activity of a spinning insect”. Another reason that he does not want to make friends may be that he does not want to be reminded of his past, which would bring back painful memories to him. When Silas’ gold is stolen, the reader experiences Silas’ distress and emotional anguish at the loss of his gold.
The writer brings to life the “wild, ringing scream, the cry of desolation”, and the reader almost experiences Silas’ anguish with him. The reader is encouraged to feel sympathetic and compassionate towards Silas when he thinks to himself, “(is) it a cruel power that no hands (can) reach which delight(s) in making (me) a second time desolate? ” The arrival of Eppie brings about slow, gradual changes in Silas, bringing about feelings that he hasn’t experienced in over fifteen years. When Silas first discovers her, lying by the fire, Silas at first believes her to be his ‘lost’ gold, It seemed as if there were gold on the floor…
Gold – (my) own gold! “. Upon closer examination he discovers her to be a child. Silas then thinks that it could “be (his) little sister come back to (him) in a dream? “, and with this memory of his sister, who died, “when he was a small boy without shoes of stockings” a wave of compassion engulfs Silas. The resemblance of this new child to his dead sister, revives “old quiverings of tenderness”, that he has not felt for a very long time. This is the beginning of the positive effect that Eppie has on Silas.
It is almost as if his ‘love’ for his gold has been replaced by this new love for the child that has been ‘given’ to him. This idea of Eppie being the ‘replacement’ for the gold is emphasised by the image that the writer uses of Eppie’s “soft yellow rings” of hair, and that Silas initially mistakes her for his gold. When Willie first arrives at Tom’s house, in Goodnight Mr. Tom, Willie is both alarmed and intrigued by what he sees. He is at first alarmed by the quiet and terrified by the animals. Mr. Tom is sees this, and is presented to us as a caring man reassuring Willie that “(they) won’t hurt you”.
When sat in Mr. Tom’s parlour, the writer describes in great detail how afraid Willie is of doing something “bad”, and is constantly afraid that Tom will beat him or hit him. In anticipation of this blow, Willie “automatically flings his arm across his face, and (giving) a cry… for the blow he was expecting”, but then Willie is puzzled as to why Tom did not hit him, like his mother would have done. Tom who wants to “sort a few things out” then takes him inside. Willie mistakenly assumes that something worse is going to happen. He is probably expecting a beating, like his mother used to give him.
When he spies Tom “pick(ing) up the poker and walk(ing) across to the fire” he assumes that “now (he is) going to get it”. As he watches the poker “sen(d) the hot coke tumbling in all directions”, Willie “was certain he was going to be branded with it”. Willie then faints, and regains consciousness. Tom ‘mothers’ Willie, “plac(ing) him in his armchair”, and “tuck(ing) a blanket round him”. The writer makes the reader aware that despite any preconceptions we may have had about Tom’s character, he is at heart a very caring person.
Willie then falls asleep from exhaustion and Tom realises what Willie thought he was going to do to him with the poker. The writer makes us sympathetic and compassionate towards Willie, by telling us about his violent and turbulent past and describing his “blue” body “covered in bruises”. His mother has taught Willie that nearly everything he does, even though he is a very well behaved child, is bad, and a sin. Willie thinks of his bruises as “the marks of his sins”. This idea has obviously come from his mother telling him this.
Willie also does not recognise the importance of birthdays and this at first shocks the reader, and then appals them. The reader wants Willie to experience joy, and happiness, two thing that we are led to believe by Willies constant fear of being reprimanded by people and doing something wrong, that Willie has rarely, if ever experienced before. The writer has not described much of Willie’s past, but has described, in great detail, the after effects from these past events. It is detail of description and intimacy of things that we are told by the writer, about Willie, that makes us so ‘involved’ in Willie’s life.
It is this involvement and intimacy with Willie’s character that makes us feel that it is almost our ‘duty’ to ensure that Willie is properly looked after, loved and cared for, and thus makes us interested in Willie’s relationship with Tom. We are interested in Tom because it is him who we feel is the only adult person able to help him. When Eppie wakes from her sleep in front of the fire, she starts to cry “mammy”. Silas then “stoop(s) to lift (her) onto his knee”, and presses her to himself, and “uttered sounds of hushing tenderness”. The writer is showing the reader how Silas’ love for his lost gold is transformed into love for the child.
Silas now makes Eppie some porridge and even goes to the trouble of sweetening it with sugar “which he had refrained from using himself”. The writer shows the reader a new and different part of Silas. A new and loving and caring side, that we have not witnessed before. The reader is made interested in Eppie, and how her relationship with Silas develops, as we have seen this dramatic change in character that is brought about by her arrival. Having discovered Eppie’s “tramp mother” dead in the snow, Silas takes Eppie with him to the Red house to announce this.
The writer shows us that Eppie has ‘bonded’, with Silas, as although she is still “call(ing) for mammy”, she “cling(s) to Marner, who ha(s) apparently won her thorough confidence”. Silas declares, she is “a lone thing, and I’m a lone thing” and will not allow anyone to take his new prized possession away from him. Silas thinks that “it came to (him)” and that he has “a right to keep it”. When, in Goodnight Mr. Tom, Tom discovers that Willie cannot read or write, he is amazed and asks “didn’t they have school in London? “. When Willie tells Tom that “(the teacher) didn’t like me” and “all the others called him “silly sissy William”.
Tom simply tells Willie that “I can (read) to yer, after yer Bible”, and then begins to read nightly to Willie, who gradually learns words and is able to build up his reading ability. Tom also helps Willie with his writing, firstly teaching him to write his name, and later on, postcards to his mother The writer presents to the reader, the idea of Tom not being as horrible and miserly as people’s original misconceptions In both stories the child forges new relationships and friendships between the community and it’s carer. For example, in Goodnight Mr.
Tom, the Billeting Officer is frightened of Tom. The writer conveys her fear by telling us that she gives him “an awkward smile” and stutters her words. This fear of Tom is held by everyone, but as the story progresses he is forced to talk to people more; for example when he needs to find a store that sells children’s boots and a thick jersey for Willie, and when he takes Willie to the library. Similarly in Silas Marner, Silas makes friends with Mrs. Winthrop who is known to us on a familiar basis as Dolly. Dolly has a son called Aaron, whose old baby clothes she gives to Silas for Eppie.
Although “patched and darned” they are still “clean and neat”, and are an example of her sensitive generosity. Dolly’s continued support “without any show of bustling instruction “and “with a woman’s tender tact” turns her into Silas’s valued friend as she enables him to rear her, now Goddaughter, Eppie. Through her insistence that Silas “take (Eppie) to church, and let her learn her catechise”, Silas regains his religious faith as he becomes accepted, and then admired by the villagers. In Goodnight Mr. Tom, Willie makes friends with Zach, a highly extrovert boy with a very original personality.
The writer has presented this new relationship in the form of a contrast, with one boy being highly introvert and the other highly extrovert, the two are very different to each other. The reader is made interested in their relationship and the story, by this difference in character and wants to see if they will have a positive change upon each other. Eppie calls Silas “daddy”, even though he is not really “daddy”, but he fulfils the parental role of father. Eppie also seems to have a very close relationship with Silas, as she talks to him as if she would a friend.
Eppie has made many changes to Silas, some of them less significant than others, including, getting him to smoke his pipe less often, as Eppie disapproves of it and not working all day long, as Eppie thinks that it is bad for him. Eppie has also managed to persuaded Silas to build and grow a garden with flowers for her, get a dog and a cat, and extend their cottage. Eppie has given Silas something other than money to live for and love, and has restored his confidence and trust in people and thus brought him closer to the community.
Silas has given a loving home to Eppie, who would otherwise have been living and working at the orphanage. Tom has brought about many changes in Willie, including, teaching him to read and write, giving him the love and care that he needs and taking him away from his violent past. Willie has gone from being a “timid, sickly… bag of bones” to a healthier, happier, boy, able to read, write, act, draw and paint, who no longer wet the bed, and was more outspoken and at ease with everyone than before. Willie, has given Tom someone to love and care for, and has effectively taken the place of Tom’s deceased wife.
In both books the child and their new carer have given each other a person to love and care for, and contributed to making each other stronger people who are more in touch with their feelings. They have made each other better people through the love and care that they felt they needed to provide the other with, and have benefited from the love and care shown to them. They have made new ties with their community because of the other person in their lives, and the reader is now satisfied that the characters are happy and their lives are fulfilled, and so the story ends.