Silas Marner Historical Context

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Weavers in England

Historian E. P. Thompson, in his book The Making of the English Working Class, describes four different employment situations for weavers during the nineteenth century. The first was the "customer-weaver," like Silas Marner, an independent worker in a village or small town who fulfilled orders from individual customers. Although customer-weavers were diminishing in numbers, those who continued the practice made a good living. In Silas Marner, Mr. Macey guesses that the hard-working Marner may make a pound a week from his weaving, which would have been a fairly sizable income. (This would have been during the early years of the nineteenth century.) The second kind of weaver was self-employed, producing work for a number of different masters. The third type was the journeyman weaver, who often owned his own loom and worked in his own home for one master. This was probably the status of...

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This section contains 575 words
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Silas Marner from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.