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How Lewis Grassic Gibbon Uses Characters To Show The Themes Of His Book "Sunset Song"

1228 words - 5 pages

Sunset Song, by Lewis Grassic Gibbon is a book about the social changes that took place during the early 1900's that resulted in the demise of the old Scottish crofters. John Guthrie is the father of the main character, Chris and he represents the death of the old way of life. John Guthrie was a very proud character who fought a battle against the land, the gentry and the new way of life that meant that crofters like himself had to work on bigger farms where they were forced to pay higher rent. He also shows Lewis Grassic Gibbons' dislike against religion.In Sunset Song John Guthrie's marriage with Jean is a good one but later on it fall on hard times and ends when Jean poisons her self and her baby twins as she had found out she was pregnant again. Dod and Alec, Chris' younger brothers are sent to Aberdeen to stay with their Aunt and Uncle because of taunting at school. John Guthrie is then left with only Chris and Will to look after. The relationship between he and his son was already bad but after the death of Jean Guthrie it deteriorates further and Will ends up leaving the farm. Later, with only Chris to help him, John Guthrie suffers a stroke that leaves him paralysed in bed and stays there until he dies.The marriage of John and Jean Guthrie is a good example of Gibbon's dislike of religion. It was John Guthrie's beliefs that ruined the marriage and resulted in Jean Guthrie's suicide. His mother who had been "fell religious" had brought up John Guthrie to be extremely strict over religion. John Guthrie fell to temptation because of Jean as he kept on having sex with her. Because of this she kept on getting pregnant even though she was too old to cope with it. He refused to stop because it was against god's will. For example in "Ploughing" he says, "We'll have what God in his mercy may send us woman. See you to that" This shows how he refused to do anything against God's will. He thought that if they weren't meant to have any more children then God wouldn't send them any but if he did then that was what was meant to happen and you shouldn't work against it. His wife, Jean Guthrie, was obviously sceptical of her husbands' beliefs as when he spoke of arranging a doctor for the coming of the twins she says "No doubt your friend Jehovah will see to it all". This shows what she thought of John Guthrie's beliefs as she was criticising his theory of God's will.His relationship with his son, Will was also ruined by his beliefs. There was an incident during Will's sixteenth year when he named a horse "Jehovah". He did this because he had heard this name, not knowing what it meant, and thought it wonderful. He saved it up and waited until he could find something that was. However when he named the horse "Jehovah" his father heard him and beat him saying "And mind, my mannie, if I ever hear you again take your Makers name in vain again, I'll libb you. Mind that. Libb you like a lamb" This shows that he took his religion very seriously and that he did...

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