Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/8308
The Influence of History, Legend and Language on Scottish Identity in Neil M. Gunn's 'The Silver Darlings' and Lewis Grassic Gibbon's 'Sunset Song'
Neil M. Gunn and Lewis Grassic Gibbon were important figures within the Scottish Literary Renaissance and are considered to be the most influential Scottish writers of the early twentieth century. In their works, they deal with many of the themes of the Scottish Renaissance such as the importance of history and legend and language in the search for identity.
Neil M. Gunn was born in 1891 in the Scottish Highlands and throughout his life he fought for the preservation of the traditional Highland life. His novel The Silver Darlings, published in 1941, deals with the life and community of herring fishers on the Scottish Highland coast in the early nineteenth century, but it is also a heroic tale that follows the story of Catrine and her son Finn.s journey from childhood to manhood. In The Silver Darlings, Gunn presents many contrasts, such as land and sea, man and woman, history and legend, but in the end he creates harmony between these contrasts and as a result his characters find their own identity.
Lewis Grassic Gibbon similarly deals with the search for identity in his novel Sunset Song, published in 1932. Gibbon, the son of hard-working farmers, was born in 1901 in Aberdeenshire. He had very mixed feelings towards his birthplace, feelings which are mirrored in Sunset Song.s main character Chris Guthrie. The novel is about a farming community in Northeast Scotland at the beginning of the twentieth century and it follows Chris Guthrie from childhood to womanhood. Sunset Song focuses on Chris. struggle to identify herself as Scottish or English and Gibbon uses language to portray the difference between Scottish Chris and English Chris.
Although Sunset Song and The Silver Darlings have many similar characteristics, they differ in spirit which can be explained by the authors. different experiences and attitudes towards their native land.