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  • A Tug of War. The Importance of Duality in Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song
  • Bakkalár
  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    The novel Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon is in part a modernist work written in opposition to the Kailyard tradition. Therefore it is a realistic work without the idealisation of rural life. The novel deals with the split or duality in characters and their search for identity while the Scottish language has suffered a decline under the shadow of the English rulers. This split or the Caledonian Antisyzygy has been a prevailing element in Scottish literature. Lewis Grassic Gibbon was one of the writers who concerned himself with this supposed superiority of the English language and culture in lieu of the Scots and the dilemma of a literature without a language. Through their duality, the characters communicate Gibbon’s criticism on society. He was a devoted socialist who was appalled by the social injustice in Scotland. He was influenced by modernism and created a language and a voice to generate his message. This duality appears in the characters of Chris Guthrie, her father John Guthrie and her husband Ewan Tavendale. Chris is torn between her dreams of education and her strong connection to the land which corresponds with the author’s own experience. John Guthrie is a representative of the patriarchy and he also represents the last of the small farmers in Scotland as farms are undergoing changes due to new technology. Gibbon believed that those change were regrettable. John Guthrie is also shown to represent religious bigotry, since Gibbon was critical towards religion and clergy. Ewan Tavendale’s choice to respond to the demands of the outside world proves to cost him dearly. Through Ewan, Gibbon is demonstrating the ill effects war has on people and society in general.

  • 8.5.2013

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