Marilynne Robinson's Gilead: A Character Analysis

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Fate; A controversial topic that humans work diligently to avoid. As intelligent and forward-thinking creatures, humans like to believe that as a species, we have out-smarted the entity that put us on this earth. Control has become an insatiable desire that the human race strives to attain. The feeling of control helps to distinguish us from the chaos and confusion of life. Although individuals can control moment to moment decisions, the unknown variables of life, and one’s inherited circumstances, makes the feat of controlling one’s destiny and absolute impossibility. In Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, the characters struggle through generations of simultaneously living with fate, and fighting it. The relationships between parents and children,…show more content…
Just like himself, his father and grandfather had been ministers, exemplifying the idea that the relationship between parents and children is an unalterable factor of life. Children are a product of their parents and there is very little to be done in order to escape what is so deeply ingrained in one’s DNA. Although his grandfather had been a disappointment to most of his family in his violent plight for the abolition of slavery, Ames did not fail to notice the similarities between the three generations, specifically in regard to their temper. Although Ames’s father hated the fact that his own father had participated in the violence in Kansas, the rage he felt toward him connected them more profoundly rather than showing their differences. “I think that fierce anger against him was one of the things my father felt he truly had to repent of. But my father did hate war. He nearly died in 1914, from pneumonia, the doctors said, but I have no doubt it was mainly from rage and exasperation” (Robinson 86). This example shows the irony that children will inevitably turn into their parents no matter how much they fight against it. Ames himself shares the same great flaw of his predecessors. “They were fine people, but if there was one thing I should have learned from them and did not learn, it was to control my temper…I tell you so that you can watch for this in yourself” (Robinson 6). He admonishes this trait, but more importantly acknowledges it as something that his son will likely possess as well, showing that Ames has some understanding of the lack of control one has of

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