Ironically, John Ames’ role as preacher causes him to become the estranged moral leader in the community that respects him so much. Those who respected him for “all those hours [he] was up [there] working” on his sermons and studies distanced themselv...
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...ent it causes between him, Jack, and his young son illustrates the dangers of independence and self-reliance in Gilead. Ultimately, the novel acknowledges the imperfections of others but does not offer a method of change so much as an emphasis of understanding and forgiveness. The letter of John Ames to his son reveals a plea from a father to his child of his own faults and his desire for forgiveness because of them. Ultimately, writing allows an individual to live on after death and have a level of permanence which allows one to have an enduring identity. Gilead critiques judgmental attitudes and isolation and reveals the value of forgiveness through John Ames’ story. Forgiveness allows one to transcend misunderstandings and differences and recognize the value of others.
Robinson, Marilynne. Gilead . New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
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