Robert Wrhinghim in James Hogg's Novel, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Robert Wrhinghim in James Hogg's Novel, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

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Robert Wrhinghim in James Hogg's Novel, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
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     James Hogg's classic novel, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, portrays the fictional story of Robert Wringhim, a strong Calvinist who justifies murder by quickening the inevitable. Robert commits infamous acts of evil, believing that these murderous actions glorify God by annihilating sinners not chosen to be saved. I believe that a combination of factors involving both nurture and nature shape Wringhim into the suffering creature that he becomes. The greatest of these factors include Paranoia Schizophrenia, Multiple Personality Disorder, and the rejection of society.

     To my limited medical knowledge, I understand Wringhim to suffer from a severe case of Paranoia Schizophrenia among other forms of mental illnesses. There is evidence for this theory in the novel. For example, it is typical for victims of this medical condition to have an immense fear that literally controls their life. In the early pages of the book, Wringhim discusses this paranoid fear which consumes his life. ?My heart quakes with terror, when I thought of being still living in a state of reprobation, subjected to the awful issues of death, judgment, and eternal misery??( Hobbes 118). This fear of ?death, judgment and eternal misery? controls him and becomes all he thinks about. He goes on to describe that he prays three times a day and seven times on the Sabbath to cope with this fear of damnation.

     However, even though Wringhim is obsessed with the security of his salvation earlier in the novel, this fear appears to diminish by an overwhelming sense of security that he is elected to be saved from the eternal flames fire, after his father bargains with God for Robert?s soul (130). Although there is little evidence to support this theory, it is not unintelligent for one to believe that Wringhim?s original fear of eternal damnation persists throughout his lifetime, even after he realizes he is one of the elect. Page 153 shows Robert struggling with the question of whether he is truly elect or not. This shows that his paranoid fear still persists.

     After examining Wringhim?s murderous actions and the mental state he was possibly in, it can be concluded that Wringhim murders the ?enemies of the Lord? because it helps...


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...er is rejected by society and goes on to cause great evil even though his heart longed to do good. The monster?s own creator rejected his creation leaving the monster with an immense feeling of misery. Robert Wringhim?s and the monster?s lives are very similar in the sense that those who should accept and love them were the first to reject them and then all of society followed forcing them to cause great evil to revenge their hurt. Revenge for society rejecting him could have been another factor that played in his decisions to murder. ?My life has been a life of trouble and turmoil; of change and vicissitude; of anger and exultation; of sorrow and of vengeance? (117).

     Furthermore, it was not merely through nurture or nature that lead Robert Wringhim to commit these murders; it was the combination of both. Nature and nurture should not be classified into two separate categories or theories, because they have a correlating relationship and work off of each other. Hogg demonstrates this through Robert Wringhim using both nature (Paranoia Schizophrenia), nurture (rejection of society), and a mental disorder that combines both classifications (Multiple Personality Disorder).

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