Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – Book Summary

GileadThe novel Gilead was published on November 4, 2004, and was written by Marilynne Robinson. The novel won the National Book Critics Circle award as well as Pulitzer Prize fiction award in 2005. Gilead is the second novel of Robinson after the Housekeeping, which was published in 1980.

Gilead, the novel is about the autobiography and fiction story about Reverend James which is an elderly Congregationalist pastor in the small, the novel is an epistolary story about a lonely town of Gilead, Lowa. The Reverend knows that he is dying because of his heart disease. The date is established on 1956 at the start of the novel. And he explains that he is writing an account of his life for his son. He was seven years old and his son will remember him in his memories after this.

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The Robinson thinks that the fictional town of Gilead is based a town. Which is real and located on the southwest corner of the state named the town of Tabor, Lowa. The town is famous and very well known for its abolition movement. The fictional character described by the Author the character of the grandfather of narrator exists in reality as the Reverend John Stodd a minister from the town of Tabor. Who was used as a conductor character in Underground Railroad. The character is also known to store the different instruments used in abolition like ammunition, supplies, and weapons in his own store used by a famous abolitionist John Brown which he used to invade Missouri in 1857. These weapons were used to free the slaves and after without the involvement or knowledge of Todd used in a raid against the US military arsenal at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

The author talks about the involvement of his grandfather in the civil war. She describes a disease known as camp fever. This term was originally used to describe an illness called Typho-Malarial Fever. The symptoms she describes the disease include abdominal tenderness, pronounced chill followed by fever, general debility, nausea, retention of urine diarrhea and featuring of the tongue. Also, the John tells his son about his sermons in his letters and the sermons which he burnt without preaching.

Robinson talks about the importance of primary Calvinist texts regardless of her theological influence in the town of Gilead, particularly about the Calvin’s Institute of Christian Religion. Robinson tells that these texts are important to her. Because of the involvement of these texts in his theological and aesthetic perhaps of her. She talks about the involvement of his ancestors in the Gilead from these texts.

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