Essay title: Middle Ground, a Review of Gilead
Middle Ground, A Review of Gilead The eager followers of Marilynne Robinson have been granted their wish of a second novel.The author’s most recent work in Gilead has been awarded with the gold seal of the Pulitzer Prize.
Readers receive the gift of a thoughtful story which takes on views on the morals and spirituality of all people.The book does a wonderful job at allowing the reader to form their own beliefs from the text. Gilead is written in the first person as 76 year old John Ames writes his “begats” to his son.Ames is seeing the last of his days and uses this time to write a compilation of stories and thoughts to give his 7 year old son something more to remember him by.This plotline is a structural basement of the novel which allows Robinson to delve into many different topics as we get glimpses into the life of Ames.
The purpose for the letters is a heart warming one that initially shows the reader the loving and caring nature of this dying minister. Ames is the third consecutive sermon giver in his bloodline but takes a different stance then either of his predecessors.His neutrality is a thing of beauty and an aspect that is revered.The minister tells stories of his past and ones that he has heard from times before his own.
The reader is presented with numerous situations from one extreme to the other. The novel begins sounding like an extension of Ames mind as he moves from reflections of one situation to another: from the nature of his son’s ways, to the hostility between his grandfather the soldier and his father the pacifist, and back to the love he has for his family.The ramblings of the preacher gives the reader insight into topics such as the Civil War and slavery, and the moral implications behind one’s actions.The reader is allowed to form their own views from the thoughts Ames presents his son. The book shows how people lives have been shaped by the history of the country and the people that have come before them.Robinson has constructed this book in a masterful way by staying neutral.