Chris Guthrie in Lewis Crassic Gibbon's "Sunset Song".

Essay by RatchitUniversity, Master's August 2005

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Chris Guthrie is certainly one of the most remarkable characters in Scottish Literature. Remarkable for many reasons; she endures throughout the hardship and the tragedy that persist throughout this first chapter of her life, during her most formative years and with an admirable resistance. She is noble, attractive, intense, loyal and has an almost unshakable inner strength and a sharp wit. That all these characteristics were attributed to a female character written by a man born at the beginning of the 20th is remarkable and explains the sudden return to popularity of Gibbon's 'Sunset Song'.

In the Prelude, 'The Unfurrowed field' we are introduced to the 'speak of the mearns'. Gibbon's technique was to combine English and Scots words but to use the English Spelling; this made Scots, or a variation of it, accessible to readers worldwide yet authentic to the language of the country by writing in the vernacular of the region.

This also serves to give this passage the tone of gossip; the narrator is non-specific, encompassing the views of many in one voice, a chorus. He or she addresses the reader with a 'you' voice, drawing the reader into the attitude and tone of the time yet always in the background is Gibbon's light mockery.

In doing this the Reader can experience the parochial attitude of the people. We are immersed in the view of a peasant and largely uneducated society. This also serves to emphasise how different Chris's views and opinions are, when they differ from the norm or the 'speak of the mearns'. While the narration in the prelude and epilude does not include Chris it is intertwined throughout the rest of the text alongside Chris's providing a catalyst for anger, comedy and light mockery throughout.

While the narrative voice...