The Other Side Summary
Mary Gordon

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The Other Side Summary

If Gordon's immediate social concern is the family, her questions are those raised in all her fiction, those of individual moral responsibility. Tragedy here is not on a cosmic scale, an impersonal force in the universe or the will of God. The misery of human lives is caused by those who should love us, but are either too weak to behave honorably, or wilfully stubborn and selfish in following their own passions.

Whether by sins of commission or omission, they blight the lives of those they should have been able to love.

Although this novel has few direct references to the Catholic Church, the characters feel its influence. Ellen, as a result of events in her childhood in the old country, directs her venom toward the Church she has abandoned. The power of the Church, both destructive and salvific, underpins the actions of the characters. Gordon portrays the Irish...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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The Other Side Short Guide

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