Gilead Setting & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 84 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Gilead.
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Gilead, Iowa

The book is set in this small farming community. In the Bible, "Gilead" became the home of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In short, it became the dwelling place of a people who were, to all intents and purposes, lost. The use of the name here has three layers of meaning. It illustrates the importance of the Bible and Christian religion to the people who live there and, on a more metaphorical level, it illustrates the way in which John Ames, after years of being emotionally and spiritually lost, by the end of the novel has "come home" to an emotionally and spiritually fulfilling life. The contrast here, the name's third layer of meaning, is to Jack Boughton, whose literal attempts to come home result only in his having to leave again without having found the kind of spiritual and...

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This section contains 965 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Gilead Study Guide
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