Gilead Themes

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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Father and Son Relationships

The most important theme in Gilead pertains to the difficulty in making connection across the generations, particularly between fathers and sons. In some places in the novel, this difficulty is explored in terms of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Indeed, in several cases in the novel, the son's decision to leave (leave the family home town, leave the faith) is understood by the father as a “defection,” (the military term suggests both cowardice and disloyalty). The father and son feel rejection, and anger simmers between the two.

The grandfather left Maine to fight for abolition in Kansas, to join the Union Army in the Civil War; as he aged and perhaps even more so after he was wounded in battle (losing his eye, losing his depth perception), he became all the more radical and eccentric. He gave sermons with a gun in his belt...

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This section contains 2,828 words
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Buy the Gilead Study Guide
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