Old Filth Themes & Motifs

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 Old Filth.
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The Death Penalty

Even though Filth cannot confront the memory of Wales fully until late in his life, the attempted murder of his foster mother in Wales both shapes Filth’s life and becomes a lens through which he sees the world. Gardam uses both this event and the experiences of Filth’s professional life to argue that there is darkness and need for vengeance inherent in human nature; however, she also argues that we can and must subvert this at both a personal and societal level.

Filth worked as both a lawyer and a Judge. We know that often his job was to make difficult decisions about the lives of others, and that he had to employ a certain level of willful forgetting in order continue on with his life and his job. Yet Filth, “pillar of justice, arbitrator of truth” (246), also tried to kill a...

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This section contains 3,349 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Old Filth Study Guide
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