Choose a novel or short story in which the writer explores feelings of rejection, isolation or alienation. Explain how the writer makes you aware of these feelings.
Go on to show how this exploration enhances your appreciation of the novel as a whole.
In Robin Jenkin’s novel, “The Cone Gatherers” we follow the malevolent character of Duror who goes through an internal struggle to try and control his hatred for deformities. Duror’s mental decline is driven by the presence of Calum, a hunchback who is collecting cones in the forest in the estate where Duror is the gamekeeper. We are exposed to the dark and twisted nature of the tortured gamekeeper’s mind through his fixation with Calum, ...view middle of the document...
The twists and turns of the novel manifests itself to be a tale of injustice, ignorance and insanity.
Duror’s behaviour was deceitful from the onset of the novel. Examples of him, hiding in the woods waiting for Calum and his brother Neil, avoiding kissing his wife or spending time with her, to lying about Calum exposing himself in the forest. Duror was depicted as the embodiment of evil, a pathetic figure whose life is wasted. He enjoyed a certain freedom associated with his job as gamekeeper which offered him the opportunity to follow his darkest desires.
One of the main scenes in the novel is the deer hunt, where Duror’s instability becomes clear to all the characters in the novel when he confused the deer with Peggy when he slit it’s throat. He was like a tree, still straight underground…… but death was creeping along the roots. Outwardly he tried to be in control , keeping a veneer of normality. However Duror took out all his resentments about his life on Calum; his frustrations about the way his life had turned out due to his wife’s illness.
In chapter nine he spoke of “Murder, rape and suicide”, foreshadowing his increasing lack of control, his bitterness and hopelessness and isolation.
There is no doubt that his isolation increased as the novel unfolded, and Calum was the personification of this. Jenkins had examined the mystery of evil as he depicted the downward spiral of Duror into madness, murder and suicide/
Duror was not born evil, he had been a good ‘stalwart’ man according to Dr Matheson., but over the years he had become a cynic and felt that whatever he does in life he failed at. He became very embittered , feeling that everybody and everything was against him. He became withdrawn, then angry as his marriage crumbled before his eyes. He looked for someone to blame e and the appearance of Calum with his crippled body and angelic face was too much to bear for Duror. Calum was happiness personified.
Jenkins explored feelings of alienation through use of characterisation, imagery, personification and many other features in the novel. His exploration of good versus evil ; evil being described as a ‘presence like air, affecting everyone’
Duror’s evil was a force ...