The Cone Gatherers- symbolism

Essay by HeatherLHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2014

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Heather Stewart 6E

Cone Gatherer's symbolism essay

"The Cone Gatherers" by Robin Jenkins is a novel set during World War II. Two brothers Calum and Neil are gathering cones that will replenish the forest which is to be cut down for the war effort, from an estate in Ardmore, Scotland. Lady Runcie-Campbell runs the estate and treats the brothers with contempt as she regards them as being at the very bottom of the social ladder. The game-keeper on the estate, Duror, shows obsessive hatred towards Calum because of his hunch back. Since childhood Duror has loathed anything he finds abnormal. The book is peppered with symbolism, and offers a message of good triumphing over evil through suffering.

The setting of the forest is a microcosm for the world where there are extremes of good and evil particularly at the time in which the novel is set. In chapter 1 of the novel the scene is set on a very idyllic estate,

"For hours the two men had worked in silence there, a hundred feet from the earth, closer, it seemed, to the blue sky round which they had watched the sun slip."

This description reminds the reader of the Garden of Eden and the creation story.

The brothers feel safe and at-home up in the trees. It is like a sanctuary from the outside world. Adam and Eve were hope for mankind just as Neil and Calum represent regeneration and hope for life after the war. Duror, embodying darkness, and a parallel for the serpent in the Garden of Eden represents evil and deceitfulness: he is described as

"The overspreading tree of revulsion."

Revulsion is a very powerful word of disgust.

We can see Calum as a Christ like figure because he is innocent and near to...