The Cone Gatherers By Robin Jenkins Robin Jenkins

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The Cone Gatherers By Robin Jenkins

The Cone Gatherers By Robin Jenkins

Robin Jenkins • Born on 11 September 1912 in the village of Flemington, near

Robin Jenkins • Born on 11 September 1912 in the village of Flemington, near Cambuslang in Lanarkshire. • Became a committed pacifist, Jenkins registered as a conscientious objector (CO); and for his war service was directed to work for the Forestry Commission. • His experience of forestry work in Argyll from 1940 to 1946 is reflected both in his first novel So Gaily Sings the Lark and in the better-known The Cone Gatherers. • There are themes of good versus evil in nearly all Jenkins's books or short stories and the reader can see this developing over the course of Jenkins's literary career. Jenkins's anti-war viewpoint was something he tried to convey through his stories - he saw war as evil caused by men who are themselves evil.

Key Exam Areas for the Cone Gatherers • Characters – information on important character;

Key Exam Areas for the Cone Gatherers • Characters – information on important character; their qualities, their motivation, their personalities, their loves and hates and the effect of these on their fates. • Setting – Place and time. It can involve customs and morals of a particular society or era. It will inevitable influence the characters and their actions. • Themes – Themes will encapsulate the main concerns of the text, for example, the corrosion of jealousy; the power of hysteria; the strength of religions fervour; the struggle between good and evil. Themes are not just one word like 'ambition’; they have to explain what the word does, for example, ‘the destructive nature of ambition’ or ‘ambition rewarded’. • Others = Structure and Language

Themes • Characters – Duror, Callum, Neil, Lady Runcie Campbell, Roderick • Setting –

Themes • Characters – Duror, Callum, Neil, Lady Runcie Campbell, Roderick • Setting – Scotland, The Estate, The Woods, The Town etc • Themes – Good vs. Evil, Social change, Nature

EVIL • In The Cone Gatherers Jenkins examines the 'mystery of evil' as he

EVIL • In The Cone Gatherers Jenkins examines the 'mystery of evil' as he shows the downward spiral of Duror into madness, murder and then his own death. Duror may not have been born evil; but he has been troubled since he was a boy and over the years he has become cynical and feels that whatever he does in life eventually fails. Duror becomes embittered, feeling everyone and everything is against him. • He becomes withdrawn then angry as first his marriage then his career and his aspirations crumble before his eyes. As he descends into madness he blames Calum with his crippled body and angelic face and behaviour. Duror may look normal on the outside but we learn that inside he is rotten. Callum on the other side is considered abnormal on the outside, but inside he can’t be faulted by anyone. He is pure and innocent. Because of this he becomes a target for Duror's hate – he is the polar opposite of Duror in every way. Evil therefore slinks into the story and theme of a battle between good and evil is expanded until the dramatic and horrific last scenes. • Also prevalent in the background is fear. The world is changing too quickly for some; the recent Great War wiped out almost a whole generation of young men which is why there are so many spinsters and childless widows in the country. Now there is another war going on with all the change, death and disruption to formerly peaceful lives.

Social Change • The biggest change is the impending social upheaval. The working classes

Social Change • The biggest change is the impending social upheaval. The working classes are more educated and the rise of the socialist and communist political parties has meant they will not accept the current social order. • The war will change things to such an extent that society itself will be changed. The upper classes, who inherited their wealth, much of which in Scotland was based on theft of land property from the lower classes, are no longer to be respected or obeyed without question. • This, more than losing the war, is what the upper classes and aristocrats fear most. The power of 'old money' and inherited respectability is still strong but waning; there will be less submission by the workers to their landlords and employers thanks to the increasing power of the unions and the legal enactment of a National Health Service and Workers' Rights which undermine or destroy much of the feudal authority of the landed gentry in Scotland elsewhere.

War • Another major aspect of the background to The Cone Gatherers World War

War • Another major aspect of the background to The Cone Gatherers World War 1. • It is ever present in the subtext of the novel. • It is the reason for the cone gatherers arriving in the forest; the forest must die to help the war effort and the seed cones must be collected to enable the rebirth of the wood (and the local area) after the war.

All the main characters are affected by the war in some way. Find quotes

All the main characters are affected by the war in some way. Find quotes to show the war affects the following characters. Callum: “He had been Neil: ‘Haven’t I told you, hundreds of times, there’s a war? Men and women and children too, at this very minute are having their legs blown away and their faces burnt off them” p. 7 told that all over the world in the war now being fought men, women and children were being slaughtered in their thousands; cities were being burnt down. He could not understand it, and so he tried, with success, to forget It. ”

Duror

Duror