We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Importance Of Guilt In Cal Essay Sample

essay
  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 883
  • Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
  • Category: novel

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Introduction of TOPIC

Cal is an insightful story set it Northern Ireland in Ulster in the mid 1970’s, where Mac Laverty opens the novel with the protagonist Cal, a Catholic teenager living during the sectarian Troubles where there was intense socio-political and religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants, involving the rule of British colonialism/occupation of Ireland.

The novel tells of a story where Cal is caught up in his country’s violent conflict and implicated on the edge of crime and violence, to the extent that he has acquired an oppressive secret and unbearable guilt. Guilt is a key element and central theme that Bernard Mac Laverty explores throughout the novel. In this essay, I will be explaining the significance of guilt and the overall impact it has on both the characters in the novel, as well as the effect it has on the readers where ultimately, strong emotions are evoked and a fuller understanding of the situation in Ireland is developed.

The main ideology of guilt in Cal originates from the legacy of Catholicism where the religion emphasises on confession and a desire of atonement, redemption and cleansing. Mac Laverty juxtaposes guilt with suffering by the concept of expiation through sacrificing personal pleasures and inflicting a punishment upon oneself all intertwined.

Cal is portrayed as a very religious character and his Catholicism is ingrained and well established. He goes to church and mass/confession often in the novel, where he tries to overcome the guilt of the crime committed, yet it seems hopeless. Mac Laverty gives the readers an insight by reflecting Cal’s thoughts of regret and guilt. Mac Laverty writes, ‘the only prayer he (Cal) could say with any sincerity was for his mother…the rest of his prayers consisted of telling himself how vile he was’. Cal is disgusted with himself for being part of something so terrible, and is continuously tortured with the memory of driving the getaway car after Crilly murders an influe

ntial Protestant. Another guilt feature involved in the novel is

Sorry, but full essay samples are available only for registered users

Choose a Membership Plan
when Skeffington, ironically a school teacher and a member of the IRA – a terrorist group at the time – uses his ability to manipulate Cal and make him feel guilty in a very subtle, articulate and persuasive manner. Skeffington is convinced by his principles of ‘fighting this war’ and consistently tells Cal ‘it is our responsibility. We have to make sacrifices. You cant just turn away…’ Even though Cal knows what the IRA is completely wrong and feels violence is not justified, Skeffington makes Cal feel guilty. He is made to feel that he owes it to his people to help serve and protect and help contribute to save his people by winning this war. Skeffington’s cold intellect and calculated blackmail escalates Cal’s personal guilt with this additional responsibility on behalf of his society. Cal in a way feels guilty for not being active enough like Skeffington and Crilly in helping to defend the Catholic people.

Furthermore, guilt is also represented when Cal is with Marcella. From the start of the relationship, it is very satirical and shocking that Cal becomes romantically involved with the wife of the Reserve Policeman he actually helped to kill. As the relationship is based on dishonesty, Cal feels guilty of being with her and is unable to confess to her his sin, which would inevitably destroy their relationship. The more time Cal spends with Marcella, yet his inability to confess continues building up his guilt gradually and Mac Laverty writes ‘the happier Cal felt, the sadder he became…he wanted to confess to her, weep and be forgiven’. Many times, he comes close to telling her but cannot bring himself to do it.

Cal also feels bad when he is first invited into the Morton farm and he hears Mr Morton’s ‘terrible bout of coughing- like death throes- and it went hacking on and on and on, taking no pause for breath’. The guilt that Cal feels at the precise moment is full of dread to the extent that he tries to block of his sense of hearing by staring intensely at a wall.

Overall, the novel has a degree of realism, which permits Mac Laverty to develop the characters and their emotions to the full, hence allowing greater involvement on the readers’ part. Cal’s guilt plays a huge part in his actions and is therefore integral to our understanding of life in Ireland during the Troubles. Mac Laverty encapsulates the essence of guilt which has an emphasis on the reader to release emotions of sympathy/empathy and conclude to a deeper understanding of the complex situation.

The novel is emotionally perceptive with sacrifice and guilt as recurrent areas of interest as Cal is unable to come to terms fully with what he has done. His desire for punishment is a register of his Catholic heritage/culture and a measure of the sin he has committed; but the narrative also makes it transparent that Cal is in fact just another victim of his environment and society.

We can write a custom essay on

Importance Of Guilt In Cal Essay Sample ...
According to Your Specific Requirements.

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Pale Horse Pale Rider

Reading the three different novels "Old Mortality", "Noon Wine" and "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" you will learn that despite the different plots in the novels there is a common thread. The protagonists in all three novels has been challenged or locked in some way by the society but finally breaks free and live a better life the way they want to. The strong individual beats the society and its challenges. Plot The first novel "Old Mortality" is divided in three parts. In the first part we hear about two girls Maria and Miranda learning about their dead aunt Amy through letters, poems and stories told by their grandmother. Amy was raised to be a proper woman in a society where women had few rights. In the second part Maria and Miranda are staying at a convent, where they are raised to become real ladies. Their knowledge and information is filtered, so they...

A Joke That Is Not So Funny

"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day" (Russell). From this quote from Anton Chekhov, one can tell he viewed life in a very different way. Chekhov enjoyed writing stories about reality. He often wrote about tragic, true stories that happened in his own life. Chekhov liked to write stories that were very sad and depressing but he just wanted to write about how he viewed life. The story, "A Joke," can be a true story in many lives, possibly even Anton Chekhov's life (kirjasto). The story "A Joke" is about a girl named Nadyzhda Petrovna and a guy whose name is not mentioned. The story begins when the two go sledding down...

Novels Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas also known as Alexandre Dumas, Pere is a french author best known for his talents, prolific plays, and historical adventure novels. He was born on july 24, 1802 in villers-cotterers, France. Duams, got his last name from his grandmother, who was a former haitian slave. He was french’s most popular authors in the 19th century. His novels the three musketeers and the court of monte cristo was indisputable. They were both written in the year 1844, and translated into English two years later. The author sets the novel at the time france was going through a lot of political plots. According to the penquin Readers sheet: “Louis XIII had been on the throne for many years, but during his minority, from 1610 to 1617, his mother Marie de Médicis had served as regent and became extremely powerful. She allied France with Hapsburg Spain and arranged the marriage in 1615 of...

Popular Essays

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?