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If God Meant to InterfereAmerican Literature and the Rise of the Christian Right$
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Christopher Douglas

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702112

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702112.001.0001

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Christian Multiculturalism and Unlearned History in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead

Christian Multiculturalism and Unlearned History in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead

(p.84) Chapter 3 Christian Multiculturalism and Unlearned History in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead
If God Meant to Interfere

Christopher Douglas

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Marilynne Robinson's Gilead— a long letter by the elderly Congregationalist minister John Ames to his young son, in anticipation of Ames' upcoming death and the fact that his son will grow up fatherless. The dramatic struggle between them is centered on the appropriate form of Christian opposition to slavery, given that Ames's grandfather, a radical preacher and ally of John Brown, fought with the Kansas Free Soilers and became an abolitionist guerilla along the Missouri border before becoming a soldier and losing an eye in the Civil War. The novel must be understood in terms of the coextensive multiculturalism and conservative Christian resurgence characterizing this period.

Keywords:   Marilynne Robinson, Gilead, conservative Christian resurgence, Christian resurgence, multiculturalism, John Ames, slavery, Kansas Free Soilers, John Brown

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