, as the title suggests, is deeply concerned withmusic. Kinraddie
represents a Golden Age of Scottish identity and culture;
it is a“primitive”
and unified community that sings mostly traditional songs, despite the factthat the novel is set in the early twentieth century. It is the sacralised eighteenth centurynational ballad by Jean Elliot, “Flowers of the Forest”, that comes to be associated withChris Guthrie. Feminist critics have picked up on the fragmentation employed by Gibbonto explore the individual identity of his heroine, and have posited Chris as one of Scotland’s earliest feminist subjects;
Burton has remarked that ‘one feature of the textthat stands out […] is the recurrent representation of Chris’s awareness of her own splitsubjectivity and contradictory social and psychological positions.’
It will be argued thatChris initiates experiences with “Flowers of the Forest” on four occasions, and thesemoments represent different performances of her identity, which is comprised of threeversions of herself.In “Ploughing”, as the reader is introduced to Chris Guthrie, they are immediatelymade aware of the ‘two Chrisses […] that fought for her heart and tormented her’.
Thefirst is the Scottish Chris, who finds no pleasure in study and longs for the sensoryexperiences of Blawearie.
She identifies strongly with the land, her community and their
T. Crawford, “Introduction” in L. Grassic Gibbon,
(Edinburgh: Canongate Classics, 2004), p.xi.
. This relates to Grassic Gibbon’s belief in diffusionist philosophy; he believed that ‘civilisation is adecline from some Golden Age.’
Isobel Murray argues that Willa Muir pioneered the technique with the characters Elizabeth Shand andElise Mutze in
from 1931 – Murray, Isobel, “Gibbon’s Chris: A Celebration with SomeReservations”,
The Association for Scottish Literary Studies
(2003),http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/ScotLit/ASLS/Gibbon's_Chris.html Accessed on 27/03/09.
D. Burton, “A Feminist Reading of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s
A Scots Quair
The British Working-Class Novel in the Twentieth Century
, ed. Jeremy Hawthorn (London: Arnold, 1984), p. 36.
L. Grassic Gibbon,
, p. 32. This splitting is obviously related to Chris’s colonial education, thelanguages of work and play being separated, as Ngugi wa Thiong’o discussed in
Decolonising the Mind
,serving to create separate selves.
For example, the ‘champ of the horses and the smell of the dung’ –
., p. 44.