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A Gathering Light
Transcript of A Gathering Light
Tommy collects Mattie from the Glenmore because the Gokeys have been sick for two days. With Royal’s assistance, Mattie tends to her family. While Mattie’s father is delirious, he reveals the reason why Lawton left. He believed that Pa killed Mamma with too much hard work. Daisy (cow) is really poorly and has to be put out of her misery, which causes Mattie to break down in tears.
Chapters 35 - 38
Chapter 35 - Aby
Chapter 36 - Fugacious
Chapter 37 - Glenmore Hotel
Chapter 38 - Threnody
Aby - To take the fear from one’s mind, to endure, to atone
“It was a mile through the woods from Tommy’s house to the Big Moose Road, and five more up to Glenmore.” P282
Tells the reader something is badly wrong for Tommy to have run so far.
“I dreaded killing one of our hens, but there was no way round it.” P288
Mattie would do anything for her family
“Tommy, who hit you…” p289
Tommy has been hit by Royal- shows just how much Royal hates the Hubbards.
“He ran away, Mattie. Ran away because I killed her.” “Lawton does. Said it was my fault. That I killed her with hard work. Said I should have moved us all to Inlet and worked in the sawmill. Said I killed your mother and I wasn’t going to kill him.” P292
Reveals to the reader why Lawton ran away
“Cow goes with a bull. Cow don’t go with a sheep. Don’t go with a goat. Goats don’t read, Mattie, they don’t read books…” p293
Shows that reading isn’t highly thought of. Mattie’s father is trying to tell her that she should find a good husband.
Key Events and Themes
• Family is sick.
• It is revealed to the reader why Lawton left.
The idea of Lawton leaving because he believed that their father had killed their mother is central. It gives reason for Mattie’s father being emotionally disturbed throughout the book. Lawton leaving is important, because it sets an example and paves the road for Mattie to do the same for college.
Mattie discovering this helps her to learn why her father is so upset and never truly sees his daughters, and she can appreciate it.
The main idea in this chapter is of family relationships. Mattie develops a better understanding of her family.
Mattie goes and visits Mrs Loomis to thank her for her assistance while the Gokey family was sick. At the end of the chapter, Royal proposes to Mattie, and she accepts the engagement ring.
Fugacious: passing quickly away; transitory; fleeting
“She doctored us and cooked for us and pulled us all through it... I don't know what we would have done without them.” p.g. 296
Mattie couldn't have looked after her family without the help of a substitute mother.
“'You learning a lot up there? Cooking and ironing and such? ... Eileen Hennessey makes a nice pie-crust... She's a methody cook, as I recall. Writes everything down. You should see if she'll give you some of her recipes.” p.g. 297
Mrs Loomis wants to know if Mattie is learning how to be a good wife for Royal.
“I opened it and saw a dull gold ring. It was set with three stones - a chipped opal flanked by two tiny garnets. It must've been pretty once. ... 'Royal, do you... do you love me?' ... 'Aw, Matt. I bought you a ring, didn't I?'” p.g. 298
The description of the ring symbolises Royal's non-existent love for Mattie. Furthermore, the only answer Royal gives to Mattie's question is that he bought her a ring - not that he loves her
“But he couldn't have Daisy, so he finally took what was offered. Like we all did. ... 'Will you Mattie?' I slipped the ring on my finger. It fit. 'I will Royal.'” p.g. 299
Mattie doesn't think that she can have her dream of going to Barnard. So she accepts Royal's offer. Mattie's finger fits the ring - symbolising that she is fitting in with society's conventions
Key Events and Themes
Mattie is talking to Mrs Loomis in her kitchen
Royal proposes to Mattie and she accepts
This chapter is important in the novel, as it represents the promise Mattie makes to Royal to marry. This is a major distraction for Mattie's dream to go to Barnard. However, she feels from the events in the previous chapters that she has an obligation to marry Royal, after his mother's help in looking after her family.
This is an important chapter when examining the relationship between Royal and his mother. When questioning Mattie, Royal's mother is insistent that Mattie learns how to take care of Royal.
The main idea in this chapter is about promises. Mattie promises to marry Royal
Mattie reads one of Grace Brown's letters, where she talks about the food she made with her Mother. This makes Mattie think about her mother, and all the delicious treats she used to make for her family. Mattie remembers when her mother made her her own special treat, just after she started her periods. They discussed a women's virtue, and how you know when a man loves you.
“She ... told me that I was a grown women now ... and that a women's virtue was the greatest treasure she possessed and that I must never, ever give mine to any man but the one I married.” pg 301
Exemplifies the expectations for women. Mamma is teaching Mattie about the "traditional" path for women - they are expected to get married and have children
“I wonder how Grace convinced herself that Chester loved her. And if she kept pretending it right to the end. Men rarely come right out and tell you. Minnie says you have to look for signs from them.” pg 302
Mattie is questioning how Grace could have loved Chester, which prompts her to question her relationship with Royal.
“[Royal] does other things too. I... spend a long time silently repeating them to myself... like a litany, but it's no use. Mamma said I would know. And I do. I guess I have all along. Poor, sad, stupid Grace... Poor, sad, stupid Matt.” pg 303
For the first time, Mattie acknowledges that Royal does not truly love her. She recognises that Grace's fate was sealed by her ignorance in understanding that Chester did not love her, and the same consequences could occur for her.
Key Events and Themes
Mattie reflects on her mother's presence and guidance
Mattie acknowledges that Royal doesn't actually love her
Mattie's mother represents a "guiding hand" throughout the book, especially in this chapter. Mattie remembers asking her mother how she would know if a man loved her, which makes her realise that Royal doesn't truly love her. This is interesting, as Mattie's mother is an important role model for Mattie's dream of marrying Royal.
The main idea in this chapter is the relationship between Mattie and her Mother
A package arrives for Mattie with three books and a note from Miss Wilcox, telling Mattie that she is leaving. Mattie and Weaver take the cab to Miss Wilcox's house, where Mattie tells Miss Wilcox about her engagement to Royal. On the way back to the Glenmore Hotel, Mattie also tells Weaver.
Threnody - A song of lamentation or a funeral dirge
"She led me into the library... The books were gone. Every last one of them. The desk was bare. The fine paper and pencils were all packed away" - pg. 307
"You are many things, Mathilda Gokey, but selfish isn't one of them." - Miss Wilcox pg. 309
"She [Miss Wilcox] looked small to me. Small and fragile and defenseless. She had not looked that way when I'd arrived" p.g. 311
Symbolises how both Mattie's and Miss Wilcox's dreams have ended - both controlled by the men in their lives
"But he's nowhere near good enough for you! Does he write? Can he write a story like you can? Does he read? Does he even know how? ... "You ever show him your composition book? He ever read your stories? Just tell me that." p.g. 312
Weaver puts what Mattie knows into words - just like he did when his character was introduced. Mattie is telling herself a lie.
"But you can't put an evener on two people's hearts or their souls. I wished I was as strong as Weaver was. I wished I was as fearless. But I was not" p.g. 313
Mattie recognises that she does not think she possess the courage to take control of her dreams.
Key Events and Themes
Mattie finds out that Miss Wilcox is leaving
Mattie tells Miss Wilcox and Weaver about her engagement to Royal
This chapter stresses the theme of Mattie's choices and the expectations for women. Mattie fully recognises the extent of her choice to marry Royal when she tells Miss Wilcox and Weaver this. She acknowledges that she is not strong enough to go against the expectations for women. Despite Miss Wilcox's defiance of the expectations for women, she finally has to submit to women's 'fate', when her husband takes control of her life. This also represents Mattie losing the only adult who supported HER dream.
The main idea in this chapter is of the expectations for women. Both Mattie and Miss Wilcox have to succumb to society's beliefs.