This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

“Light within light”: The Possibilities of Grace in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Home




Campbell, Steele

Type of Degree





This thesis examines two contemporary works of fiction, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead (2004) and Home (2008), exploring how the characters of each novel contend with conceptions of grace, forgiveness, and agency, all hinging around the character of Jack Boughton. This is of particular interest to me because it is not the movement of Jack Boughton that must be contended or examined, but rather the grace others must display to forgive, tolerate and ultimately accept him as part of their own flock. By using metaphor as an alternative epistemology in the first part and the theories of consciousness propagated by the German Idealist thinkers G.W.F. Hegel and Ludwig Feuerbach in the second, this thesis displays how characters in each novel surmount prejudice and preconception and allow Jack Boughton to move from caricature to a full and robust humanity.