Sunset song is a novel written in 1932 by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. It’s the first part of a trilogy called the Scots Quain. Today it is seen as being one of the best classical Scottish novels ever written. The book focuses on Chris’s journey into adulthood. The story starts off with Chris Guthrie. She’s a nineteen year old girl who is quite nai?? ve about life. She is from a farming family. However unlike most daughters of farmers in those days, she also goes to school and is a grade A student. When she is at school is taught how to speak a more formal dialect than the Scots slang she is used to speaking when she is at home.
Chris feels torn between these two lives. Firstly she feels a close connection to the farm and the land but she also has a passion for her studies. There is a line in the novel which talks about there being ‘two Chris’s, ‘So that was Chris and her reading and her schooling, two Chris’s that fought for her heart and tormented her. ‘ The two Chris’s mentioned are firstly the Chris that is brought up on the farm and secondly the more intellectual Chris who likes to go to school. Chris finds it hard to make the balance between the two.
This situation is recognisable to any teenager nowadays who tries to find the balance between their social life and their studies. Chris goes through a lot of emotional hardship in her life. the main incident being the death of her mother who committed suicide and also took the life of her two newborn twins with her. This was a huge blow to Chris as she is left with the burden of her Father who tries to abuse Chris and has a very vile temperament especially towards Chris’s schooling. After the death of his life he says to Chris; ‘You’ll be leaving the college now, I’ll warrant education’s dirt and your better clear of it.
You’ll find time for dreaming and dirt when you’re keeping the house at Blawearie. ‘ Chris is instantly thrown into the mother role in the house. She has to give up her studies and many of her childlike qualities and take on the responsibility of caring for her family and the farm. The only support she is given to her Father’s behaviour towards her is from her brother Will. When Chris is upset by her father Will comforts her by saying; ‘Don’t let them worry you, Chris don’t let father make a damn slave of you, as he’d like to do. We’ve our own lives to lead.
‘ Later on in the book however Will leaves Chris and Blawearie to go and get married in Aberdeen. As Chris is growing up she naturally starts to have an interest in boys and relationships. It is hard for her however as her mother is dead as she never really has anybody to talk to about it. Sex is something that she starts to think about but is still unsure about. When she is lying in bed with her brother she wonders to herself; ‘Was it likely a brother and sister would do anything if they slept together? And besides, she didn’t know how.
‘ This shows Chris’s naivety, which I think comes a lot with the general opinions of sex in the 1930s were it was still a taboo subject that most people would never really discuss until they actually found out for themselves on their wedding night. A major step for Chris is when she has her first kiss, which is in fact with a complete stranger and happens on the night that there is a fire in the village of Peesie’s Knapp. She accidently bumps into a stranger when walking up from the village and before she knows it, he has her in his arms and is kissing her.