Study Guide

Gilead Letter 1, Section 1

By Marilynne Robinson

Letter 1, Section 1

  • A father, nearing the end of his life, writes to his young son.
  • The father recounts the day's events.
  • There is a debate about whether the father is really that old.
  • The father intends for his son to read the letter when he becomes an adult.
  • The father wonders whether he'll miss his son once he's dead. His heart is failing him. He has angina pectoris.
  • The father is a preacher. He's keeping his condition secret while he can.
  • The father's grandfathers were preachers as well.
  • The father says his religious vocation has helped him to concentrate.
  • The son is almost late for school because he didn't do his homework the day before.
  • The boy shares his mother's seriousness and way of looking at people.

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