Study Guide

Gilead Letter 1, Section 11

By Marilynne Robinson

Letter 1, Section 11

  • Ames hasn't written for a day or two due to some difficult nights.
  • The congregation gets Ames a television so that he can watch baseball.
  • Ames's wife hasn't slept well, either.
  • Ames sleeps through most of a baseball game, and his wife sleeps through a movie.
  • Word gets out. People from the congregation bring over food.
  • The son plays a game, pretending not to know what meal to pick while eating from various dishes.
  • While Ames is at church, his wife and Jack move the books from his study downstairs.
  • Ames imagines Jack reading the journal and then hiding it from his dad.
  • At church, Ames gives a sermon on Hagar and Ishmael. He departs from the text and wonders if that was wise.
  • Jack attends and hears a sermon about parents giving up children to the world.
  • Ames raises the question of why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. He recalls that there are only two instances in Scripture when a father is apparently unkind to his child.
  • Children, Ames believes, are in the care of God.
  • Jack Boughton is white and grinning. He seems to take the sermon as if it were directed specifically at him. His wife sits next to him but doesn't look at him.

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