Study Guide

Gilead Letter 1, Section 19

By Marilynne Robinson

Letter 1, Section 19

  • Ames remembers he meant to be writing to his son, not recording his deepest struggles for himself.
  • Reflecting on Lila's conversation with Jack, Ames concludes that she has found the settled life she wanted.
  • Ames had a dream once that he and old Boughton were down in the river when his grandfather came out of the woods and tossed water on them from his hat. They stood there, shining like the apostles.
  • Ames turns next to the moment he met Lila.
  • The story: it's a rainy Pentecost. Ames feels transformed.
  • After seeing Lila once—and then on subsequent Sundays— he realizes he feels depressed when she's absent.
  • When Lila returns the next Sunday, Ames s miserable with relief. He tells her she was missed. She blushes.

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