'Getting By': enduring selves in the work of three contemporary Scottish writers: Ron Butlin, Janice Galloway and James Robertson

Clark, Nia Alexandra (2017) 'Getting By': enduring selves in the work of three contemporary Scottish writers: Ron Butlin, Janice Galloway and James Robertson. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis considers the persistence of the self in the work of three contemporary Scottish writers. It moves beyond current criticism’s emphasis on political and national concerns and themes of self-pity in Scottish literature from the 1980s onwards. Instead, it analyses how characters’ relationships with themselves and other selves are central to their happiness and worth, as well as forming their sense of belonging within both the domestic home and the wider community, regardless of their nation or politics. The primary texts are: Ron Butlin’s The Sound of My Voice (1987), Janice Galloway’s This Is Not About Me (2008) and James Robertson’s And the Land Lay Still (2010). ‘The Potential of Human Relationships’ investigates the depiction of human relationships in these three texts and the ways in which many of the characters struggle to interact meaningfully with others. This first chapter shows how these texts reveal that a relationship with one’s self is an essential step towards forming bonds with others. ‘Belonging and Unbelonging’ discusses themes of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ in the writing of Butlin, Galloway and Robertson and considers the self in its most immediate social context, both in terms of the domestic and the wider community. By examining ‘home’ and what it means to ‘belong’, this chapter also builds on chapter one in its consideration of the ways in which these characters’ selves shift and alter between their private selves and the selves they choose to portray to the outside world. ‘Coming Home’ considers the evolution of the self in these texts in relation to the themes of self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others, in order to discuss the persistence of the self in the face of fragmentation. This chapter argues that acceptance and forgiveness of former or even present selves is necessary in order to allow for the evolution of the self as key to its survival as well as its meaningfulness to others. This concluding chapter reveals the way in which the protagonists in the above-mentioned texts continue to endure everyday life in order to lead a worthwhile existence. Therefore, this dissertation will contribute new readings of these well-known contemporary Scottish texts by analysing characters’ relationships with themselves and other selves to reveal how they are central to their happiness and worth, as well as forming their sense of belonging.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Home, belonging, self, selves, voice, domesticity, community, relationships, fragmentation, survival, Janice Galloway, Ron Butlin, James Robertson, contemporary Scottish literature.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Brown, Dr. Rhona and Van Heijnsbergen, Dr. Theo
Date of Award: 2017
Embargo Date: 10 May 2020
Depositing User: Miss Nia Alexandra Clark
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8170
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 May 2017 09:43
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2017 14:45
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8170

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