Guilt and repentance in 'McDowell'

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
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Beate Levai
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Re: Guilt and repentance in 'McDowell'

Post by Beate Levai » 22 Nov 2018, 09:42

Thokchom Alice wrote:
23 Oct 2018, 20:01
Did Hiram actually feel the pain of guilt? Did he repent?
It is a very good question. While I was reading this book an allusion to classical Greek tragedies came to my mind. A tragedy happens and the character involved takes to the open road. By the end of his journey, he undergoes a deep transformation and becomes a wise, kind and compassionate person. In this sort of transformation, i.e. metanoia, the person involved feels guilt and repentance that he overly admits and often refers to. I do not think 20th- 21st-century modern people are able to feel such profound guilt and repentance, however, some sort of guilt and repentance must be present in the process of maturing to become a better person.
Indeed, the novel does not show us whether McDowell feels pain and repentance or not. Probably there are certain events he regrets to have happened and probably he feels repentance, even guilt, over such events. Otherwise, he would have been an inhumane monster who is unable to change for the better. Fortunately, our McDowell has grown to a better man by the end of the story.

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Post by Theresam » 06 Dec 2018, 17:33

I don’t think he felt guilt. I think he had remorse only after he was caught but even then I don’t think he felt guilty about anything he had done. He seemed to rationalize and explain all of his decisions to himself and his family and even in his memoir

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Ekta Kumari
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Post by Ekta Kumari » 08 Dec 2018, 09:30

I think he did not exactly felt repentence; he always felt he was wronged and he deserved better, the thing he felt was loneliness and being left alone by everyone; he must have done something to deserve that, but unfortunately he was not realising it.
They say don't take divorce; what will people say?
But is it better to feel broken every moment of the day?
Bring a child everything will be fine,
But to bring a new life where misery already thrives,
You are bound,
To be free is your ultimate sound.

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Post by Shalu1707 » 10 Dec 2018, 12:35

I think till the very end, although he changed and everything but he never felt guilt, because he never admitted himself to be wrong, according to him he was always right and considerate and thoughtful and only people around him were evil. To feel guilt there has to be some kind of acceptance in the wrongdoing but he never accepted it.

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Post by Jessacardinal » 07 Jan 2019, 18:24

I believe Hiram began feeling guilt and pain in part two of this book. However, I also believe he was in the beginning stages of the process and was never able to work through it all before the end.
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