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Sir Gibbie (Sir Gibbie, #1)
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Dec Group Read: Sir Gibbie > Chapters 27-36

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Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
They say that no good deed goes unpunished. In this section, Gibbie is risking his life to save others and he is still being seen as an idiot and a dummy. They see what Gibbie has done as being just luck. If Gibbie could speak to defend himself, do you think it would make any difference at this point?

I personally think that those who could be convinced of Gibbie's intelligence and kindness would have been already. I think there is a lot of people who feel threatened by those who they perceive as being below them suddenly showing themselves to be equal to them. When people see those with disabilities as being equals, there is no threat and more acceptance.


message 2: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
I think what you say is true. But I also think people don't think! "Give a dog a bad name" may also apply here: Gibbie's been labelled a dummy, so that label sticks, come what may. People hear he's done something quite amazing, but they don't think about it. He's still the dummy. They'd have to be bombarded with many similar examples before they'd finally start to question the 'dummy' label.


Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
Steve wrote: "I think what you say is true. But I also think people don't think! "Give a dog a bad name" may also apply here: Gibbie's been labelled a dummy, so that label sticks, come what may. People hear he's..."

I suppose it is human nature to label something and then not think about it. It's kind of like trying to shake a poor first impression of someone. I once really disliked a girl who eventually became a close friend of mine. It was hard to shake that first negative assessment of her.


message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Lara wrote: "…It was hard to shake that first negative assessment of her..."

That's a good example of what I had in mind.


David Jack (smeagolthemagnificent) | 27 comments Gibbie's dumbness seems to exacerbate the problem of people's misjudgement, but it's not the sole reason for it. Janet is similarly-if not to the same extent-seen as somewhat deficient in common sense, simply because she puts her religion into practice. It's quite a common thing in MacDonald's novels for those with a living, active faith to be dismissed, ridiculed, or at best humoured by others who lag well behind them in spiritual maturity. The old laird and Mr Simon in Castle Warlock, or the cobbler Andrew Comin in Gibbie's sequel, Donal Grant are another couple of examples.


message 6: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
David wrote: "Gibbie's dumbness seems to exacerbate the problem of people's misjudgement, but it's not the sole reason for it. Janet is similarly-if not to the same extent-seen as somewhat deficient in common sense..."

Interesting—thanks for that comment. Macdonald certainly puts the spotlight on Victorian 'rectitude' and 'propriety', and brings out very clearly how they show "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof".

Incidentally, I didn't know there was a sequel to Sir Gibbie—which helps to explain why Donal just disappears towards the end of the book! Maybe I'll read it in the new year.


David Jack (smeagolthemagnificent) | 27 comments Donal Grant is a magnificent novel-not as well known as Sir Gibbie, but just as good, only different (and longer!) I've begun working on my Scots/English translation of DG which should be out towards the end of 2019, as a follow up to my recent Gibbie translation, for those who need help with the Doric dialect.


Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
David wrote: "It's quite a common thing in MacDonald's novels for those with a living, active faith to be dismissed, ridiculed, or at best humoured by others who lag well behind them in spiritual maturity."

I see this is some of George MacDonald's fairy tales too even when the Christian faith isn't explicit. Those who can see the truth are often made to feel foolish. I hadn't noticed that before.


David Jack (smeagolthemagnificent) | 27 comments You're right Lara, it's present even in the fairy tales, and I noticed that Diamond in At the Back of the North Wind is condescendingly called "God's baby" by those who haven't attained to his level of faith, while Cosmo in Castle Warlock is dubbed "God's chicken" for the same reason. If I remember aright, Jean Mavor in Sir Gibbie is said to think of Janet as a kind of heaven-favoured idiot! :)


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