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The Land Endures: Bringing Sunset Song to Life

The Reverend Stuart Gibbon

Gibbon panel image

Arbuthnott Kirk, Lewis Grassic Gibbon's local church. Possibly the inspiration for the character of Reverend Gibbon.
Copyright Russ Hamer, licensed under Creative Commons

Gibbon case Gibbon panel

When Stuart Gibbon arrives in Kinraddie to compete for a minister's post as 'hardly more than a student', Chris describes him 'with black hair on him and a fine red face and shoulers strong and well-bulked, for he was a pretty man.' An outsider to the community of Kinraddie, he brings a touch of the genteel to a rural area. He is initially popular with community members due to his fire and brimstone speeches and powerful personality. Beginning his tenure with a clean and godly image, this image ifquickly ruined as his true nature is revealed.

As the minister's tenure continues, he becomes know for his adulterous ways and love of whisky. He is able to use his good looks and bull-like personality to woo different women around town. Living in the Manse, the minister is able to live a life separate from the rest of the community. His faults help undermine his authority but not enough to shake his position of power in the community. Most in Kinraddie accept his dalliances with little more than a smile and shrug. He is also responsible for passionate sermons in support of the war effort that encourage the community to enlist and criticise those who do not. This fervour does not end well for some in Kinraddie.

The portrayal of Reverend Gibbon is one of hypocrisy. Living as a man apart from hi flock under the pretence of a moral life, he is constantly caught in questionable situations. Lewis Grassic Gibbon did not support organised religion and Reverend Gibbon serves as a reminder that even those who describe themselves as holy are merely men. In this case, the minister condemns adultery, hard drinking, and abstaining from the war. However, he is caught many times with servant and farm girls, often makes a fool of himself when intoxicated, and never serves in the war. Somehow, through all his missteps, the Reverend Gibbon leaves our story with hid good name intact and even moves on the greater things after leaving Kinraddie. He stands as proof that one cannot be judged by one's words alone.


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