The Cone Gatherers

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The Cone Gatherers

In Robin Jenkins “The Cone Gatherers” we follow the malicious character of Duror who goes through an internal battle to try and control his hatred for deformities. Duror’s mental deterioration is caused by the hunchback, Calum’s, presence, Calum is in Duror’s forest as be has been sent with his brother Neil to collect cones, which leads to the inevitable dramatic ending to the novel. The central theme throughout the novel is ‘Good versus Evil’ and how they have to co-exist in order to keep a balance between one another. Jenkins use of interesting and descriptive detail helps to convey the development of Duror’s evil character.

During the opening chapters of the novel we are introduced to the malicious character of Duror. He has an obsessive hatred for Calum unlike everyone else in the estate that cannot help but feel sympathy for the cone gatherers: “Since childhood Duror had been repelled by anything living that had an imperfection or deformity...” This clearly portrays how Duror’s inner hatred of deformities comes from when he a boy and since then he has kept these feelings repressed and hidden. However, the presence of Calum being in the forest means that Duror’s disgust for imperfections grows which then leads to the tragic events throughout the novel. The reader is clearly able to see how evil Duror can be which helps the reader understand the central theme of the novel: the interdependence of good and evil.

The people who are around Duror are able to perceive that he is not quite right but are not yet fully aware of his evil state of mind. While Duror is walking home from the forest he is met by Dr Matheson who offers him a lift and tries to make small talk with Duror: “... were twisting and coiling there like the snakes of damnation ... there could not be victory.” The religious imagery used here is very effective as it gives connotations of the evil and twisted thoughts lurking around in Duror’s mind,...
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