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Start your review of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner Write a review Shelves: classics , mystery-crime-and-thrillers , darkness-horror-gothic , 5-star-reads , romantic-movement I have no idea what this book is about. Nobody does. The narrative is so dense that it is impossible to make a solid interpretation of the events, but I shall try.

I shall try to tell you why this book is so utterly excellent. Perhaps the most obvious interpretation to start with is the religious angle. Robert, our sinner, has been claimed by Satan. The prince of destruction dominates his mind and controls his actions. The novel can be read as a didactical message about the dangers of a sinful I have no idea what this book is about. The novel can be read as a didactical message about the dangers of a sinful mind.

History has already been written: his soul has already been saved. Now this is a terribly dangerous mind-set. It means that Robert has absolutely no one to answer to on this earth. It can be his playground. Mortal consequences are trivial when compared to the immortal salvation his soul will receive. So why not have some fun? God has already saved you since the start of time.

Again, perhaps Hogg is demonstrating the dangers of such a situation. We all need someone, or some authority, to answer to and to guide us; otherwise, we can create our own sense of twisted rules and live in the darkness. Then there are the elements of the double to consider. His predestination allows him to let loose. His dark impulses take over in the form of his double mind-set.

Sure, there is plenty to suggest that he has a physical presence within the novel, but there is also the fact that this text was written by an unreliable narrator. Robert is the author of his confessions, so there is a degree of bias in everything he says. He often represents things in the way that Gill-Martin, Satan or the dark element of split consciousness, tells him to. How far can we give his narrative any credence? Satan, the double, the mysterious Gill, can also been seen as a physical representation of sin and temptation.

This is the form of McGill his nemesis at school. He tempts Robert into self-improvement, and coerces him into adapting any means at his disposal to remain top of the class. The young Robert lies, cheats and steals to watch his rival fall. This is the beginning of his enthrallment. Later when this figure appears, he becomes an object of lust: As I thus wended my way, I beheld a young man of a mysterious appearance coming towards me.

I tried to shun him, being bent on my own contemplations; but he cast himself in my way, so that I could not well avoid him; and, more than that, I felt a sort of invisible power that drew me towards him, something like the force of enchantment, which I could not resist. He is stunned by this man, by this otherworldly creature. The homoerotic language suggests more than a simple admiration. He has no time for them because, ironically, according to him, they turn men into sinners.

He prefers this princely being. He becomes enamoured by this being, which completely transfixes him. He is frequently referred to as an object of fascination and his words are enthralling and persuasive to Robert. He begins take on the traits of this character, that much so that his mother remarks that his countenance has changed after their meetings: he has been dominated.

As we approached each other, our eyes met and I can never describe the strange sensations that thrilled through my whole frame at that impressive moment; a moment to me fraught with the most tremendous consequences; the beginning of a series of adventures which has puzzled myself, and will puzzle the world when I am no more in it.

The homoerotic language used to describe Gil-Martin is suggestive of an idealised man. This man eventually comes to absorb his personality, and removes any sense of morale awareness Robert had. This can be read as a man who is haunted by homosexual lust, or the idea of betterment, as his double takes on the form of his secret desire. I myself have suffered grievously in that way.

Every interpretation has its own set of problems and leads to another interpretation. But how much of this can we trust? What happened in the end? Or is it something more? A good book stays with you; it becomes part of you as you perpetually ponder its mysteries whilst it lingers on your mind.

This book will always haunt me because I will never have a conclusive answer as to what it is actually about. Hogg has created a story that is bizarre, intriguing and rather mystifying. As a result, it is completely excellent.

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Rabina despises her new husband because he falls short of her extreme religious beliefs, his love of dancing and penchant for drinking alcohol. She initially flees him but her father forces her back, and they live separately in the one house. Rabina gives birth to two sons. George, raised by the Laird, becomes a popular young man who enjoys sport and the company of his friends. These chosen few will have a heavenly reward regardless of how their lives are lived. The two brothers meet, as young men, in Edinburgh where Robert starts following George through the town, mocking and provoking him and disrupting his life.


Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner Summary

The Laird of Dalcastle married Rabina, a woman whose piety tended toward zealotry and fanaticism. Their strained marriage did result in two sons, but the laird would only recognize the firstborn, George. His mother and the Reverend Robert Wringhim , a strict and passionate spiritual adviser to Rabina, raised the second son, Robert. The dark and bitter Robert grew up nursing an intense hatred of his father and brother, and considered them enemies of himself and God.


James Hogg


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