Chaos and Dissolution?: Deconstruction and Scotland in the Later Fiction of Robin Jenkins
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This paper will examine Robin Jenkins’s representation of Scotland and the wider world in his most recent fiction. It will demonstrate how Jenkins deconstructs the idea of a society with a fixed set of values and moral codes, for example through the troubled sense of identity and the obvious breakdown of moral and human values portrayed in his novel Just Duffy. In a characteristic manner of ambivalence and irony, Jenkins juxtaposes the postmodern with the traditional, the subversive with the reactionary, and the disturbing with the moving, so that we are presented with a world where there are no set answers to any of our questions, independent of whether they are inward —or outward— looking. Throughout his later fiction, Jenkins criticises the increasingly immoral, hypocritical, and disordered vision of modern society, which ultimately emerges as a deeply disturbing reminder to his readers, relevant not only to Scotland and Scottish issues, but also to the world as a whole. Accordingly, Jenkins’s later fiction reveals a concern with a Scotland where the whole idea of society or community is falling apart, leaving the reader with an uneasy feeling that Scotland’s young people have been betrayed by their own community and by the political upholding of the centuries-old class divisions of British society. Moreover, the reader is constantly made aware of the pitfalls of morality, of how a person’s or an organization’s determination to work for a “good” cause can ultimately lead to evil, which in turn becomes applicable to more universal issues such as terrorism and world politics.