Homework Help

What are the differences between the staff and the robe in Lowry's Gathering Blue?  

user profile pic

cardenasalazar | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 8, 2009 at 4:50 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What are the differences between the staff and the robe in Lowry's Gathering Blue?

 

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 21, 2009 at 5:07 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Both were sacramental objects used during a yearly ritual commemorating the "Ruin," which though not overtly stated probably refers to an global epidemic or a nuclear holocaust.  An intricately embroidered robe was worn by the Singer, who recounted the history of mankind through hours of chanting, while he grasped in his hand a "sacred" rod or staff.

During one of such incantations, Kira gets a glimpse of the Singer's ankles and sees to her horror that they are swollen and bloodied, being shackled together with a heavy chain. She realizes that the "staff" serves as a crutch so that the Singer will not topple over and collapse while performing the ceremony.

Both the staff and the robe are used to preserve a sense of social order and hierarchy as well as serving as a connection with the past. Ironically, they are also used to dissimulate negative aspects about the current community, in which the individual is sacrificed for the state.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes