Daughter of narrator John Ames and his first wife, Louisa, baby Angeline, named by Robert Boughton and baptized by him, died shortly after her birth. The narrator, who refers to her as Rebecca, the name he would have given her, had a moment in which to hold the baby. She opened her eyes and looked at him shortly before she died. Her loss, along with her mother's death in childbirth, is a grief that hounds the narrator, one to which he returns in his letter to his son.
Ten years older than the narrator and his brother, Edward Ames left Gilead as a young man to study philosophy in Germany where his own beliefs were shaped by the work of Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804–1872), a materialist who challenged orthodox religion, for example attacking the Christian belief in immortality. Feuerbach believed that the idea of God is a projection of the inner nature of man. When Edward returned to the United States, he married a young woman from Indianapolis, and the couple had six children. He taught at the state college (later University of Kansas) in Lawrence until his death. For Edward, leaving Gilead was "like waking from a trance"; he lived out his years only a few hundred miles away, rarely visiting his parents or brother John in Gilead.
Reverend John Ames
Reverend John Ames, the narrator, son and grandson of Protestant ministers with the same name, turns...
(The entire section is 2189 words.)
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