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“LaidLaw” by William McIlvanney.

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"LaidLaw" by William McIlvanney. I finished reading "Laidlaw" by William McIlvanney on the bus on the way home from the town. This was ideal because as I was reading I was in the surroundings and setting of the novel. It made me very aware of the real dangers and traps of the true Glasgow. I my S.S I am going to trace how Laidlaw's job controls his life and limits his time with his family. "Laidlaw" is set in modern day Glasgow, a city full of hard men and powerful villains. After Jack Laidlaw finishes a case in Dumfries he arrives home to a cold and bloody morning, a morning of death. Laidlaw tasks the case and with his unusual and precise questions picks at the case until eventually it opens. The case takes him deep into Glasgow, into the slums and dark dance halls, introducing evil and sadistic characters that play an important part in the murder. In the beginning we find out that he has been away from home working in Dumfries. Straight from Dumfries he goes to his office. We find out that his job is a key part of his life. When he arrives he says "back to office gloom sweet gloom." ...read more.


my children need a father." This triggers from Laidlaw an outburst of swearing "Somebody is fucking dead. That might be a nuisance to you but it's a fucking sight worse for them". Laidlaw is less than sympathetic to his wife's feelings and has little tolerance for her and he leaves. "He gave the children hurried kisses like bruises" This is a symbol of Laidlaws hasty departure and this shows he might be gone for a long time. Bruises are marks that stay for a long time and can leave pain that stays for with you. Laidlaw wants the kisses to remind the children of him like a bruise. Now we can see the extent to which his job interrupts his life. As Laidlaw leaves we see that this is bothering him. Laidlaw is agitated about the events that had happened. There was a great barrier between Jack and his wife. Laidlaw can not handle his relationship and after the argument he goes up stairs. Ena went to bed. Laidlaw was pacing around trying to remind Ena that he was leaving. Ena knew. It was a familiar event and Ena knew what would follow. However no matter how much pain the argument had inflicted they still cared about each other. ...read more.


The novel has a strange structure. In the novel we see the story from everyone's point of view. Each character has their own chapter; this allows us to see the truth behind the murder and the pain that everyone is going through. It also lets us see what everyone thinks about Laidlaw. There are no flashbacks. The novel is written in third person narrative so this lets us see what everyone is thinking and feeling about the events that have occurred. In the novel McIlvanney almost always sets aside a large part of the chapters for settings and descriptions. This adds realism to the novel and makes you aware of the surroundings that the novel is set in. Being set in Glasgow the dialogue in the novel is full of Glaswegian dialect. This also helps us remember where it is set. It also lets us understand how the characters react to the situation, with aggression, sadness and despair. These are also shown through the language chosen; "Fuck off swear words they'll survive", "Whit is it" and "Just tell us whit ye came tae tell us." In conclusion in my essay I have emphasised the fact that Laidlaws job controls his life and limits his time spent with his family by using the evidence in the novel. I feel that in my argument I have emphasised this point well. (1329) ...read more.

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