Cals Escape of Guilt

  • Added:
    Jan 20, 2013
  • Article Views:
  • Word Count:

This essay argues that Cal, the protagonist by Bernard Mac Laverty`s novel “Cal”, deals with an internal conflict which is due to being sinful. Cal being sinful comes from his involvement with the IRA. It is his own choice to get into the organization of the IRA and realizes he has to take the consequence of it.

Cal is thinking that he can sympathize with the IRA without having an active role. Cal does not except the violent tactics of their actions. It has not been until his friend Crilly and Skeffington also members of the IRA have been urging him to support them in their actions that he understood the purpose of their actions. “But the thing he had done was now a background to his life, permanently there, like the hiss that echoed from the events which began the Universe” (Mac Laverty, 1998:39).

Cal does not want to be part of this terrorism war. He wants desperately to break away from it and say`s “I just felt bad about what I was doing” (Mac Laverty, 1998:148) and says that killing innocent people “it was against my conscience” (Mac Laverty, 1998:148). Everywhere he goes he is reminded and haunted by the bad things he has done, especially killing Robert Morton and he is feeling guilty about it. “His prayers consist of telling him how vile he was”  (Mac Laverty, 1998:37). Cal wants to undo the criminal acts he has done but at the same time he knows that what is done can never be undone.

Cal is trying to hide himself from the IRA behind the woman, Marcella. As their relationship develops to romance his will to get out from the IRA gets stronger. He wants her to emphasize with his bad conscience over bad things he has done. He wants her to understand that it has not been of his attention to do the criminal acts. By getting her to understand these parts perhaps he can start a new life but at the same time he finds it difficult to face his guilt to her. “He knew that, because of that he had done, they could never come together” (Mac Laverty, 1998: 91). Cal is afraid that Marcella will hate him if she finds out the truth about him killing her husband.

Cal knows that there is only one course open to him and that is too eventually to tell her the truth in order to start a new life with her. And if he will get caught if not from his friends but by the police,” he would write to her and try to tell it as it was” (Mac Laverty, 1998:154). But he never gets the chance. Both he and his friends get arrested by the police.

 In short, Cal does not get the chance to confront his sin to his love nor does he make it to bow out from the organization. Unfortunately for this reason Cal has not been able to resolve his inner conflict.


Mac Laverty, Bernard. (1998). Cal. London:Vintage.

Author's Profile

I love writing about various topics and I am interested in many things.

Please Rate this Article
Poor Excellent