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This paper seeks to establish information concerning the key theme in the book Cal by Bernard McLaverty. The major theme, in the book, is a love story and the conflicts surrounding the love story. The main character in this story is Cal, who is an eighteen year old catholic boy and lives with his father. Cal and his father stay in a region that is full of Protestants, and they are the only Catholics, apart from some other two friends of Cal. The love story in the book surrounds the leading character of the book Cal. At the age of eighteen, Cal falls in love with a neighboring woman, who is a widow and has one daughter. In the beginning of the story, the author lets us in the life of Cal, which is full of problems from him being unemployed to his engagement in criminal activities together with his friends Skeffington and Crilly.
Can love conquer everything? Love can conquer everything and human beings can do anything when in love. This is evident in the book, especially when looking at the love story of Cal. In the beginning, Cal is a rebellious person who is involved in criminal activities in protest to the Protestants living in the Northern Ireland. In doing so, Cal sympathizes with the Irish Republican Army in conjunction with his friends and helps them to do criminal acts. Cal does not have a job, and for this reason, he frequents the library where he spends most of his time. The love story begins when Cal visits the library frequently and falls in love with an older woman who works in the library. The woman is a widow who has a daughter and lives in the Morton’s family, who are strong Protestants. Further on the story, the author reveals that Cal took part in activities that led to the murder of Robert Morton, the husband of the woman Cal has fallen in love with - Marcella.
Love is a powerful thing that can make people change. This aspect is seen in the story of Cal, as he helplessly falls in love with Marcella. Cal goes against all odds in the society, in the name of love. When Cal falls in love with Marcella he is eighteen years, which is a very young age compared to Marcella, who has even been already married once and has a daughter. Cal seems not to mind the age factor, because of the love he feels for Marcella, and pursues in his intentions. Secondly, Cal is a strong Catholic, who initially was not comfortable because of the activities of the Protestants. Cal does not seem to mind that Marcella is from the family who are strong Protestants, and he falls in love more seriously to the extent that he does not mind working for the Protestants. He decides to work for the Morton’s so as to be close to Marcella, who lived with her in-laws. The love Cal feels for Marcella is so strong that he chooses to be with Marcella instead of his long time friends, who are still taking part in the Irish Republican Army activities.
We see the power of love on the side of Marcella as well, when she forgives and falls in love with a young man who participated in the murder of her husband. She is not ashamed of what the community will think of her and actually gives the love between her and Cal a chance. The two and Marcella’s daughter have fun in the short period they are in love. From the main theme of the story, which is love, it is evident that love is a powerful thing, which can change someone’s ideologies and norms. As much as people say that a person will always stick to his/her religions, ideologies, and friends, the story gives us a different aspect in which love has managed to change a man in all the above contexts. Love can conquer everything, including a man, and it can change the world.