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Style 2

Style 2

We can see immediately that, in this book, direct speech doesn't tell us anything very important. Although it tells us the actual words the characters say, it's not widely used in the book. We rarely get enough of a conversation to learn anything new about the characters or the story.

Internal monologue, on the other hand, takes us right into the minds of the characters in the book. You'll notice that the kind of information that's revealed through internal monologue is mostly to do with what characters feel. Internal monologue is how you find out about people's opinions, ideas, beliefs and hopes.

Information about the plot is usually found in external narrative. This is how the book is moved along from one stage to the next. External narrative tells you what's happening as it happens. It also gives you background information about people, places or things you encounter in the story.

As you read the book, take time to notice which voice is being used and when. What kind of information is it telling you?


Symbolism is when one particular detail stands for or represents a bigger idea. On several occasions in the story Mrs Scott reads the Bible and Crichton Smith incorporates a number of Biblical references which are used as symbols:



The title of the book comes from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 6 verse 25-30:

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

At the end of chapter 18, Mrs Scott has come to a greater understanding of what these words mean:

"Hadn't Christ himself said: 'Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow will take care of itself'?"

"And the light of the lamp was yellow like the lily..."

"And she slept."

Note the use of the simile describing the light of the lamp as "yellow like the lily", another reference to the passage from the Bible quoted above.

The White Horse

The White Horse: the last book of the New Testament, Revelation (sometimes referred to as 'the Apocalypse'), describes St. John’s vision of the end of the world.One passage describes four symbolic horseman, one of which rides a white horse:

"I looked and there was a white horse. Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown. He rode out as a conqueror to conquer." (Revelation 6:2)

This is appropriate as Patrick Sellar represents the rich and powerful who are 'conquering' the land, turning people out of their homes and using the land for profitable sheep farming.

Towards the end of the novel, Sellar is accompanied by another man, John Loch, who rides a black horse. In Revelation the black horse represents famine; Crichton Smith may be suggesting that when the people are evicted they are likely to starve.

Bridal dress

"She even found her mother’s bridal dress crushed under the heavy Bible."

This occurs in the first of the flashback chapters, when Mrs Scott is recalling how elated she felt after Alasdair asked her to marry him. She had been so full of energy she "cleaned the whole house form top to bottom", and went through the contents of an old chest.

The quotation is symbolic of the way organized religion crushed the joy and natural feelings of her mother, who passed on this attitude to her daughter. Mrs Scott’s marriage had been blighted by her severe outlook on life which had eventually driven her husband from home. Only after her experience at the minister’s house and her stay at the Macleods’ house does Mrs Scott begin to shake off this oppression.


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Hazard Perception

Metaphors, similes, personification... test yourself on these and many more English terms with this hazardous game!

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