The presenter provides a whistle-stop tour of the plot to 'Sunset Song' by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, guiding us through the main stages of the novel: Prelude, Ploughing, Drilling, Seed Time, Harvest and Epilude. We are introduced to the influences which shape Chris, the central character to 'Sunset Song':
• Ploughing tells of Chris’s love of the land and the relationships between her father, mother and brother.
• Drilling takes us into the dark world of Chris’s mother’s suicide, the subsequent break-up of the family and John Guthrie’s stroke.
• Seed Time reveals the development of Chris with the death of her father and marriage to Ewan Tavendale.
• Harvest considers the effect of war on the community and Chris who loses both Ewan and Long Rob in the war.
• Epilude looks at the changes in the community and Chris’s new love, Reverend Colquhoun.
Before watching the clip, ask students to define what makes an engaging plot (talk about character conflict, obstacles in the way of character’s goals, twists and turns) Ask them to draw a ‘plot timeline’ and list the key events of the novel. Students should consider not just chronology but how events influence each other, how they fit with the cyclical theme of the novel's structure and how links between events build up into themes and resonances with the reader.