'Guilt In Clare Wald's Absolution'

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The ability to free oneself from blame or guilt, referred to as absolution, and the meaning of this with reference to the character Clare Wald will be discussed with reference to Absolution as a whole.

In the novel, Absolution, both of the protagonists are plagued by their past but more noticeably with Clare who is guilty of unspeakable violence in a different form compared to the past of Sam. Clare searches for forgiveness and release from the crimes she believes she has committed. She is pre-occupied with three memories in particular which include her being indirectly responsible for the death of her sister and brother-in-law Nora and Stephan; her failings as a mother to her daughter Laura who disappeared in 1989 who she presumes is dead and lastly her rejection of Sam as a child. She attempts to find absolution for each of her past ‘crimes’ in different ways, but has little hope in finding absolution.
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Through this autobiography written by Clare, she makes full confessions but distances herself from these crimes throughout the novel. She battles with her conscience over her part in their deaths as she “let slip” to key anti-apartheid about their whereabouts. She obsesses over her guilt so much so that her conscience manifests itself into recurring nightmares, insomnia and the appearance of Nora’s ghost. Her autobiography, Absolution, is her means of “self-exorcism” of her guilty demons. Through this, Clare not only struggles with her guilt but also her motivations in her sister’s betrayal. Likewise, through Clare making a private confession to her son, Mark, but also a public confession in the publication of her autobiography, it is her means of unburdening her conscience and her seeking relief from the guilt that haunts her. In the end of the novel, she decides to seek absolution from Stephan’s family and make her
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