Two essential worlds are distinguished in this novel written by Alasdair Gray. One is set in Glasgow, in the decades after the Great War,and the other takes place in an imaginary world in a not so specific time.
In Glasgow, Duncan Thaw is the main character as it is Lanark in the metaphysical world. Both can be seen as each other’salter ego due to similar characteristics: Thaw and Lanark suffer from different diseases, the first one has frequent asthma attacks and outbreaks of eczemas and Lanark finds his own skin turning crusty,glittering and cold. This disease receives the name of “dragonhide” by a physician and Lanark is not the only person in Unthank that suffers from strange ailments.
Due to these repetitive and annoyingdiseases, our protagonists are many times excluded from social life but most of the times they themselves are the ones that are not at ease while they are surrounded by people.
Both are eccentricand very selfish. Thaw is not able to see the economic problems that his father is suffering for sending him to the Art School. In fact, he does not think about working during the Summer (as the otherclassmates do) and help him that way because otherwise he will not have time to do a masterpiece.
On the other hand, Lanark is thinking about leaving the Institute and he is only delighted in seeingRima when he realizes that she can be her partner in this travel back to Unthank. He was not allowed to leave the Institute alone and after healing Rima himself, he knows that she will not reject theidea.
Apart from that, none of them stand the idea of being part of a family or behaving as a member of a community. Duncan, as I have said, does not help his father when they live alone and canhardly make ends meet. He also misbehaves with his sister and does not help her with the housework when their mother falls ill. He only has eyes for his paintings. What is more, he does not show a common...