Harvest

by

Jim Crace

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Philip Earle/Mr. Quill Character Analysis

A mapmaker hired by Edmund Jordan to assess his property and draw up plans for a sheep farm, nicknamed “Mr. Quill” by the villagers for his ever-present pen and paper. Mr. Quill is educated and comes from a wealthy background, but he lacks Jordan’s arrogance and is more similar to Master Kent in his kind dealings with the villagers. His humility is likely informed by a limp he’s had since childhood, which exposes him to mockery from other men, notably Jordan himself. Mr. Quill’s artistry is a source of fascination to Walter; it shows how men can wield power over the land without actually working it, an intriguing but frightening prospect. While his arrival in the village prefigures its downfall, Mr. Quill quickly becomes enamored of village life and sympathetic to the villagers. Conveying information on Jordan’s plans to Walter and also comforting Master Beldam and Father Beldam while they are trapped in the pillory, he combines a respect for traditional life with a sympathy towards outsiders that the village lacks. Despite his evident goodwill, the villagers mistrust him and accuse him of sorcery; he’s eventually murdered, probably by Mistress Beldam, even though he tried to help her. His death suggests that innate goodness can’t persist long in the turbulent, unwelcoming circumstances of the novel.

Philip Earle/Mr. Quill Quotes in Harvest

The Harvest quotes below are all either spoken by Philip Earle/Mr. Quill or refer to Philip Earle/Mr. Quill. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Harvest published in 2013.
Chapter 8 Quotes

But none of these compare for patterned vividness with Mr. Quill’s designs. His endeavors are tidier and more wildly colorful–they’re certainly more blue–than anything that nature can provide. They’re rewarding in themselves. They are more pleasing than a barleycorn.

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Philip Earle/Mr. Quill, Edmund Jordan
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

Our church ground has been desecrated by our surliness. Our usual scriptures are abused. This body on the cross is not the one that’s promised us. Yet, once again, it’s Mr. Quill who teaches us our shortcomings. It’s Mr. Quill who’s intimate and kind. It’s Mr. Quill who’s valiant. It will not make him popular.

Related Symbols: The Pillory
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Harvest LitChart as a printable PDF.
Harvest PDF

Philip Earle/Mr. Quill Character Timeline in Harvest

The timeline below shows where the character Philip Earle/Mr. Quill appears in Harvest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...worry that “those scratchings on his board might scratch us too.” They nickname the man Mr. Quill for his ever-present pen. (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...bearded bachelor is far too friendly with his goat.” On this harvest, they talk about Mr. Quill , wondering if he’s managed to find a wife with his disability, and comparing his... (full context)
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
However, in the afternoon the villagers become more uneasy about Mr. Quill’s aims. The sense of being recorded makes them feel that some unwanted change is impending.... (full context)
Chapter 2
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The villagers, Master Kent, and Mr. Quill arrive at the shack, where the fire is burning out. In the ashes, everyone can... (full context)
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It’s Mr. Quill who tries to diffuse the situation. He limps forward with open hands; the other villagers... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...armed men in to an “occasion of shame.” The villagers let their weapons fall, and Mr. Quill helps the woman out of the shack. She’s not beautiful; she has a “weasel face”... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Now, at the feast, Master Kent stands up to make a speech. He introduces Mr. Quill , whose real name is Philip Earle. Master Kent says he’s come to make a... (full context)
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Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
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...a little drunk. To lighten the mood, Thomas Rogers picks up his pipe and plays. Mr. Quill produces a fiddle and joins Thomas, in fact playing much better than him, to Thomas’s... (full context)
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Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
Mr. Quill is “shaping us again” with his fiddle, making them lighthearted and friendly just as he... (full context)
Chapter 4
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...his injured hand, Walter doesn’t work in the threshing barns but is assigned to help Mr. Quill for the week. He has to be careful of his hand, because many villagers have... (full context)
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...without his wife he’ll never be fully tied to the village. The recent arrival of Mr. Quill and the other strangers has made him uneasy, reminding him of the existence of a... (full context)
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Master Kent says that Mr. Quill , as an honored guest, will choose the Gleaning Queen. Mr. Quill walks down the... (full context)
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In the end, Mr. Quill makes an unexpected decision, choosing Lizzie Carr, a four-year-old. She’s delighted to be chosen but... (full context)
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Mr. Quill approaches Walter and asks if he can walk him around the village bounds, telling him... (full context)
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...criminal. Now, he instructs him to report to the manor house when he’s finished helping Mr. Quill . (full context)
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Mr. Quill can’t move quickly, but he’s alert and intelligent. Walter takes him first the large marshland... (full context)
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Mr. Quill asks Walter for the marsh’s name, but Walter says it has none, since he judges... (full context)
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This tour is very different, since Mr. Quill doesn’t look at the land like a laborer or care about the local issues that... (full context)
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More somberly, Mr. Quill says that Master Kent has asked him to convey some information to Walter. In fact,... (full context)
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Mr. Quill stands at the edge of the barn and watches the villagers process the harvested barley.... (full context)
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Before leaving, Mr. Quill says goodbye to everyone, but they barely respond, too engrossed in their work. The two... (full context)
Chapter 5
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
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...but instead he arrives to a burned-out barn and sees Master Kent, his cousin, helping Mr. Quill carrying the old man’s body away from the pillory and into the manor house courtyard.... (full context)
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While Walter and Mr. Quill cover the old man’s eyes and put a sheet over him, Master Kent prays over... (full context)
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...a fine doublet, Master Jordan stands at one end of the room. He’s talking to Mr. Quill , and Walter can tell he scorns the disabled man and considers him a “local... (full context)
Chapter 6
Progress and Dispossession Theme Icon
...no modern person can possibly approve of communal agriculture, “which only benefits the commoners.” While Mr. Quill finishes making his charts, the steward, Mr. Baynham, will build fences and prepare the land... (full context)
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...will employ the people he needs, but “we will sadly need to make economies.” When Mr. Quill points out that Jordan won’t have to economize personally, he smiles and retorts that he... (full context)
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Master Jordan quips that it’s Mr. Earle who doesn’t have to make economies, since he’s disabled and only fit for light work.... (full context)
Chapter 8
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All afternoon, Walter works with Mr. Quill and daydreams about finding employment with him when the sheep push him out of the... (full context)
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...vulnerability” will attract the rough men, and that they will not behave kindly toward her. Mr. Quill says they must wait until Mr. Baynham isn’t around to look for her, and Walter... (full context)
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...sees this as a test, an opportunity to prove his value as an employee. Meanwhile, Mr. Quill experiments with different colors, looking for the combination that will make the map easiest to... (full context)
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Now that Cecily is gone, Walter tells Mr. Quill , he’s eager for a new adventure, and to leave the village before the sheep... (full context)
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Mr. Quill invites Walter to look at his sketches, and Walter is impressed by their strange beauty.... (full context)
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First Mr. Quill shows Walter the sketch of the current village. With difficulty Walter discerns which shapes represent... (full context)
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However, Walter says, the drawings aren’t completely accurate. Mr. Quill can’t capture the character of the land or the feeling of living in the fields.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...outsider, that he didn’t participate in the gleaning, and that he spent the afternoon with Mr. Quill while they were penned in the barn. (full context)
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...all, he’s been keeping secrets and looking after his own interests by seeking employment with Mr. Quill , rather than theirs. (full context)
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Walter wonders if instead of casting his lot with Mr. Quill , who is after all a disabled man of uncertain fortunes, he should ask Master... (full context)
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As they’re walking to the manor, they see Mr. Quill in conversation with the young man in the pillory; all the villagers disapprove, seeing this... (full context)
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Walter quietly breaks off from the villagers and joins Mr. Quill , as they’ve agreed to search for Mistress Beldam that night. As they settle down... (full context)
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...him, or if he will warn her away. However, he only whistles softly to her. Mr. Quill points her out as she emerges; it’s only the second time Walter has seen her,... (full context)
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...mouth, but when she hears the villagers noisily returning from the manor house she disappears. Mr. Quill runs to the pillory, hides the bottle which she’s dropped, and hurries after the departed... (full context)
Chapter 10
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According to John Carr, the villagers suggested that Mr. Quill , whom they’ve renamed the “Chart-Maker,” is somehow in league with the three strangers, who... (full context)
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...know the leader. Master Kent heard Anne Rogers name “the gentleman,” and imagines she mimicked Mr. Quill’s walk to implicate him. (full context)
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...the confused Lizzie Carr and induced her to corroborate the women’s testimony by saying that Mr. Quill “made me Queen and tried to put his hand on me.” (full context)
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However, when they looked for Mr. Quill , they couldn’t find him. By that time, he was with Walter at the pillory.... (full context)
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...late. In any case, their accusations were in line with Anne and Kitty’s confessions, implicating Mr. Quill and connecting him to the strangers. Master Kent says that Mr. Quill is still at... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...and no one has picked up their tools. Walter himself has nothing to do, since Mr. Quill is in hiding. (full context)
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Walter is also worried about Mr. Quill . He doesn’t want him to be killed, and he hopes he’s warned Mistress Beldam,... (full context)
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
Outsiders and Blame Theme Icon
...born in the area. The only people left are Walter, Jordan and his men, and Mr. Quill and the strangers. (full context)
Chapter 12
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Innocently, Walter asks where Mr. Quill is. Jordan doesn’t respond but only remarks that his cheek is very bruised, and that... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Now there are only four people in the village: Walter, Mistress Beldam, her husband, and Mr. Quill . Walter plans to search for him the next day, but hopes he’s had the... (full context)
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In his nightmarish imaginings, Walter sees Mr. Quill melting in flames, hanged by the servants, or cudgeled by the angry villagers and left... (full context)
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...stubble remains, however, showing that a harvest has recently occurred. It seems like ages since Mr. Quill named the Gleaning Queen and Master Kent made his customary speech. Walter remembers that Master... (full context)
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...man all about Cecily, his close relationship with Master Kent, and his new respect for Mr. Quill . He even talks about oxen, which he prefers to helpless sheep. (full context)
Chapter 15
Individuals and the Community Theme Icon
...at the cottage door. Lining up the pots on the bed, he designates one as Mr. Quill , one as Kitty, one as John, another as Master Kent, two more for the... (full context)
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Instead, Walter walks to the woods to search for Mr. Quill . He passes by the Bottom, hoping he won’t find Mr. Quill’s body among the... (full context)
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...like an ox, but simultaneously has the sense that he’s flying, viewing the land as Mr. Quill presents it in his sketches, as a beautiful but unreal drawing. (full context)
Chapter 16
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...he pauses and notices that blood is seeping from his old trunk. Investigating, he finds Mr. Quill’s corpse lying face-down. He’s still wearing the outfit in which Walter last saw him. (full context)
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Walter examines Mr. Quill’s body briefly, seeing that he was killed by a sword, run through several times and... (full context)
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Walter wants to give Mr. Quill “an honorable cremation,” and to prove the courage that he’s found himself lacking recently. The... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...the recent disasters. In one hand he carries the piece of vellum he’d prepared for Mr. Quill’s map. He has already burned the two sketches, along with their creator. But he intends... (full context)