Characters of class: poverty and historical alienation in Dermot Bolger’s fiction
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Meyers, Erika Ann
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This thesis provides a Marxist analysis of the effect of class on historical alienation in Dermot Bolger’s fiction. Therefore, this study examines the influence of Irish history on Bolger’s choice of content, form and technique in order to argue that historical interpretation and literary technique are mediated through class stratifications. Chapter One investigates how The Journey Home challenges received ideas of what constitutes ‘reality’ which has, consequently, led to elements of critical dismissal used to maintain antiquated gaps, silences and notions of ‘reality’. In Chapter Two I look at A Second Life in order to examine how historical ruptures cannot just be seen in the nonlinear structure of Bolger’s novels, but can also be used to expose the silences and gaps that comprise the previously censored personal histories of Bolger’s characters. In Chapter Three I identify structural confines such as definitions, family roles and nationalism as instigating factors that lead to the alienation of those who do not conform to prescribed frameworks and are therefore oppressed by them. I further investigate how oppression also provides the pressure to rupture the linear trajectory of such approved frameworks and produce the nonlinear structure that can be recognised in The Family on Paradise Pier.