Post-modern Ireland in the works of Patrick McCabe
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BA in English Literature and Drama
Dublin Business School
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This Final Year Project explores how post-modern Ireland's national, cultural and social anxieties are manifested in the neo-gothic fiction of Patrick McCabe. In recent decades, Ireland has undergone major cultural, social and economic changes. The following chapters will explore Ireland and Irish society in the post-modern period, examining the changes it has undergone and the anxieties that such changes have brought about. In the three novels used, the neo-gothic genre as employed by McCabe will be investigated. Chapter one explores post-modern Ireland, post-modernism and the neo-gothic. It investigates how in McCabe's fiction hell manifests itself though the extreme psychological disturbances that his protagonists endure. The chapter also explores McCabe's background and the various techniques that he employs in his writing; including his use of the unreliable narrator and his own unique style which he terms the 'social fantastic'. Chapter two explores The Butcher Boy and the disintegrating psyche of Francie Brady. The chapter investigates the interconnection between human and social trauma by showing how Francie Brady's personal anxieties escalate as he is failed by both family and community. Chapter three explores Emerald Germs of Ireland and the 'social fantastic' psyche of Pat McNab. The chapter investigates small town life, the claustrophobia and repression contained within such a setting and the role that the dysfunctional family and society has played in the formation of Pat McNab. Chapter four explores Winterwood and discusses how McCabe's theme of the 'changing face of Ireland' manifests itself by examining Redmond Hatch, his personal anxieties and disintegrating psyche. Through all three fictions, McCabe shows the difficulties of living through periods of rapid national, cultural and social changes and how with no sustaining networks (of family solidarity, community or religion) it affects the psyche of the individual and the nation.