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Mother-Daughter Relationship and Mother Figure Essay

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Edna O'Brien was born in County Clare in the 1930. As a young girl O'Brien would of been accustom to the rules of de Valera's 1937 constitution ‘which enshrined the family as the foundation of the nation and depended centrally on submissive domestic femininity.’ (Obert, Pg.284) women where not to work outside of there role as homemaker as they would then not be contributing to society in the way the constitution demanded. The mother daughter relationship is of significance in Edna O'Briens writting perhaps because of her own experiences of how the state repressed women (as mentioned above) but also religios factors and mythological. first i will discuss the former. catholisism and the power of the church was a prominant feature of leaving in ireland during the time of the 1950’s, in which the country girls is set. female sexuality was largly dimissed as the ideology of the virgin mary was a strong image that had a hold as the exemplary model of a perfect mother. from another stream of society there was also the myhological imagery of ‘ireland as woman’ or ‘mother ireland’. an example of this imagry would be yeat’s play Cathleen ni houlihaan which portrays Ireland as a sad poor begger woman. women where repressed by the ideology these images portrayed as the very notion of such exsisting charecters is irrational and these standerds are simply unattainable. Irelands two images of mother are used to completly desexualize the female body. edna o brien uses the protagonist Cathleen and Baba as a means to go againgst these images. they as teenagers are only discovering their sexuality. however when they act upon there sexual dessires they are punished.

female desire is an element which o brien tries to show is efectively shut down by i...


... middle of paper ...


...heir desires as portia becomes a substitute for anna. eddie is a substitute for annas prvious realationship which was woth her world war one martyr mtr pidgeon. eddies batrayal and hurt that he does to portia can be seen as a recycling of annas realationship with mr pidgeon as he was unfaithfull. this unfaithfullness and batrayal by eddie is shown when portia invited him over to wakidi to visit her and they go to the cinema with wiki and dickie and eddie holds hand with her in the cinema. however, portias realationship, although eddie has lead her on somewhat is mostly a figment of her imagination her strong teenage sexual desires and wanting to be loved means that she has created a stronger bond between her and eddie than is apparent.



Works Cited

Obert, Julia C. "Mothers and others in Edna O'Brien's The Country Girls." Irish Studies Review 20.3 (2012): 283-297.


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