Analysis of Roddy Doyle´s A Star Called Henry

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“Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely we find that this standard is a very simple one, and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are men who do things, which we recognise, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes” (Mark Twain, 2013). Chronicles of Irish history will enlighten us of the tales and chains of events that have transpired in order for our country to be represented as it is today. Strong, peerless figures who represented the tales and allegories of Irish history will be present in these historical events, stories that were bequeathed down through generations, narratives that were adopted and which inspired every young child to acclaim to his or her hero. But what constitutes the right to be branded a hero? To many, a father figure may simply be their exemplification of a hero. Evident in Roddy Doyle’s A Star called Henry, we follow the protagonist, Henry Smart’s life journey through crucial times of Irish history and derive for ourselves the real concept of martyrdom and if all those patriotic men and women who sacrificed their life for good of their country were justified. The persona of Irish culture is encapsulated by the conception of a Christ like sacrifice in exchange for state progression. The martyred dead were canonised in the popular consciousness and they were linked with the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, the martyrdom of saints, and to the heroes and rebels who had died for... ... middle of paper ... ...r outside of their own tight circle” (Trayers, 205).“Ireland,” says Henry Smart, “was something in songs that drunken old men wept about as they held on to the railings at three in the morning and we homed in to rob them” (Doyle, 69). The final section of the film is the enacting of the sacrifice. The slow deterioration of Sand’s body painfully expresses the commitment to his beliefs. The pain he and his helpless family endure as he plays out the final days of his life, the environment changes from one of violence to care, in the realisation that a sacrifice is being made. Morality plays its part as well. The overriding feeling as the film concludes is one of regret. Why is there a need for such self-immolation? Why was this not prevented? Why couldn’t the British government seek mediation between both parties and why let Sands highlight British intransigence.

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