Edna O’Brien’s Country Girls Trilogy
In all honesty, I chose to read The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien because it was the only text that I could get my hands on. After reading it though, I’m glad I had the luck of choosing it. I realized, while reading the trilogy, that throughout my course of study, I have not read very many female authors. I may have read a few short stories along the way, but most books that I have read for classes and for pleasure have been written by men. I saw the difference in writing styles as I read the first paragraph of the book and immediately liked the change of pace and detail-oriented style. I also found that I really connected with the main characters, Caithleen and Baba, whose real name is Bridget. I found it interesting that I invested such interest in two characters whose personalities are so different from my own. Caithleen was the narrator in the first two books, and I found that I connected with her most because of her details and innocence. The trilogy represents three phases of these women’s lives from their girlhood, to losing loves and the trials of marriage. Through it all, their interesting friendship changes according to the events in their lives until a sad and untimely end. I’m not sure that that I would want a friendship like Caithleen and Baba’s, but at least that had each other in the end, when the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten them. The excerpt in Colm Toibin’s anthology, The Penguin book of Irish Fiction, is from the first book in O’Brien’s trilogy called The Country Girls. For purposes of this paper, I will discuss the excerpt itself, and then the rest of the first book of O’Brien’s trilogy.
The Excerpt from The Country Girls was taken from chapter fourteen. In this passage, Baba and Caithleen have just moved to Dublin to live on their own. They moved into a boarding house run by a German couple and the girls feel as if they are finally living their lives. Baba is in search of a rich man to take care of her so that she no longer has to deal with the little people in life. She drags Caithleen, who goes by Cait, to dances and bars in hopes of finding whatever she can get.