Essay on Field Day Group and Women Victimization

Essay on Field Day Group and Women Victimization

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In her essay, Lauren Onkey reveals how colonialism and nationalism victimize women in the past. Traditionally, woman is considered inferior and weaker whereas man is superior and powerful. This sexist characterization of gender is based on the assumption of sexual dominance. During the period of colonization, Colonial power deliberately describes the colonies as feminine “to justify its ‘civilizing’ mission” (160). Since then, woman becomes the symbol and property of nation. Thence, the nation assumes the right to ‘supervise’ her behavior. Richard Kearney suggests “the symbol of woman as nation as a somewhat benevolent response to colonial conquest” (160). The ‘elevation’ of woman as a symbol and property of nation is problematic at least to women because it makes self-determination inapplicable to women. In Ireland specifically, women’s issues are defined as trivial compared to the more important issues of nationalism. The Field Day group which is supposed to “rethink ideas about the nation, literature, politics and culture” fails to include the issues of women in its agenda. Onkey argues that Field Day simply ignores the creative works produced by women and topics of women, sexuality and gender are absent in most literary discourse. Female writers are also marginalized since “of over 300 writers included covering 1500 years, only 39 are women” (162).

Onkey also believes Translations by Brian Friel – Field Day’s first theatrical production – has been misunderstood by most critics to be largely about colonialism and nationalism. Critics rarely mention about women’s issues which are essential in the play. Onkey disagrees with most critics who interpret the female characters – Maire and Sarah – exclusively based on a nationalist...


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...t happens and why the issues are ignored. I would present statistics of literary analyses that are relevant to feminist issues and draw a conclusion based on the data. Besides that, I would compare Onkey’s interpretation of the play with other critics’ interpretation and criticize them to strengthen Onkey’s point of view. In conclusion, Onkey’s disagreement about the lack of attention to women’s issues in most literary analyses especially of Brian Friel’s Translations is well grounded. Furthermore, I totally agree with her that Translations should not only be seen through the nationalistic point of view. Although it is obvious that British colonization of Ireland and cultural erosion inspire Friel to produce the play, the bigger theme in Translations appears to be the misinterpretation of woman as symbol of nation based on the magnitude and significance of the issue.

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