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Themes in Colm Toibin's 'Brooklyn'

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C Troy

on 1 November 2012

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Transcript of Themes in Colm Toibin's 'Brooklyn'

Ideas. Narrating
Migration & Transgression Grief and Loss Losing Ireland Losing Rose Losing Tony Patriarchy and Power:
Father Flood Migration Eilis as a Transgressor Narrative form in 'Brooklyn' Personal Identity National Identity Narrating
Identity 'As she turned and looked at her sister, Eilis wanted to suggest that they change places, that Rose, so ready for life, always making new friends, would be happier going to America, just as Eilis wold be quite content to stay at home.' p. 30 '"Brooklyn changes everyday," Miss Bartocci said as Father Flood nodded. "New people arrive and they could be Jewish or Irish or Polish or even coloured... We welcome every single person who comes into this store. They all have money to spend."' p. 59 > Outline the genres in 'Brooklyn'. "She tried to work out how she had come to believe also that, whilst people from the town who lived in England missed Enniscorthy, no one who went to America missed home. Instead they were happy there and proud." pp. 24 'In all the outrages that could be committed by the lodgers, this had never been mentioned as a possibility... It was in the realm of the unthinkable.' pp. 187-188 "'There's a lot of giddiness in the house at the moment,' Mrs Kehoe said...
'It's the dancing is doing it to them,' Eilis said drily.
'Well, I'm going to ask Father Flood to preach a sermon on the evils of giddiness,' Mrs Kehoe said." p. 132 'Every day she had come back to this small room in this house full of sounds and gone over everything new that had happened... Now, all that seemed like nothing compared to the picture she had of home, of her own room, the house in Friary Street, the food she had eaten there, the clothes she wore, how quiet everything was.' p. 66 '...she felt that she was being held by someone wounded, that the letter had somehow, in its tone, made clear to him what had really happened and made plain to him also that she belonged somewhere else, a place that he could never know." p. 184 > Describe the idealised preconceptions Eilis' holds about life in America. > Discuss Eilis' comparison of work and wealth for migrants in England in contrast with the Irish in America. > Explain the social role Father Flood plays within Brooklyn's migrant community? >Describe the difference in power and influence between Father Flood and Tony over Eilis' life. "'You cannot work here if you're sad. And of course you're sad if you're not with your mother for the first time in your life."' p. 73 > Discuss the reality of Eilis' experience as an Irish migrant working in Brooklyn. >Discuss the moral codes Eilis has broken by sleeping with Tony; to whom is she answerable? 'As soon as she saw Tony that evening she told him that they would both have to go to confession.' p. 189 >Explain the way the actions of Eilis and Tony have positioned them as transgressors within the Brooklyn community. >Discuss the literary conventions Toibin has used in his text? >Explore the retrospective nature of the text. Does the text capture a realistic illustration of a young Irish migrant woman in the 1950's? >Compare Eilis' ideas of America prior to leaving Ireland, with the reality she was experiencing in this passage. > Discuss the culture of Brooklyn, as described by Miss Bartocci, in relation to Eilis experiences of national identity in Enniscorthy. '"You're suitcase is all wrong, but there's nothing we can do about that."
"What's wrong with it?"
"It's too Irish and they stop the Irish?" > How does Georgina 'other' Eilis?
>What effect does this have on Eilis whilst she travels? > Why does Rose's death highlight the distance and difference between Tony and Eilis? 'Eilis passed the door of Rose's room and thought to enter, to look for the last time at the place where her sister had died, but, although she stopped outside for a second and lowered her eyes in a sort of reverence, she did not open the door.' p. 251 > Discuss the finality of the way in which Eilis' will lose Rose as she leaves for Brooklyn the second time. > Explore Eilis' emotional journey through Rose's death. Draw upon other passages as needed. > Why does Eilis idealise her memories of home at this time? > Discuss the ideas of nostaliga and a utopian past in relation to this passage. > Why does Eilis differentiate herself from her sister in this passage?
>What does it demonstrate to the reader about her own self-concept?
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