Reading The Irısh Family From Kristeva's Perspective: Lost Parents, Abject Children And Melancholy in Edna O'brien's The Country Girls, Patrick Mccabes's Breakfast On Pluta And Colm Tobin’s The Blackwater Lightship
Kangüleç Coşkun, Kübra
xmlui.mirage2.itemSummaryView.MetaDataShow full item record
Irish mother has always had an allegorical importance in Irish culture and is constructed over the Mother Ireland stereotype. Due to the colonial past of Ireland, Ireland is defined over a land/woman metaphor and the nationalists create the iconic Mother Ireland image, ascribing historical and ideological meanings to her. As a product of masculine nationalism, Mother Ireland becomes an inspiration for the Irish struggle for independence; yet, she also has a haunting influence on the Irish because of her roots in the colonial discourse, which prevents the formation of a unique Irish identity. Julia Kristeva argues that the mother has a significant role in the child’s psychosexual development since identity formation starts in the maternal chora. Accordingly, the infant must explore and then abject the mother to establish its “self” in the symbolic. The infant’s act of abjection does not mean the exclusion of the (m)other from the symbolic, but means establishing a separate identity by merging the semiotic and the symbolic components in the self. However, the nineteenth-century Irish nationalists make use of patriarchal discourse and create an impossible virgin image for Mother Ireland to safely include her “abject” body into the symbolic. In addition to Mother Ireland’s haunting influence, the oppression of the colonising father and the absence of a loving father figure also constitute an obstacle against the formation of Irish subjectivities. As of the nineteenth century, absent parents and abject children have dominated Irish literature. Referring to Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls (1960), Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto (1998) and Colm Tóibín’s The Blackwater Lightship (1999), all of which feature stories about dysfunctional families and abject children, this dissertation employs Kristeva’s theory to reveal how literary works represent the restricting influence of the colonial discourse on ordinary Irish people as well as Irish children’s gradual exploration of the maternal semiotic during their quest for a self after the colonial era.