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Strategies of Silence: Colonial Strains in Short Stories of the Troubles

Ronan McDonald
The Yearbook of English Studies
Vol. 35, Irish Writing since 1950 (2005), pp. 249-263
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3509337
Page Count: 15
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Strategies of Silence: Colonial Strains in Short Stories of the Troubles
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Abstract

This essay finds a resonance between the short story form and familiar features of 'Troubles' writing: the emphasis on reticence and silence, the articulation of historical forces through narrative gaps, the intrusion of political disturbance into the private or domestic realm, the use of symbolism, the attempt to express a social condition through non-mimetic modes. It argues that the short story form both reflects problems of articulation and representation, yet with its characteristically wry, elliptical point of view can be a subversive strategy of understatement. It includes readings of short stories by John Montague, Bernard MacLaverty, Mary Beckett, Anne Devlin, and William Trevor.

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