Consider One or More of the Ways in Which Irish Fiction Addresses the Subject of Violence.

There is a long history of violence within Ireland, and subsequently a long history of violence within Irish fiction. Ireland, like all countries, has seen multitudinous violent acts perpetrated for many different reasons, but for a long time within the Western media the most widely publicised aspect of Irish violence has been the political violence of Northern Ireland; the ‘Troubles’. Understandably this has shaped the collective psyche of the country and influenced Ireland’s people (author’s included) and has therefore featured heavily in Irish Fiction. Gerry Smyth says that the type casting of Irish characters is detrimental to the quality and originality of Irish fiction;
Modern Northern Ireland has not always been well served by its novelists, or indeed by those foreign writers attracted to the ‘novel opportunity’ provided by the ‘Troubles’… the fictional representations of Ireland seem to get stuck around 1972. The subgenre of the ‘Troubles Thriller’, for example, tends towards melodrama and a sort of voyeuristic violence in which stock characters and images are recycled in more or less disabling ways (Smyth, 1997: 114)

However, whilst the Troubles will always remain a large part of Ireland’s history, contemporary Irish fiction has gradually began to move away from what is labelled the ‘Trouble’s Thriller’ and a new, more diverse form of writing more in touch with the modernity of new Ireland has emerged. In these novels violence stems from not only more varied, but from deeper and more disturbing sources.
In this assignment I will examine the way in which violence is addressed in three contemporary Irish novels; Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, Joseph O’Connor’s Cowboys and Indians and William Trevor’s Felicia’s Journey. I will show how violence can be shown in fiction to occur as a result of social isolation, from emotional trauma incurred as a result of physical and sexual abuse and yes, from the ‘Troubles’ but in a far less overt and direct way...