(Re)producing identity and creating famine in Nuala O'Faolain's my dream of you

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Abstract

Nuala O'Faolain's novel My Dream of You connects the Great Famine and contemporary women's status in the Republic of Ireland. Her narrative structure juxtaposes an embedded story from the 1840s with the main story arc, set in contemporary Ireland, relating the legacy of the Great Famine both to postcolonial attitudes about food and eating and to women's limited political roles in the Republic. The text presents mirrored female characters from the famine-era Big House and the mid-twentieth century to create a gendered association between the eras. This textual strategy of spiraling from the Famine to more recent oppression of women provides insight into Ireland's obsessive control of female reproductive ability. O'Faolain's text repeats images of land, fertility, food production (and consumption), women's bodies, and reproduction, suggesting a link between the failure of the land to produce food and the need to control unruly female bodies. Women's bodies and their fertility become ciphers for the health of Ireland, rather than spaces for individual consciousness. Finally, O'Faolain's text questions the outcomes of such symbolism.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages197-215
Number of pages19
JournalCritique - Studies in Contemporary Fiction
Volume48
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Famine
Ireland
Food
Great Famine
Fertility
Oppression
Food Production
Consciousness
Republic of Ireland
Health
1840s
Female Body
Narrative Structure
Repeats
Female Characters

Keywords

  • Great famine
  • Irish women
  • My dream of you
  • Nuala O'Faolain
  • Republic of Ireland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this

(Re)producing identity and creating famine in Nuala O'Faolain's my dream of you. / O'Kane Mara, Miriam.

In: Critique - Studies in Contemporary Fiction, Vol. 48, No. 2, 2007, p. 197-215.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

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