The Intention And Effect Of Mc Cabe's Sense Of Narrative And Story In His Novel "The Butcher Boy".

2466 words - 10 pages

OutlineIn this paper I will attempt to outline the intention and effect of the narrative style of McCabe in his novel 'The Butcher Boy' through his use of language, time and place and the distortions these go through as they are filtered through the mind.IntroductionThe contemporary Irish novel occupies a space that is similar to that which one of our leading postcolonial critics, Homi Bhabha, identifies as the 'in-between' space or 'time lag' which those who have been previously marginalized or silenced enter before they find their new identities (Peach, 2004). For much of the century Irish writing had been based 'on the hyphen' between British and Irish cultures and in particular the clash between them, as illustrated by artists such as Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Elizabeth Bowen. The Butcher Boy is one of those novels that reach beyond this premise; it is a search for a identity but it a search that is individual by nature but grand in scope, using an Irish voice to explore the nether regions of the mind. On the surface, "The Butcher Boy" is a story of a boy from a dysfunctional family who comes of age in small-town Ireland in the early 1960s. But unlike other tales of survival, The Butcher Boy is less about overcoming obstacles than about giving in to them (O' Dometer, 1997). The narrative of Francie also unquestionably allows McCabe to explore the mind of the insane; for how can you truly explore a minds inner-workings in the third person? It allows him free reign, detaching himself as the author, to describe and carry out the acts of Francie. It destroys any limits that morals may put on art, and the morals the artist (however knowingly) enforces on their work.McCabe's Intentions.Increasingly in the late twentieth century Irish novel, characters are defined not in relation to themselves and their own bodies but to images generated by the consumer-orientated, mass media society (Peach, 2004). This is reflected in Butcher Boy by the influence over Francie Brady of the Cowboy and Westerns he sees on television, influencing his games and therefore the path in which his mind develops into adulthood. At first, we view Francie as a fairly typical product of a dysfunctional home, but it soon becomes apparent that his problems run much deeper. This isn't the story of a prankster who finds redemption in a Dickensian fashion -- it's a darker, more ominous tale about a boy whose hostile surroundings feed his inner anger and paranoia and turn him into an amoral monster. The Butcher Boy shows what happens when a child fights back not by bettering himself, but by lashing out at others (Berardinelli, 1998). It is what Francie is forced to repress that eventually leads to his madness. This is also analogous to the general situation in Ireland at the time, which McCabe brings down to Francie's level. For example the people in Francie's town repeatedly complain about taxes, yet they do not act on these feeling, they are content to merely wallow in their...

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