The Journey of Self-discovery Brian Moore's The Luck of Ginger Coffey
When Ginger Coffey brought his family to Canada from Ireland, little did he know that he would attain partial triumph by discovering "himself and the refugee among the lame and the old". With the aid of those around him, Coffey pursued personal freedom and status in his adopted country. He stumbled through a journey of self-discovery while materialism obstructed his vision. The importance of his family rooted Coffey to his homeland and to his moral values while he tried to discover himself as an immigrant.
All the world appeared hostile to Ginger Coffey when he tried to carve a niche for himself in this new country, for he felt insecure as a New Canadian—and he was faced with midlife crises to boost. As a schoolboy, Coffey had been warned by old Father Cogley that boys who didn’t settle like everyone else would sink in this world and the next, "because that class of boy is unable to accept his God-given limitations…has no love of God in him…is an ordinary, lazy lump and his talk of finding adventures is only wanting an excuse to get away and commit mortal sins." (The Luck of Ginger Coffey, 18) Coffey dreamed of a world in which "all men had reached the top of the hill; there were no dull jobs, no humiliating interviews, no turndowns; no man was saddled with ungrateful daughters, there were unlimited funds to spend…You were free." (40) Indeed, Coffey was a dreamer who longed for personal freedom.
Having hopped from job to job because he detested being a "glorified office boy," (13) Coffey could not face the "misleading facts of a life" (7) and he was unprepared to scale the steep ascent to a successful career. While hunting for a job, Ginger Coffey noticed that "all day he had been going hat in hand to younger men." (27) He resented the fact that Mr. H.E. Khan and the man in Unemployment office were younger than he was. After all, doesn’t experience in life mean much more? At Canada Nickel, when Mr. Beauchemin refused to give him a job, Coffey suffered a blow to his self-confidence as he managed to stammer, "But—but we New Canadians…I mean, we can’t all be boys of twenty, can we? We have to start somewhere?" (25) Coffey envied Gerry Grosvenor. Gerry was a "social sort and popular," but he too was among the "lame," for he was a selfish man who wanted his friend’s wife for himself. Gerry was rich and successful, and Coffey felt insecure around this Canadian—the "last thing in the world Coffey wanted was for Gerry to start looking down on him." (28) And looked down upon he was. Not only by Gerry who called him an "Irish ape," (189) but also by MacGregor from The Tribune and by Eileen, Colonel Kerrigan’s daughter. MacGregor cared naught for the Irish, and he felt that Coffey should be contented with being hired as a "galley slave," never mind a promotion to a reporting job! Eileen, on the other hand, had danced with Coffey the past winter at Shelbourne Hotel in Ireland....