Title

Identity, Self-Loathing, and the NeoColonial Condition: Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Publication Title

Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Volume

44

Issue

2

First page number:

196

Last page number:

212

Abstract

Patrick McCabe's novel is set in a small Irish town at the beginning of the 1960s, a turbulent time in the world at large (as references to the Cuban Missile Crisis and potential nuclear war underscore) and more specifically in neocolonial Ireland.1 The departure of the colonizer leads to a state of indeterminacy that is dictated by two conflicting impulses: to embrace the tenuous promise of prosperity left in the wake of the colonizer, or to “imagine” a unified past and reclaim a necessarily idealized “identity.” The struggles of Francie Brady in The Butcher Boy invoke both neocolonial Ireland's anguished residual relationship with the colonizer and its search for nationhood. Francie's ambivalent relationship with the community, his search for identity, his lack of a sense of history combined with an idealization of the past, his fascination with the life led by the Nugents as adopters and representatives of dominant culture values, and finally his own self-loathing all mirror the country's neocolonial condition. McCabe's novel, in effect, attempts to stretch neocolonial discourse to its limits, calling into question both notions of nationhood and cultural hybridity.

Controlled Subject

Postcolonialism in literature

Disciplines

English Language and Literature

Language

English

Rights

IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/


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