The Dancers Dancing

First and foremost I feel like this story has started off everywhere. I do not know what is going to happen next. Not in the sense of the author keeping me guessing, but with each chapter being about totally different situations. The only thing that I seem to be of any conflict so far is Sandra not being able to live with Orla and Aisling. I can see future problems coming up in the story with this one situation specifically.

Something else that I’ve noticed is the relationship that Aisling and Orla have with Jacqueline and Pauline. The two pairs seem to keep going back and forth with each other. Like in the beginning when the girls first met, Jacqueline and Pauline were not very nice to Orla and Aisling; but Orla and Aisling seemed to get the girls back with a teacher announced the classes and standings of the girls. Orla and Aisling are apart of a higher class than the other two girls. Even though the girls are treating each other this way, it seems like they secretly want to friends. On page 49 it says, “…pleased to be pulled back into Pauline’s circle…” This is almost like Orla and Aisling do want to have a friendship with Jacqueline and Pauline even though they act snotty towards each other.

This story so far has reminded me of the story The Connor Girls in a way. The girl in The Connor Girls wanted to go to the party so bad, but in the end wanted to be back with her mother. In this story these girls have been sent off to school, but would rather be back with their mothers as well. On page 50 where Pauline broke out into a chant saying, “They say that in the Gaeltacht ; The food is very fine ; You ask for Coca-Cola and ; They give you turpentine ; I don’t want no more of Gaeltacht life! ; Gee ma, I wanna go! ; Where do you wanna go? ; Gee ma I wanna go ; Home!” Basically the girls want to be home.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. fairlady0214
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 18:14:47

    In addition to the classist overtone suggested in the novel, the themes of gender and racism are used to enhance the readers understanding of how a woman’s social status plays into her world-view in terms of identity and reverence to traditional norms.
    This is best exemplified through Orla’s mother, Elizabeth. When reflecting on her home-life, Orla sees her mother as a perfectionist as she is particular on the condition of her home. Everything has a place and chores have to be done just-so. Moreover, all domestic decisions are made by Elizabeth, indicating her superior position within the home. Orla’s father is introduced as well, to elaborate on women’s role as care-giver being of foremost importance as expressed in the Irish constitution. Although Tom, is deemed as on the low wrung of the social ladder in his job as brick-layer, he still enjoys the benefits afforded to his gender in ownership and freedoms such as owning and driving a car.
    The irony is that Elizabeth’s superiority in the home is also the source of her inferiority. Though Orla acknowledges how she depends on her mother to meet all her needs, she simultaneously resents the traditional social norms that have relegated her to the second-class position of women. This is reiterated through driving and Orla’s determination and that she will be a driver. Orla’s desire to escape traditional expectations while her mother clings to the traditional role of women directly correlates with the sections of Northern and Southern Ireland. The former possesses a tendency to break with the traditional norms choosing to embrace modernity while the latter, like Elizabeth, holds strong to tradition underscored by the Irish constitution.
    The “other” is introduced to the reader in racism. Again, Elizabeth is utilized to show how traditional norms define how she perceives others. One of the renters, possessing a dark complexion is compared to “coloureds.” However, it is stressed that he is not of color but Irish therefore allowing him admittance into their home as a woman of proper standing would never allow a minority into her sphere.

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  2. Travis Monroe
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 05:45:38

    I think you did a good job of looking for foreshadowing here. There is a bit of mixed messages being sent because of this unique break up of chapters. This does tend to leave readers questioning where the story is headed at the beginning of the book, but we soon learn that this particular structure of chapters is extremely effective in the end. Your observation of the peculiar relationship between Orla and Aisling, and Pauline and Jacqueline is spot on. This relationship is very symbolic of the greater tensions going on in Northern Ireland. These two groups of girls are from different parts of the country, and come from different religious backgrounds. This conflict between the girls is representative of the greater conflict and violent behavior between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland in the 90’s. However, their deeper desire for friendship and peace is symbolic in that there really is no need for this violent conflict, and the childish innocence pulls through in logic.

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