Term of Award

Summer 2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Howard Keeley

Committee Member 1

Joe Pellegrino

Committee Member 2

John Murray

Committee Member 3



This thesis addresses the complex relationship between fathers and sons in three highly successful literary texts that grapple with Irish nationalism: Sydney Owenson's The Wild Irish Girl, J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World, and Hugo Hamilton's The Speckled People. Each text comes from a different historical moment, but each of these moments is distinguished by major change, a change so paradigm-shifting as to be worthy of the adjective millennial. While many literary critics have paid huge attention to the figure of Ireland as mother - and, indeed, Ireland in other female roles (Old Woman, beautiful young queen, fabulous Sky Woman) - few have interrogated what role dynamic father-son relationships have in stories; whether novels or plays, conscious of shifting political, social, and cultural realities in Ireland. It is with in this vacuum that I propose the literary device, the father and son trope, as an effective means for developing a discourse on the power struggle that is colonialism.