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Sado-Masochism in Clare Boylan’s Home Rule and Holy Pictures

Author(s): Jeanette Roberts Shumaker

Journal: Estudios Irlandeses : Journal of Irish Studies
ISSN 1699-311X

Issue: 6;
Start page: 91;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Feminism | Sado-masochism | Boylan | Motherhood | Freud | Kristeva | Masse

In Holy Pictures (1983) and Home Rule (1993), Clare Boylan deconstructs the family dynamics of urban Ireland a century earlier, portraying mothers who contradict the Irish ideal of maternal selflessness. Boylan critiques the Irish family structure of the late 1800s and early 1900s by showing how it can pressure mothers to become sadists. In addition, Boylan complicates the stereotypical heterosexual romance by portraying cruel wives. This essay draws upon Freud, Julia Kristeva, Michelle Masse and other theorists to illuminate the sado-masochistic dynamics in Boylan’s novels.
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