Paradoxical Rural Imagination of Ireland and Its Cause in The Great Hunger

Weigui ZHOU


The Great Hunger, masterpiece of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh’s, stands for his great achievement in poetry. The narrative poem, both lyrical and realistic, portrays the mediocre and repressed life of Patrick Maguire, a typical Irish peasant. The careful contrived tension the poet created lies in the fact that Maguire is both closely related to and helplessly subjected to the natural world. The paradoxical situation is brought by the loss of balance between human nature and the natural world, exemplified by the heavy sexual repression under rigid religious life and abnormal maternity. The morbidity in representation of nature originates from the repression of human nature.


Patrick kavanagh; Ireland; The Great Hunger; Sexual repression; Pastoral

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