Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts of English



First Advisor

Jeffers, Jennifer

Second Advisor

Karem, Jeff

Third Advisor

Dyer, Gary

Subject Headings

Irish literature -- History and criticism -- 20th century, Politics and literature -- Northern Ireland -- History -- 20th century, Literature and society -- Northern Ireland -- History -- 20th century, Political violence in literature, Social conflict in literature, Northern Ireland -- In literature


Many authors of modern Irish literary works challenge the rhetoric used to justify the continuation of conflict in Northern Ireland. One effective method used to accomplish this challenge is the dramatic depiction of violence. The depictions are notable in that they are designed to fall outside of, run counter to, or exceed the normative frameworks perpetuated by the dominant ideologies. They are formulated to promote social change by attacking the foundational fallacies used to validate the structural hegemony. Eoin McNamee and Kate O'Riordan use graphic depictions of violence and human destruction in their novels to expose some of the fallacies used to promote and sanction the continuing struggle. In Resurrection Man Eoin McNamee focuses on the role of those who commit the violence in the name of cultural preservation. He portrays a society beset by madmen committed to ethnic purification and cultural glorification. Kate O'Riordan's Involved is a discussion of the true nature of sectarian paramilitary vigilantism as a corruption of the innocence and a subversion of the order that it supposedly protects and sustains. Each of the two novels is essentially a literary abattoir designed to complicate the conceptual descriptions by which one might attempt to define violence in order to keep it at a safe distance. They are dialogues created to attract attention to the destructive nature of the continuing conflict in Northern Ireland and to clarify any misconceptions about the nobility of the struggle.