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Miranda in Jennifer Johnston’s Fool’s Sanctuary

The Irish Psyche as Portrayed through Miranda in Jennifer Johnston’s Fool’s Sanctuary

In her novel Fool’s Sanctuary, Jennifer Johnston reflects on the Irish psyche and gives an insight into some of the factors that appear to create such a unique culture. This aspect of the novel is explored particularly through the novel’s protagonist, Miranda. She acts like a symbol, the embodiment of the typical Irish person. Miranda’s characteristics, attitudes and values are shaped by the influences of her country, therefore reflecting possibilities that typically set the Irish people apart. These characteristics include a symbolic and surreal outlook on life, a love of poetry and music, the importance placed on memories, a sense of humour, the way they love and an inability to accept happiness as reality.

Ireland is a spectacular island whipped by harsh weather, steeped in history and torn by wars that have raged for centuries and it is these aspects that contribute to the Irish psyche. Great Irish writers throughout history, such as Yeats and Joyce, have written about these influences in Ireland and the impact that they have on its people. Johnston equally explores similar concepts in Fools’ Sanctuary. It is a powerful story, Miranda’s story, showing how the turmoil in Ireland in the 1920’s affects an individual’s life and changes it irrevocably. Johnston’s delicate mixture of emotion and caustic observations provide a unique analysis of the Irish psyche. Furthermore, she explores the concept that many of the characteristics that are developed are fundamentally self-destructive. Miranda tries not to be affected by Ireland’s conflict and there are a number of ways in which she tries to escape. However, ultimately this only ends in h…

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…trayed by Johnston. However, Fool’s Sanctuary, not only serves as an exploration of the unique characteristics of the Irish people, it also serves as an explanation. It is an explanation, offering an insight into why certain traits are unique to the Irish psyche, what the traits could be attributed to and how they ultimately lead to self-destruction. Jennifer Johnston’s careful and powerful depiction of Ireland at the brink of war, is like a magnifying glass and when examined, it essentially reveals a unique portrayal of the Irish psyche.

The Student May Wish to begin the essay with one or more of the quotes below:

Out of Ireland we have come.

Great Hatred, little room,

maimed us at the start….. W.B. YEATS, 1931

The Irishman’s house is his coffin. J.A. JOYCE, 1922

Work Cited

Johnston, Jennifer. Fool’s Sanctuary London: Hamish Hamilton 1987

Structure in Hamlet

Structure in Hamlet

In Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet, what is the structure? Is it a two-part construction of Rising Action and then Falling Action? Is it a three-part construction? Or four parts? This essay will answer these questions and others related to structure.

A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy analyzes the structure of Shakespearean tragedy:

As a Shakespearean tragedy represents a conflict which terminates in a catastrophe, any such tragedy may roughly be divided into three parts. The first of these sets forth or expounds the situation, or state of affairs, out of which the conflict arises; and it may, therefore, be called the Exposition. The second deals with the definite beginning, the growth and the vicissitudes of the conflict. It forms accordingly the bulk of the play, comprising the Second, Third and Fourth Acts, and usually a part of the First and a part of the Fifth. The final section of the tragedy shows the issue of the conflict in a catastrophe. (52)

Thus the first step of the structure of Hamlet involves the presentation of a conflict-generating situation. Marchette Chute in “The Story Told in Hamlet” describes the beginning of the Exposition of the drama:

The story opens in the cold and dark of a winter night in Denmark, while the guard is being changed on the battlements of the royal castle of Elsinore. For two nights in succession, just as the bell strikes the hour of one, a ghost has appeared on the battlements, a figure dressed in complete armor and with a face like that of the dead king of Denmark, Hamlet’s father. A young man named Horatio, who is a school friend of Hamlet, has been told of the apparition and cannot believe it, and one of the officers has…

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…ive but Earnest Young Aristocrat.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Masks of Hamlet. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press

, 1992.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995.

West, Rebecca. “A Court and World Infected by the Disease of Corruption.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Court and the Castle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957.

Wright, Louis B. and Virginia A. LaMar. “Hamlet: A Man Who Thinks Before He Acts.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar. N. p.: Pocket Books, 1958.

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