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Belfast, a Divided City: A Study on Christina Reid's The Belle of the Belfast City

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2014, 27(2), pp.209-244
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Yumi Hong 1

1명지대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

By focusing on Christina Reid and her play The Belle of the Belfast City, this paper aims to draw attention to the women playwrights in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, who have been actively involved in portraying the conflict in Northern Ireland and tackling the issue of Irish sectarian tensions but have been unjustly and relatively ignored. In The Belle of the Belfast City, Reid foregrounds Belfast sectarianism and tensions within the Protestant community by focusing on the lives of three generations of women in Horner family—a Protestant Unionist family—as a microcosm of Belfast and Northern Ireland. With the anti-Anglo-Irish Agreement rally as a political setting for the play, Belle, “an Anglo/Irish Yank” and a grand-daughter of the Horner family, visits Belfast and experiences the sectarian conflict and violence of Belfast—a divided city. This paper explores Reid’s dramatization of Belfast sectarianism and Troubles of Northern Ireland by examining the family members’ discussion over the political issues and their involvement in the ‘otherization’ process. Besides sectarian ‘otherization’ of Catholics and Protestants, Reid places women as ‘Others’ and introduces the issue of racism through the new ‘Other’ figure—Belle who embodies a modern notion of hybridity and ‘new Irishness’ in Belfast. In The Belle of the Belfast City, Reid gives voices to the women characters to talk freely over political issues from the female point of view, and shows women’s granting priority to loyalty to the family over the dominant political loyalty to the unionist cause. Reid successfully adds a ‘matrilineal narrative’ to the traditional patrilineal one on the Irish stage.

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