Essay on Mary Beckett's "A Belfast Woman".

Essay by dnaomi01A, December 2005

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"Belfast Woman" is a short story of an elderly woman, Mrs Harrison, who lives as a Catholic in a street where mainly Protestants own most of the houses. She has to face many difficulties to live on in a country where religion has such a great effect on people's life.

The story starts with a so called " in medias res ", as Mrs Harrison gets the threatening letter and reader is initiated in the Irish events without any real fact just he can guess from the feelings of the woman and her memories.

Then we can hear the story of the old lady's life as she recalls her memories while sitting in the kitchen with her letter. The first of all, she recalled her first negative experience of the Catholic Protestant opposition, when her family were burned in 1921: "I ran down in my nightgown and my mother was standing in the middle of the kitchen with her hands up to her face screaming and screaming, and the curtains were on fire and my father was pulling them down and stamping on them with the flames catching the oilcloth on the floor.

Then he shouted, Sadie, the children, and she stopped screaming and said,"Oh, God, Michel, the children, and she ran upstairs and came down with the baby in one arm and Joey under the other, and my father took Joey in his arms and me by the hand and we ran out along the street." In the background of these rebellious movements were that the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in 1921, giving Ireland the statys of Free State within the Commonwealth. It was unaccaptable to the Irish since they were just symbolicly a Free State due to the Brithish control and military dominance over them. Moreover, the Irish...