• Philomena and Ireland’s Mother-and-baby Homes

    Malin Lidström Brock (see profile)
    English Literature, Film Studies, Irish Literature and Culture
    Biography, Motion pictures--Social aspects, Irish--Social life and customs, Ireland, History
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Biopics, Irish-american identity, Irish mother-and-baby homes, Martin Sixsmith, Stephen Frears, Adaptation, Film and society, Irish culture, Irish history
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    This chapter examines the portrayal of Ireland's mother-and-baby homes in Stephen Frear’s film Philomena (2013) and the biography on which the film is based, the British journalist Martin Sixsmith's account of Philomena Lee's life and search for her son, who was given up to an American couple for adoption under coercive circumstances. Enforced adoptions have long been a part of Irish life that was silenced within official discourse, just as the women themselves were silenced under a blanket of shame and denial within a form of patriarchal nationalism. Cultural representations, such as film and trauma biography, will of course tend towards certain structures of storytelling that re-veal in dramatic form the deep emotional wounds inflicted on the survivors, yet these accounts are often challenged by an official discourse as shallow and untrustworthy. This chapter explores the conflicts and paradoxes that emerge when attempts to give a voice to the silenced or marginalized are made in fictional form. For all their shortcomings, however, such efforts have begun a process of forcing a re-evaluation of Ireland's narratives of nationhood through the twentieth century
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    2 years ago
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