Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Dancing At Lughnasa and Lies of Silence

Category Dancing, Love
Essay type Research
Words 1057 (4 pages)
Views 352

The three texts that I have studied on my comparative course are the novel, Lies of Silence by Brian Moore, the playwright, Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel and the film, Il Postino by Michael Radford. The theme or issue that I have studied is love and marriage. The authors of the texts used key moments to heighten our awareness of love and marriage. In Dancing at Lughnasa, the main moment in which we can see love is when Chris and Gerry dance. This has a somewhat romantic aspect, although their love relationship is unstable and they are not married.

Gerry does not pay much attention to his love child, which he had with Chris – Michael. This is evident from all of the unkept promises he made to him – the most memorable being a bicycle “I’ll get you a bike”. Similarly, the love relationship between Beatrice and Mario in Il Postino has an unmistakable romantic quality to it. The romantic aspect to Gerry’s relationship with Chris is apparent when they dance together. However, the fact that this relationship consists only of the occasional romantic interlude means that it never really develops.

The romantic aspect of Mario and Beatrice’s love and marriage is more pronounced and spontaneous. However, there is no evidence of a romance ever taking place between Michael and Moire in Lies of Silence, as we are very aware of his reasons for marrying her – the way she looked and the way other men envied him. It is also clear that there never will be romance between them as Michael is having an affair with a young Canadian journalist called Andrea. Another key moment that heightens my awareness of love is in Il Postino when Pablo Neruda and Mario go to the cafe, which is run by Beatrice’s aunt Gloria.

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This suggests to Beatrice that Neruda and Mario are intimate friends. Neruda’s influence ultimately proves critical – by teaching Mario about metaphors, he enables him to conquer Beatrice’s heart with romantic language. This is the main moment and is the reason why Beatrice acknowledges Mario in the first place – in turn starting the whole relationship. In contrast to the other two texts, only in Il Postino does a third party intervene to develop a loving relationship Il Postino is imilarly unique in terms of another character (Beatrice’s aunt) endeavouring to bring an end to their relationship. She puts a cynical interpretation on Mario’s metaphorical language, telling Beatrice: “When a man starts to touch you with his words, he’s not far off with his hands”. While it may be argued that in Dancing at Lughnasa Kate opposes Gerry’s relationship with Chris in a similar manner, she still acknowledges the positive aspects of Gerry’s influence on her sister “Her whole face alters when she’s happy, doesn’t it?

They dance so well together”. This makes me aware of the different kinds of love in the texts – Gerry and Chris and a sisterly love. From the outset of both Lies of Silence and Dancing at Lughnasa it is clear that the key personal relationships in both texts rest on frail foundations because neither is built on genuine love. In Lies of Silence, the frailty of Michael’s marriage to Moire is evident from an early point in the text when we see his preoccupations with Andrea, the young Canadian journalist with whom he is having an affair.

In Dancing At Lughnasa Gerry’s relationship with Chris is even more fragile as he comes and goes as it suits him and proves to be utterly unreliable, even being unaffected by the presence of the “love child” (whom he barely knows) he has had with Chris. In contrast to both of these texts, the marriage between Mario and Beatrice is actually based on genuine love. By reading and studying, the theme of love and marriage in all three texts made me aware of the realistic state of and the lack of love in, some marriages.

Another key moment is in Lies of Silence when Michael is forced to choose between his wife and a few strangers in the hotel, which he managed. This key moment portrays a sense of betrayal in love and marriage. Michael finds himself in a real predicament. He places Moire’s life in danger by deciding to ring the police. This key moment is the climax of the text as it shows us that Michael really does not feel any emotion for Moire at all. This is the significant point where the breakdown of communication is in clear focus. On the other hand, in Dancing at Lughnasa, Agnes and Rose emigrate to London in order to save their family.

This shows two contrasting love relationships. As well as that, both Lies of Silence and Dancing at Lughnasa’s main key moments are at the end of the texts where their destinations are decided. Both Michael’s relationship with Moire (Lies of Silence) and Gerry’s relationship with Chris (Dancing at Lughnasa) ultimately end unhappily, causing the female protagonists considerable anguish, with their inner pain in both cases involving a degree of depression. The last key moment in Lies of Silence in relation to love and marriage is when Michael decides to leave with his mistress for London and says his goodbyes to Moire.

Similarly, the last key moment in Dancing at Lughnasa in relation to this theme of love and marriage is when Gerry leaves to fight in the Spanish civil war never to return to Chris and his son Michael. Moire suffers from bulimia before she marries Michael, but their failed marriage inevitably compounds her personal problems. Chris’ failed relationship with Gerry similarly causes her great distress, with Kate vividly recalling her sister’s torment the previous winter: “Remember last winter? – all that sobbing and lamenting in the middle of the night?

She predicts that Chris will again “collapse into one of her depressions” after Gerry leaves. In contrast to both of the other texts, Mario’s loving relationship with Beatrice ends happily – however the last key moment in terms of the theme is Mario’s unfortunate death at the hands of fate leaving Beatrice isolated and alone along with the other two main female protagonists. In conclusion, the authors’ use of key moments has helped heighten my awareness of love and marriage – showing both its positive and negative aspects. By Caroline Heraghty - scored a B2 [pic]

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