Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Weep for Our Pride" by James Plunkett

"Weep For Our Pride" by James Plunkett (1977, 11 pages)

The Irish Quarter-Year Two
A Celebration of the Irish Short Story
March 11 to July 1

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Please consider joining us for the very extended Irish Short Story Week Year Two.   All participants are asked to do is to post on an Irish Short Story and let me know about it.   You can also post about a book related to the Irish Short Story.   If you like you are very welcome to do a guest post on my blog.   Just contact me if you are interested in this.   

James Plunkett (1920 to 2003, Dublin) had several jobs.   He started out as a clerk at the Dublin Gas Company, then became a trades union official, before settling down into his career in radio and writing.  His best known novel was Strumpet City first published in 1969.  (I have not read this but I wonder if this is his take on the women of Dublin?)   He also had two collections of short stories.  (There is a pretty good article on him here.)

You can almost feel the hatred the school teacher in this story has for the British.   He has set his young charges to memorizing a 17th century Irish poem about the cruelty of the British.   When one of the boy is shown to have made no effort to learn to recite the poem he is severely punished by the teacher (it hurt just to read about it).   He is told he has no pride in his heritage.  There is another issue of pride in the story when the boy's mother sends him to school in his father's boots and he ends up losing them in a fight with his school mates.
I read this story in William Trevor's anthology The Oxford Book of the Short Story.   There is another story by Plunkett in Frank O'Connor's Classic Irish Short Stories and I hope read it during Irish Short Story Week Year Three, which I hope will commence March 1, 20013.

Mel u

1 comment:

HKatz said...

I read this story recently. It's a painful and subtly powerful story, with some dark humor too. I agree with you on the different portrayals of pride in the story; they were done very well.

I loved how the scene was set up with the patriotic teacher striding through the room prompting the different boys to recite their lines. A great use of dialogue and character-building.

By the way, I found this story in an anthology called 44 Irish Short Stories (editor Devin Garrity)