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In relation to Brian Friel's play Dancing at Lughnasa two of the main issues/conflicts explored were
The Power of the Catholic Church
The Role of Women in Society
Dancing at Lughnasa is set in the fictional town of Ballybeg (this translates as "small town"), much of Friel's drama uses this setting as if to underscore the fact that this could be happening anywhere.
The Catholic Church in Ireland in the 1930's was very powerful, The Eucharistic Congress was held in Ireland in the early 1930's and this was accompanied by a groundswell of unquestioning support for the teaching of Catholicism, it is interesting to note that many of the bishops of Ireland were consulted as to the content and wording of Bunreacht na HEireann - the Irish Constitution.
This conflict plays out in two interesting ways in Dancing At Lughnasa. It is evident in the relationship between Kate and the Parish priest because he disapproves of Chris having a child and no husband. This would have been almost unheard of in the Ireland of the time. Many women would have been forced to have their children adopted and spend their lives in misery, often working for the clergy in terrible conditions such as enclosed laundry services. The power of the church is also evident in the shunning of Jack who has lost his religion and adopted the more tolerant and forgiving religion of his adopted country in Africa. On account of her family and their perceived "sins" Kate, the sole breadwinner of the Mundy family loses her job.
Emigration of young men was a major peoblem in the 1930's (one of the lean periods in European history) The result was that many women remained single. Single women were viewed as strange, odd and redundant in a country which has the family and family life at the centre of its constitution. In this respect the Mundys were objects of, if not ridicule, then certainly scorn.
You could also look at how traditional industry was being replaced by factory employed. This is evidenced by the opening of a knitting factory at one point in the play and the need for Rose and Agnes to emigrate.
I live in Ireland so it is difficult to know whether you are referring to RIGHT NOW or in the not too distant past.
The situation in Northern IReland remains precarious as all sides try to work out a way forward withing the context of Britain.
Ireland is suffering from the same global downturn as the rest of the world our problem here is exascerbated by the amount of toxic debt as a result of overlending on a massive scale by the banking sector.
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