How is cultural identity crucial in understanding Translations? I have snippets of points, but I'm having problems working out a strong, concise thesis. For instance, cultural identity is defined through many factors—including language, and within Translations, there is a power struggle between the English and Irish, based on the erosion of Irish culture by forcing the English language on the community. But how is the concept of cultural identity crucial in understanding Translations? And can I have some guidance in transforming my above point into a strong thesis?

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Your initial point, focusing on the power struggle between the English and Irish based on the erosion of Irish identity, is on the right track. I'd try to focus on the preservation of Irish culture, which fuels that power struggle that you've already identified. As English becomes the dominant language, the hedge-school is the last bastion of Irish identity, as it teaches Gaelic and even Latin. This bulwark against the encroaching English identity creates a struggle that is reflected in the play's characters as love interests form, separated by language. Understanding the concept of cultural identity, as you have asked, is understanding why that power struggle exists. During this time, Irish identity (language, culture, etc.) was not only seen as identity but as a form of resistance. Therefore, capitulating on language meant succumbing to the erasure of Irish national identity. In this way, Translations uses language as a literary tool to address a wider concept and the theme of the play.

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I think that you are on the right track with your thoughts.  My guess is if you continue thinking about them, you will no doubt come across a good thesis statement.  In looking at the issue of cultural identity in Friel's work, I cannot help but feel that the dynamic between the national English speaking school and the small, countryside hedge- school of Gaelic speaking instruction is where cultural identity discussions can go.  The fact that Gaelic is still being taught in a setting where English is encroaching is a powerful element.  It might help to reaffirm what cultural identity means in a setting that is becoming devoid of it.  As English spreads and homogenizes its speakers, the patterns of recognition become more global and more wide ranging, causing the individual nuance of verbal cultural identity to disappear in favor of something that is more universally accepted.  The fact that language is a critical metaphor for cultural identity helps to enhance this idea.  When progress is linked with universality that reduces the power of individual nuance, what happens to cultural patterns of recognition?  This work is a great prophecy for the globalization that was to grip the 21st Century, and the same discussions seem to be emerging in the drama as is happening now.  The reality is that cultural identity becomes a critical point in understanding what both happens in the play and its overall theme.

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