Dancing at Lughnasa Questions and Answers
by Brian Friel

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“Their lives are of secret longings and shattered dreams.” Discuss this statement in reference to only two of the Mundy sisters.

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The Mundy sisters are key characters in Dancing At Lughnasa. The five Mundy sisters, Christina, Rosie, Kate, Agnes, and Maggie, all live in a cottage near Ballybeg, in Donegal County.

The play is told from the point of view of the adult Michael Evans, then only seven years old at the time of the story. Although all five of the sisters do their best, their 'secret longings' are never fulfilled and their 'shattered dreams' remain all that they have, despite their best efforts.

Christina Mundy

Christina is the youngest of the Mundy sisters; her son, Michael, the narrator of the story, is fathered by one Gerry Evans. Gerry is an absent husband and father. When he suddenly shows up one day, Chris feels angry, frustrated, and excited all at the same time. Yet, her boyfriend seems oblivious to the flurry of emotions he has inspired by his sudden presence.

Characteristically, he admits to Chris that his coming to Ballybeg is only by accident. He expects Chris to be happy to see him whenever he shows up, but has no inclination to make good on his obligations to her and to their son.

"Last night in a bar in Sligo. Bump into this chappie with a Brand new Morris Cowley who lets slip that he’s heading for Ballybeg in the morning. Ballybeg? Something familiar about That name! So. Here I am. In the flesh. As a matter of interest. Bit of good luck that, wasn’t it?"

In fact, Gerry acts like an old friend who has come for a friendly visit. For most of his interactions with Chris, his attitude is detached, nonchalant, and shallow. In his conversation, he tells Chris that he has been giving ballroom dancing lessons to 'thousands' and 'millions' of people, only to revise his final figures to fifty-one.

He then tells Chris that he is at present, a Minerva Gramophone salesman; however,  it doesn't look like he has sold a single gramophone. He admits that the extent of his success has only involved someone taking four brochures from him, but he hurriedly assures Chris that the individual is a customer in the making. He then starts insinuating that he has a rich store of experience to back up his claim that gramophones will always be popular....

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