What is the impact of immigration on the protagonist's psychological status in the novel Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín?

The impact of immigration on the protagonist’s psychological status in Brooklyn is deep and distressing, as though it has separated her from her own sense of herself.

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To gauge the impact of immigration on the protagonist’s psychological status in Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn, one will have to identify the protagonist. The protagonist is the main character of a story. Most of the narrative’s events and developments connect to them. In Brooklyn, the protagonist, the main character, is Eilis Lacey. The story follows Eilis from Ireland to New York, back to Ireland, and then, finally, back to New York.

Throughout her journey, her immigrant status impacts her psychological condition. Before she even travels to New York, the mere thought of being an immigrant induces anxious, fearful thoughts. She’s worried that she’ll never regain her life in Enniscorthy. She’s concerned that the move will make her a permanent alien. When she leaves, she’ll turn into a person without a true home.

Once she's in Brooklyn, immigration continues to torment Eilis’s psyche. She refers to herself as a “nobody” and a “ghost.” In her mind, it’s like immigration has removed her personhood. She doesn’t feel like a real, concrete person. Her distraught psychological state results in a detached bodily state. In New York, it’s as if nothing can physically grab hold of her. She describes her new setting as “empty” and “false.” Even the person she eventually marries feels like “a dream.”

Overall, based on the above examples, it’s quite safe to conclude that the impact of immigration on Eilis’s psychological state is palpable and disorienting.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

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