Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 193
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe was published in 1992. It tells the story of Francis "Francie" Brady, a young boy struggling to process the violence that defined Ireland in the 1960s. To cope, Francie creates a fantasy world to escape his abusive father and mentally ill mother. The book follows Francie's mental deterioration.
All the beautiful things in this world are lies. They count for nothing in the end.
Disillusion is a prominent theme in The Butcher Boy. As he grows, Francie becomes more cynical, and his inability to cope leads to violence.
Hello there dandelions, fuck off! Chop go the heads with a cut of the stick excuse me just what do you think you're doing clip clip chop chop aaargh! what the fuck is going on where's our heads? Hee-yup!, I said and away again.
This quote is an example of how Francie's mental state worsens throughout the novel. His psychosis mirrors and emphasizes his disillusionment.
Eventually, Francie's mental state becomes so imbalanced he is sent to a mental institution. This does little to help him. Upon his release, he commits a violent murder, is captured, and is sent to prison.
Unlock This Study Guide Now
- 30,000+ book summaries
- 20% study tools discount
- Ad-free content
- PDF downloads
- 300,000+ answers
- 5-star customer support