Edwin O'Connor David Dillon - Essay

David Dillon

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Except for Benjy (1957) and his first novel, The Oracle (1951), a jejune satire on radio commentators, [Edwin O'Connor] wrote exclusively about Eastern, urban (Boston), Irish-American Catholics, and primarily about the effects of acculturation on their politics, religious beliefs, and family life. He concentrates on a late period of Irish-American history, approximately 1948–1968, with few immigrants or ghettos, when the battles against poverty, discrimination, and the Yankee establishment had already been won, and when, as a result, "nobody felt very Irish any more, or had much reason to." The dominant theme in his novels is the death of Irishness. Many of his characters have made it in America at the...

(The entire section is 2367 words.)