Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

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What does the narrative voice say in the last stanza of "Translation" by Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, and what is the effect of this change?

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The narrative voice changes in the last stanza of Eilean Ni Chuilleanain's poem “Translation” because she is referring to one of the nuns who ran the laundries and held the keys to such a facility where the "fallen" women were incarcerated at this time.

In addition to the women working in these facilities, the nun has her say, and her voice can be heard releasing her duties as a prison guard. Like the women she ruled over, it is remarkable that the nun says that she, too, had a temporary name. The parasite and "spell" that grew within the nun has expired, so she no longer has the desire to rule over her charge. The effect of this change is that the nun can now also rest in peace.

In this last stanza, the author shows compassion for the incarcerated women, along with the nuns, as her opinion is that the Church is the scapegoat for society's wish to be rid of these women. Those who supported the laundries have escaped the rightful blame for the captive women's demise, as a result of the nuns who took charge over these unwanted women.

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The narrative voice changes in the last stanza of the poem. What is the voice saying, and what is the effect of this change?

"Translation" was written about reburial of the remains of former inmates of a Magdalene home. The change of narrative voice in the last stanza is related to the identity of the different individuals involved in the Magdalene homes or laundries. Particular nuns carried keys, functioning as prison guards.

Even though the sisters had authority over the "sinful" women, or unwed mothers, their choices were also limited. The sisters and workers changed their names and identities when they entered the convents and work "homes."

When the key keeper relinquishes her post, it seems here that she speaks of the effects of the experience. Like someone infested or possessed with a parasite or a spell she was not her full self. Leaving her job or life itself will bring her the peace that eluded them all when confined in the home.

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