Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Kinalty Castle

Kinalty Castle. Ancient Irish castle surrounded by a wall that is somehow symbolic of “neutral” Ireland. While the rest of the world is being sucked into the horrors of World War II, Ireland clings to bygone days and refuses to become engaged in the changing world. The castle is the epitome of old forms, with a rigid social separation of owner and servants. Also a museum of artful decoration with no meaning, it contains a facade with a pseudo-Greek temple and a deliberately ruined wall to give it an appearance of antique authenticity.

Castle interiors

Castle interiors. Many upstairs rooms in the castle are closed and filled with dusty sheeted furniture; however, the maids Edith and Kate open the rooms every few weeks to air them out. One day while they play a gramophone and waltz in one of these rooms, Charley Raunce, the former footman, now butler, hears the music, interrupts them, and turns it off. All Edith’s attempts to bring living forms into the castle are stifled. Seeking shelter from the rain one day, Edith and Mrs. Jack Tennant’s children and the pantry boy enter the Greek Temple lit only by dark skylights. There, the little group plays a game of blindman’s bluff, infusing life and joy among the bronze and marble statues, symbols of lives now cold and dead. Raunce interrupts this scene and coldly breaks up the game because he has not yet been transformed by Edith’s love and still...

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