Philadelphia, Here I Come! Quotes
by Brian Friel

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It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles.

This is Gar Public, the public side of Gar O' Donnell, the side that people get to see, hear, and talk about. Gar's about to emigrate to the United States—to Philadelphia, to be precise. Gar has a very strained relationship with his father, little better than that between a boss and his employee. It's not surprising, then, that Gar should seek to establish some kind of mythical connection with the mother he never knew.

The above quotation comes from the Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke, who was referring to Marie Antoinette. Gar's idealizing his mother in much the same way as Burke did with the Queen of France. He does this to expel unpleasant thoughts from his mind and to escape from a fraught relationship with his father by retreating into a fantasized past.

And when you think of a bugger like that, you want to get down on your knees and thank God for aul Screwballs.

At the same time, Gar does want to have a better relationship with his father, or "Screwballs," to use the less than complimentary nickname used for him. Thankfully, this task is made somewhat easier by the fact that Gar Private—the private side of Gar O'Donnell—absolutely despises the snobbish Senator Doogan for breaking up his relationship with the Senator's daughter. Gar may not have the best relationship in the world with his father, but at least he's not that "bugger" Senator Doolan.

It must have been near daybreak when he got to sleep last night. I could hear the bed creaking.

The above quote is Madge Mulhern referring to Gar's father, S. B. ("Screwballs"). It indicates that, despite his estranged relationship with his son, he does still harbor some concerns about Gar's imminent departure for America. The fact that S. B. only managed to get to sleep around daybreak suggests that he's been lying awake in bed worrying about his son's forthcoming emigration.

You'll never regret it. I gather it's a vast restless place that doesn't give a curse about the past; and that's the way things should be....

(The entire section is 561 words.)