The Rising of the Moon

by Isabella Augusta Persse

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In "The Rising of the Moon," who does the singer reveal himself as?

Quick answer:

In "The Rising of the Moon," the singer initially introduces himself as "Jimmy Walsh," a ballad seller. However, as the narrative unfolds, he reveals his true identity as an Irish rebel sought by the English government. Interestingly, he spends most of the story in conversation with a Sergeant involved in the manhunt, who doesn't recognize him. By the end, the Sergeant discovers his hidden Irish sympathies and allows the rebel to escape.

Expert Answers

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The singer, a man in ragged clothing, first identifies himself as "Jimmy Walsh", a ballad singer who only wants to sell some songs to sailors landing at the wharf.  By the end of the story, he reveals himself to be an escaped political criminal, an Irish rebel whose face is displayed on wanted posters and who is the object of an intense manhunt being conducted by the English government.  The irony of the story is that through the bulk of the narrative, the singer is speaking with a Sergeant who is involved in the search but does not recognize that the ragged man with whom he is conversing is the fugitive.  By the end of the story, the singer has brought the Sergeant to recognize unacknowledged Irish sympathies within himself, so when the rebel reveals whom he really is, the Sergeant allows him to escape.

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