Last Reviewed on September 25, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 375
But now both pines and yachts have floated away and one day the high tide may very well meet over the narrowest part of the peninsula, made narrower by erosion.
The first few paragraphs of Troubles describe the once-grand Majestic Hotel and its surrounding landscape. Farrell uses descriptive language and symbolism to depict the hotel's fall from glory due to the erosive nature of time. Just as the beach is being eroded, the Majestic is eroding as well. The pines and yachts are symbols of affluence, evoking images of past summers when wealthy patrons would sail near the Majestic. Now, these signs of wealth and abundance have drifted away, just like the patrons themselves. From the beginning of the novel, the Majestic is depicted as a sad structure one bankruptcy away from becoming an abandoned building.
Slowly, though, as the years went by and the blood-pressure dropped, one by one, they died away.
Here, the narrator describes the last remaining loyal patrons of the hotel—elderly women who inch towards poverty, just like the Majestic. Both the women who still frequent the hotel and the hotel itself clinging to the past; both were once beautiful but are now old and holding onto delusions of grandeur. The fact that the patrons of the hotel have gradually died away highlights the fact that the Majestic is on its way to its own demise; and yet the hotel has shown remarkable resilience over the years, refusing to shut down completely in spite of the troubles outside.
The man was dying here in the Palm Court as he nervously discussed the abomination of Sinn Fein.
The man to whom the narrator here refers is Mr. O'Reilly, the solicitor for the Spencer family, who is dying of cancer. Mr. O'Reilly is Irish and politically sympathetic to the province of Ulster in Northern Ireland, which contained a majority population of Protestant loyalists to Great Britain. In fact, the Majestic's Irish clientele has historically been largely composed of affluent loyalists who cannot relate to their lower- and middle-class countrymen. This emphasizes the social and political bubble represented by the Majestic: a stronghold of imperial Britain standing on its last legs as the Irish War of Independence brews just outside the hotel's doors.
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