Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Alienation is the central predicament in the short fiction of Irish writer, John McGahern. On the whole, however, the stories do not represent and explore particular forms and origins of alienated consciousness. Rather, the stories emphasize the human struggle to find meaning in an inherently alien world. The disinterest McGahern's work displays in pursuing definitive answers, and hence techniques to overcome alienation, suggests that alienation is a constant aspect of the human condition. And this basic axiom is complemented by the inconclusive quality of his stories.
Of greater concern in McGahern's short fiction is how alienation motivates the symbolic power of the imagination because to reflect, perceive and envision are the only means to mitigate estrangement. Even though alienation, ultimately, is inescapable, imagining and creating stories are life-giving activities which sympathetically and patiently reveal, from a limited glimmer of light, 'natural processes of living' in one's own life as well as others. McGahern's stories celebrate the human struggle to find meaning in the world.
Copp, Andrew Richard, "THE MOVING IMAGE IN JOHN McGAHERN'S SHORT STORIES" (1994). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5898.
McMaster University Library