Brooklyn (Colm Toibin) Essay.

Words: 1449
Pages: 6

“Understanding the Cultural Context allows you to see how the values and attitudes of characters are shaped”

Cultural context reveals the world of the text. It shows us how the world impinges upon the lives of the characters. The novel I have studied is Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Throughout the text we see many examples of the values of society. The position of women, men and family intrinsically establish the central characters in a specific position. The text has a dual setting between the 1950’s Catholic Ireland and the post world war two world of Brooklyn, America. The two locations help to expose the contrasting values and attitudes of the characters in their world.

The role of women in society is vital for my understanding of
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In my opinion, the Catholic Church has a substantial influence on Ms. Kehoe compared to Eilis because Eilis marries Tony, but cheats on him in Ireland with Jim. This is against Catholic Church’s teachings but that does not seem to influence Eilis in any way. In the end, she decides to go back to Tony. This might be because she realizes she has sinned, and because of the influence of the Church on her values, she cannot divorce Tony, she has to accept her life in Brooklyn instead.

Power is an extremely important factor in the cultural context of 1950’s Ireland and Brooklyn. The power structure in society is the Catholic Church. It helps shape the values of the characters, as many of them live their lives by the Church’s beliefs. Eilis’ mother is an example of this, as she hardly knows Father Flood but immediately trusts him because he is a member of the Catholic Church. He has the power in society and the characters look up to him for guidance. Another position of power seems to be held by those with money. Throughout the book it seems to be an important factor, more so in Ireland then Brooklyn. People with money were treated superior to others, and a woman’s goal was to sustain a wealthy man. Those with money occupy certain positions of class. This can be seen in both societies. It was a very class structured society, with the Church and people with money at the top. Our first example of this is when Eilis