Fiction 2

Download PDF by John McGahern: Amongst Women

By John McGahern

ISBN-10: 0571225640

ISBN-13: 9780571225644

Moran is an outdated Republican whose existence is reworked perpetually through his days of glory as a guerrilla chief within the conflict of Independence. Now, in outdated age, residing out within the kingdom, Moran continues to be struggling with in a fight to return to phrases with the prior.

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Only in the case of Kees, the big-breasted blonde daughter, the alarm remains mute. Since most members carried a weapon, the guard asks her whether she has none. No, Kees replies in a seductive tone, but ‘you are permitted to search me anyway,’ which clearly hints at her sexual availability for men. In this scene as well as in several others, Kees uses her body as a sexual commodity in such an obvious manner that it might offend anyone with only the slightest feminist sensibilities. Those who regard sexism as a serious and problematic issue will be inclined to reject the comic value of such a scene, but as the suggestion runs, those who laugh heartily are apparently more indifferent to sexism.

But now let me explain why this laughter can also be termed subversive, and here I refer to one of the most thought-provoking books written on comedy, Alenka Zupancic’s The Odd One In (2008), in which she tries to reconsider common notions about humour and laughter from a predominantly Lacanian angle. The point of a comedy, she claims, is not to convince us that we are ‘only human,’ endowed with regrettably weak and fallible characteristics. As Lacan has claimed, the laughing stock is not the simpleton who erroneously believes he is a king, but the king who really believes he is a king (Zupancic, 32), which she translates, in different wording, into: The biggest fool is the one who will do anything not to be fooled (84).

The mayor of Zonnedael, however, behaves in an opportunistic way for he misuses the exchange programme to get rid of the troublesome family. One might argue that he does his own community a great service – as a mayor is supposed to do – but it is also a foul trick at the expense of the American guests. Because of the cross-cutting between the mayor’s office and the ruined residence of the Flodders, we understand the mayor’s vicious strategy in selling his guests a pup. We know what the Americans do not know (yet), namely that the mayor has told them a lie: the pictures of the Flodders were not of them at a costume party, but of them in their habitual clothing.

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Amongst Women by John McGahern


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