A Day in the Dark Historical Context

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The Decline of the Big Houses

After civil war broke out in Ireland in 1921, ancestral homes known as Big Houses went into decline. They were owned by the Anglo-Irish, British Protestants who made up the occupation governing class in Ireland and who had taken the land away from the Irish Catholics. During the war, many of these homes, like Bowen's Court, Elizabeth Bowen's family estate, were either taken over by soldiers or destroyed by anti-British mobs who regarded them as symbols of social and economic oppression.

Richard Tillinghast, in his article on Bowen, writes that she "was born into a Protestant ascendancy that rose to power and distinction in the eighteenth century and went into decline by the late nineteenth." Tillinghast reveals the influence this movement had on her when he concludes, "The alienation of the Anglo-Irish landowner, set above and isolated from the 'native' population, is a...

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This section contains 499 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Day in the Dark Study Guide
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