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Da Historical Context

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Irish History

Leonard's play makes reference to several key events in the history of Ireland. In act 1, Charlie explains to the ghost of Da that he had told Drumm of Da's grandfather and two uncles "starving in the Famine." Da replies, "Oh, aye. Them was hard times. They died in the ditches." To which Charlie, incredulous, replies, "What ditches? I made it up!"

Charlie is referring to the Irish Potato Famine, also called the Great Potato Famine, or the Great Irish Famine, of 1845-1849. Crop failures caused by a blight resulted in massive starvation among poor Irish, who relied primarily on potatoes for their diet. The British government, however, was negligent in providing aid to the starving Irish The population of Ireland was reduced by about half, either directly or indirectly, as a result of the famine.

In act 2, as Charlie sorts through his father's papers, Da complains...

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This section contains 716 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Da Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Da from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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