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Dancing at Lughnasa Essay

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Leah Ryan is a writer and a teacher of dramatic writing with an MFA in playwriting. In the following essay, Ryan examines the effect of the loss of meaningful ritual in the lives of the characters in Dancing at Lughnasa.

Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa, written in 1990, surrounds the lives of five grown sisters in rural Ireland in 1936. Though the eldest sister, Kate, struggles to maintain a hard-working, god-fearing Catholic household, Ireland's pagan origins beckon constantly, and the tension between the two ideologies threatens the family's already tenuous harmony. The characters have many unrequited longings (such as romantic love and material possessions) but the lack of religious or spiritual ritual is conspicuous.

Brian Friel was born the son of a Catholic teacher in County Tyrone, Ireland in 1929. He is known not only as a playwright but also as a theatre director and a short story writer. He now lives...

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This section contains 2,051 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Dancing at Lughnasa Study Guide
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