Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland Themes

Patrick Radden Keefe
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Adaptation

Adaptation is a major theme in Say Nothing, with author Patrick Radden Keefe demonstrating through his choice of anecdotes and through his writing that humans are capable of adapting to nearly anything, even sectarian warfare. Adaptation is thus a feature of human existence which prevails even in the darkest time. Keefe’s focus on adaptation is evident in Book 1 of Say Nothing, when he explores the way in which ordinary Belfast residents changed their lifestyles to suit their suddenly-violent environments. The McConville family is the paradigmatic example of this.

In run-down, violence-prone areas such as Divis Flats, where the McConville children lived, snipers, shooters, and homemade bombs were known to cause chaos at a moment’s notice, yet Belfast residents could not simply give up on their lives and cease going about their daily routines. As Keefe, explains, warfare does not cause one to give up one’s...

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This section contains 2,099 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland Study Guide
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