Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jonathan Greenberg

Committee Member

David Galef

Committee Member

Daniel Bronson


Analyzing the colonial/postcolonial significance of Irish homes in James Joyce’s Ulysses, Samuel Beckett’s Molloy, and Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds requires an analysis of the spaces outside the home and the underworld each of the main characters traverses. These three interrelated spaces, and the characters’ experiences in them, reveal distinct versions of Ireland in each novel. An analysis of Ulysses unveils an Ireland of self-alienation and figurative exile in each space, which seems to lead to an actual exile. Examining Molloy reveals an Ireland of intense attraction and repulsion, which results in perpetual colonial-like oppression and psychological paralysis. And a study of At Swim- Two-Birds uncovers alienation which blooms into an acceptance of Irishness, as a manifestation of personal and national identity. Because Beckett’s and O’Brien’s books are in conversation with Joyce’s, this thesis highlights several similar themes, but ultimately acknowledges three distinct versions of Ireland and Irishness.

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