Brooklyn Colm Toibin

3649 Words15 Pages
In Brooklyn, Colm Toibin’s main protagonist, Eilis Lacey, struggles with homesickness as she relives the typically Irish immigrant experience in America. Despite her desire to resettle, Eilis’s relationship with “home” shifts and changes as she struggles to come to terms with the consequences of living in two places – both physically and emotionally. Ambiguously, home represents a place of divided and uncertain loyalties. Even before her fate is decided, by Father Flood, an Irish priest who has emigrated to the United States, and by her sister, Rose and mother, Mrs Lacey, Eilis is aware that something is not quite right in her home town, Enniscorthy. In many ways, “home” seems to lack something that separates her from complete fulfilment and that continues to dog her throughout her personal journey. Evidently, Eilis’s journey to America takes her into unexplored territory and her new home in Brooklyn is plagued by a desperate feeling of homesickness and nostalgia, so that she never feels completely “solid” there either. However, it also becomes a place that provides Eilis with the opportunity to renew herself and carve an independent future without the strong shadows cast by her family. Whilst her mother continues to symbolise absence and the tug of her Irish roots, Eilis also forges a homely relationship with Tony Fiorello and his surrogate family that will only ever be a substitute. Accordingly, home captures and reflects Eilis’s journey and her dilemmas. The search for a new “home” is both within her grasp owing to a plethora of new opportunities but it also becomes elusive because of the constant invasion of her past and the memories associated with place. “Home” is therefore a place of prospective happiness and security, but also the place of loss and disappointment. Home reflects the “two people” of Eilis’s journey Evidently, Enniscorthy represents
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