“Understanding the Cultural Context allows you to see how the values and attitudes of characters are shaped”
Cultural context reveals the world of the text. It shows us how the world impinges upon the lives of the characters. The novel I have studied is Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Throughout the text we see many examples of the values of society. The position of women, men and family intrinsically establish the central characters in a specific position. The text has a dual setting between the 1950’s Catholic Ireland and the post world war two world of Brooklyn, America. The two locations help to expose the contrasting values and attitudes of the characters in their world.
The role of women in society is vital for my understanding of…show more content…
We can see this with Ms. Fortini. She reflects a contrasting attitude, being more independent and modern then the rest of the characters. A key moment in the text, which shows the values women have in society, would be when Ms. Kehoe locks the basement gate of her house. She does this because she does not approve of the way Eilis acts with Tony. This is a prime example of how women are expected to behave in society. This example is intrinsically linked with the encroaching power of the Catholic Church and the way it shapes the values and attitudes of the characters in the novel.
The power of the Catholic Church is clearly evident in the novel. It helps shape the attitudes most of the characters have. The power and influence of Father Flood is distinct throughout the novel. His values of the Church are thou rally respected and admired by everyone in the community. He holds substantial power in both Ireland and Brooklyn, convincing Eilis’ mam to allow her to go to Brooklyn, and getting Eilis a job and a place to stay once she arrived there. In Brooklyn, we see many people know Father Flood, as he was able to get Eilis a place in college, to help further her career. The church also has a controlling aspect on the characters moral values. This is seen with Eilis and Ms. Kehoe’s view on relationships and sex. Their attitude towards relationships are shaped around the beliefs of the Church, an example of this is when Eilis asks Tony to go to confession with