Crilly, Inner Conflict In Cal By Bernard Maclaverty

Decent Essays
Northern Ireland in the 1970’s was a dangerous time for everyone. The wrong words spoken or certain actions being taken could get you burned out of your house or killed. The book Cal by Bernard MacLaverty is set in this trying time and explores the main character, Cal’s, inner conflict. Like a devil and angel arguing on his shoulder, Cal is being pulled between working with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the love he has for a woman named Marcella. The devil in this situation is a man by the name of Skeffington. Skeffington is a small, round-faced man with glasses. He passes information and assigns jobs to Cal and his friend, Crilly, on behalf of the IRA. In his role as a voice of the IRA we find that he is the antagonist of this…show more content…
He rationalizes violence because in one hundred years, he believes, the free people of Ireland will not look at the events taking place now and shudder; instead, they will look at them and say people like Skeffington did what had to be done for the sake of Ireland. Eventually going so far as to compare this to a squeaking chair that eventually must be fixed. This juxtaposition of what seems to be a game of life and death speaks volumes to his integrity. Skeffington is almost disillusioned with the entire situation. He only tries to further his explanation by quoting a poem and stating that “it wasn’t like 1916 in 1916”; 1916 being a reference to the Easter Rising when Irish Republicans revolted to end British rule (MacLaverty 66). This statement displays that he has a warped sense of the actions he is taking, as if he is at war, with no other option than to stand and fight. He may see himself as a warrior but in reality it is easy to see that he is just using past violence to justify current violence. All of this constructing the ideal he forces upon Cal, a character whose primary trait is his indecisiveness. The most apparent insight into Skeffington would be his experience with Bloody Sunday and, strangely enough, feet. Bloody Sunday was an event that took place in 1972 in a town called Derry, where British soldiers shot and killed 13 people. Skeffington was unlucky enough to be there and witness everything. He talks about an old man
    Get Access