Juno and the Matriarchy

My research paper will be based on the feminist overtones of Juno and the Paycock by Sean O’Casey. My research will look at the circumstances surrounding Mary’s pregnancy. O’Casey, like Ibsen, is a feminist writer. The way that Mary’s pregnancy is handled by Juno is relevant because culturally it does not seem to make sense. Ireland in the 1920s was still very involved in respectability culture and unwed mothers were not considered respectable. We see this dynamic is Boyle’s reaction. I will be using the Irish suffragette movement as well as Magdalene laundries to navigate what this moment is trying to tell us about liberated women and the idealism that Mary’s pregnancy and Juno’s response espouses. Juno is the main driving force of Juno and the Paycock, so it is particularly interesting that she is also a radically feminist figure. She does not just represent feminism; she also represents a sort of pacifism. Juno voices a certain dissatisfaction with Ireland. She does not allow idealism to supplant reality. I wish to show that Juno’s response to Mary’s pregnancy is revolutionary because it also is a rejection of the patriarchal systems that would see Mary punished for a man’s irresponsibility.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Demetria,
    I was struck by your topic because I fully considered it as well, I wanted to look at Irish motherhood and how they held a special status in Irish society that elevated them from experiencing the same treatment that younger unmarried women did. Their roles as caretakers and true heads of their families interests me, in both its positives and negatives. All the authors we have read have been male for the most part, and so their depictions of their mothers and the women in their lives interested me. Again, great topic choice!

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