“This Is How Time Unfolds When You Are Old”: Ageing, Subjectivity and Joseph O’Connor’s Ghost Light
This chapter analyses Joseph O’Connor’s novel Ghost Light about a formerly celebrated Irish actress who lives a life of loneliness and poverty in 1950s London. It reads this fictional biography of Molly Allgood with reference to Freud’s Uncanny. By means of narrative technique, the novel reveals the complexity of the aged protagonist’s inner life as she retells and relives her memories of the younger Molly’s romance with playwright J.M. Synge, while simultaneously struggling to survive in an environment hostile to the old and the poor. The novel thus demonstrates the potential for art to reveal the moral failings of a wider community, eventually seen in Molly’s bleak death.
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