Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Claire Bracken




thesis, category, examines, groups, identity


This thesis examines how contemporary writing in Ireland both identifies and challenges the use of time periods as a means of assigning identity to the people living there. The thesis examines the works of four different authors and groups them into three separate chapters that are variously concerned with the categories of past, present and future. Each chapter seeks to prove how the temporal category shapes perception of identity for a given group of people living in contemporary Ireland. These groups are priests, that are associated with Ireland’s past, upper middle class professionals or yuppies that are associated with present and immigrants who represent a future identity for Ireland. Two short stories by Bláinaid McKinney and Claire Keegan are used to examine priests while a novel by Anne Enright is used to look at yuppies. The thesis examines immigrants in the context of three short stories by Roddy Doyle. This work looks at how the characters that occupy a given category identify themselves and members of other categories through binary oppositions, meaning that they believe themselves to be everything that an opposing category is not and vice versa. These oppositions are reinforced through discourses such as the media and are internalized in the minds of the characters in the stories. The thesis argues that the authors provide an alternative discourse to the binary oppositions and propose greater contact between groups in order to free individuals from the constructions of ideology and create a better society overall.