Complete 12 pages APA formatted article: How far is John McGahern’s work a critisism of the oppresive nature and life in rural Ireland, and how far is it a celebraion of it’s positive aspects You should discuss ‘that they may face the rising sun and compare it with ‘amongst women’.
McGahern faced quite a bit of criticism for his affinity to the traditional rural culture that comes across vividly in his novels ‘That They May Face the Rising Sun’ and ‘Amongst Women’ (Garratt). McGahern captures the eternal conflict between urban and rural life. Without making any explicit comments he juxtaposes the two antagonistic concepts that dictate the life of his characters and put them under inherent dilemma about their state of being. The two novels are similar in their themes but different in treatment, narration and philosophy.
McGahern has portrayed the reality of Irish culture and heritage. He has shown how people have imbibed the indomitable yet melancholic spirit of the land. The landscape seems to be an extension of every emotion felt by the characters. McGahern has made an artistic representation of the Irish landscape that the thinkers have tended to interpret in its numerous manifestations and drawn parallels with different contexts like social, historical and mythical (Decoding the landscape). The different attributes of nature that characterise the Irish landscape form an integral part of every individual’s life that happens to live by the countryside.
McGahern in both of his novels has brought forth the all pervasive presence of nature for example the lake in ‘That They May Face the Rising Sun’ and the meadow in ‘Amongst Women’.
Just like the enigmatic landscape the pastoral tradition has also been explored in the works of artists and writers. McGahern has been a devout admirer of the pastoral tradition and expresses his fascination for the intense romantic appeal associated with it. It seems as though that McGahern’s ultimate intention in weaving the stories of his two novels was to evoke a sense of nostalgia that is characteristic of pastoral romance (Laurence).