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Dancing at Lughnasa

             Essay Title: Jack tells of a "symbolic distancing of (oneself) from what you once possessed" How might this be an appropriate description of the dramatic function and thematic importance of Michael's speeches in the play. .
             Dancing at Lughnasa, a play written by Brian Frier, is a depiction of a man's memory of his childhood. The narrator, Michael, takes us back to the warm harvest days of August 1936, when he was a seven-year-old boy being brought up by his unmarried mother Chris and her four sisters. The play, through Michael's narration, touches on different aspects of life of the characters by exploring the occurrence of simple events which contribute an impact to their relationships. However, Michael, as a chorus figure, plays the most significant role which affects our perception of the events which unfold.
             The play opens up with Michael's first speech. "When I cast back my mind to that summer of 1936- We see an apparent reflection of the memory through his language. This phrase is repeatedly mentioned in his first speech which reinforces the notion of reminiscing the past. On the other hand, we see as well how Frier distances Michael from the past events through a careful use of words. The word "cast" in his the first phrase gives an impression that he is trying to detach his memory from him and when he say "cast back," it implies how he retraces back his memory without taking part in the past events. He is recollecting the past but not re-living it. This is evidently conveyed by the author for his main purpose of using Michael is as an observer of the present who oversees and judges the lives of the characters from the past. Therefore we see a sort of detachment and distancing of this personage from the events that he is recollecting. Through this technique, Michael appears like an omniscient narrator (although he is not) and this gives an impression that we are discovering the characters and the events at the same as the narrator.

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