Reconfiguring Irish Identity After the Celtic Tiger in Post-Crash Novels by Anne Enright, Sally Rooney and Caoilinn Hughes
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This thesis examines the impact of the Celtic Tiger on the configuration of Ireland’s identity in three novels written after its collapse, Anne Enright’s The Green Road (2015), Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends (2017) and Caoilinn Hughes Orchid and the Wasp (2018). The Celtic Tiger refers an economic boom that occurred in Ireland between 1995-2008. This was the first time, since becoming independent, that the Irish economy underwent a period of sustained economic success and thus the Celtic Tiger became a period of social and cultural change. No longer imprisoned by its past, the Celtic Tiger meant that Ireland’s sense of self became closely linked to the neo-liberal economic model that enabled the Celtic Tiger. The Green Road explores the tensions that emerged in Ireland as a result of the country changing so quickly without fully processing the traumas of the past. The novel also examines how Ireland became uncertain in its sense of self as the country was unprepared for the materialism that the Celtic Tiger entailed. Conversations with Friends and Orchid and the Wasp are both coming of age novels set after the Celtic Tiger collapsed and they each demonstrate that the neo-liberal economic model that enabled the Celtic Tiger has become a dominant factor in the configuration of Ireland’s identity. The major conclusion drawn is that these novels depict the Celtic Tiger as being a force that imposed new restrictions on the configuration of Irish identity.