Compare-Contrast: Toibin’s Use of Opposites Essay
Brooklyn tells the story of an ordinary Enniscorthy young woman, Eilis, who believes that she, is destined to live in her local town. She does not imagine life out of her little town with all the familiar things like the church in her little town. However, this quiet and uneventful lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt when one Father Flood proposes that she moves to America and try to make a better life out of herself. This is the point at which her life takes a turn to experience an entirely different life. Everything about her changes and she is destined for a difficult transition from the boring and banal life in Ireland, to the busy and exciting lifestyle in Brooklyn. Toibin has used opposites to describe this transition in the life of Eilis, and they play a role in creating the two different images she portrays in both cities (Toibin, 24).
Toibin’s use of opposites shows Eilis’ personal metamorphosis in that the protagonist breaks through the social constrains of her Irish society by liberating herself in Brooklyn’s anonymity.
“A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp”
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