The Luminary Postgraduate Magazine Lancaster University

Revision and Revisionist History in Dermot Bolger’s A Second Life

Erika Meyers


The 1994 publication of A Second Life, a novel that focuses on the legally and socially enforced wall of silence between adoptee Sean Blake and his birth mother Lizzie Sweeney, emerged just two years before these silences were becoming actively addressed in Irish society. The closing of the Magdalene Laundries,1 where ‘(up) to 30,000 young women and girls are estimated to have been sent to such laundries (the last one in Drumcondra, Dublin, did not close until 19962), many for the ‘crime’ of being unmarried mothers, simple-minded, assertive, pretty or even having suffered rape and talked about it’ (Ferriter 538) could mark a change in the public’s attitude towards the treatment of unwed mothers. However, the lack of change in the 2010 Adoption Policy from the 1952 Adoption Policy helped to maintain the stigma of adoption that was used to enforce silence between birth mothers and their children. According to the 1952 Irish Adoption Policy:

24. -Upon an adoption order being made- (a) the child shall be considered with regard to the rights and duties of parents and children in relation to each other as the child of the adopter or adopters born to him, her or them in lawful wedlock; (b) the mother or guardian shall lose all parental rights and be freed from all parental duties with respect to the child. (‘Effect of Adoption Orders, Acts of the Oireachtas’ 1)

This means that once the child has been placed for adoption, the birth mother has no further contact with that child. As Dr Aisling Parkes of University College Cork’s Law faculty claims:

The Adoption Act 1952 was the first piece of legislation governing adoption law and practice in Ireland. It enshrined a closed adoption system whereby children had no right to know the identity of the birth parents and vice versa. It ensured that all legal ties between birth parents and biological child were permanently severed. The 1952 Act represented law and policy. There are no statutory provisions allowing a child to have access to records of any nature - identifying and non-identifying.

Therefore, the changes in public attitudes and opinions towards the treatment of unwed mothers were incongruous with antiquated legal mandates initially used to uphold gaps within an individual’s personal history. This contradiction between the contemporary social attitudes and historical legal mandates comprise the basis for Bolger’s 1994 publication and what would become his 2010 revision of the appropriately titled A Second Life.

While Theodor Adorno claimed that ‘The forms of art reflect the history of man more truthfully than do documents themselves’ (Adorno 105), this paper seeks to take this notion further by arguing that one of the most striking aspects in Bolger’s revision process concerning the silences of Irish adoption is not necessarily what has changed between 1994 and 2010, but also what has remained. Primarily, Bolger adheres to a nonlinear structure as the backwards-forwards movement of the novel reveals personal and historical conflicts that have yet to be resolved and therefore continue to protrude from the structure waiting to be reconciled. It is interesting to note then, that the lack of structural change in Bolger’s 2010 version coincides with the lack of structural change in the legal policies as the 2010 adoption policy came into effect. As Parkes claims: ‘The 2010 Act merely consolidated the 1952 Act together with the six Acts that followed without introducing any changes.’ Therefore I will argue that, while Bolger’s subtle revision to the punctuation and the themes of immorality may suggest aspects of change in his work and to the Irish social consciousness, the prevalence of his surface-level edits present an illusion of change that is undermined by the same nonlinear framework used in both versions. This contrast is a parallel to the illusion of change provided by the 2010 Adoption Policy that is, in fact, just a restatement of existing legal frameworks and mandates.

While the overriding structural and thematic concerns of the novel remain intact between both versions, further inspection of the subtle aspects of the content reveal quiet shifts on traditionally taboo, and therefore silenced, topics such as sexual immorality. This can be recognised in a scene where Sean is contemplating the lives of former tenants of his house while he is still medicated and recovering from a car accident. In the 1994 version Sean states:

I know that the painkillers had left me disoriented, but it felt as if the walls were breathing those lives back out, the way leaves expel oxygen at night, and that this moment, which I took to be the present, was just one random fragment of a progression stretching backwards and forwards. If I could only see it, the hallway would be one continuous blur of movement. Children in black boots stomping across patterned lino; a toddler proudly shuffling out in his father’s shoes; a women cooking a pig’s head, passing right through me to open the black door at the sound of a bicycle in the lane; a girl allowing herself to be pressed back against the door and kissed, her skirted legs opening and closing around a boy’s spread hand. For eighty-five years people had been passing in and out of that same front door before me-women with the stigma of childbirth leaving the house for the first time to be cleansed by being churched; scrubbed children waiting to join the Corpus Christi procession at the church gates. A jigging boy cursing his sister before rushing out into the frosty morning to climb over the wall of the roofless toilet in the park; a father and son joining the throng walking down to see Drumcondra play Shamrock Rovers. All those lives which I could only guess at by names and dates on the deeds, and all the others, the sergeant’s tenants whose names were not recorded. Their sounds of laughter and of poverty, of bulging pay packets and of tickets for the boat train to London. (Bolger 1994 35-36)

However, Bolger rewrites the 2010 version in the following way:

This house had been built in the 1920s. I sometimes wondered if the ghosts of previous owners still existed here; if they had been among the welcoming faces I saw when my heart stopped. Perhaps the painkillers were disorienting me, but some nights I sensed that the walls were breathing back out these past lives; that, if my eyes could readjust, this empty hallway was a blur of continuous movement. Black-booted children stomping across lino; a toddler shuffling in his father’s shoes; a woman opening the door to allow her husband wheel his bicycle through the house; a girl allowing herself to be pressed back against the hall door and kissed. The past lives that I could only guess at by the names and dates on the deeds. I should be gone too, but I had been given this second chance. So why could I not rejoice instead of sitting in the dark, framing imaginary self-portraits as if I desperately need to prove that I still existed?  (Bolger 2010 29)

Several points can be recognised when comparing the 1994 version and the 2010 version of this excerpt. Firstly, where the 2010 version maintains its focus on more family-oriented glimpses into daily life such as children and spouses, the 1994 version extends beyond conventional family roles by contrasting them with less sanitised notions of Irish social life: the ‘skirted legs opening and closing around a boy’s spread hand,’ the ‘women with the stigma of childbirth leaving the house for the first time to be cleansed by being churched.’ Bolger uses these anonymous females to call attention to ideas about family life and those who exist on the margins of received ideas about what constitutes a proper family and social life. A contradiction occurs when acknowledging that, while Bolger uses the 1994 version to address the sanitation of Irish society, his own revision process led him to sanitise the 2010 version from previous sentences that directly addressed the moral cleansing of sexually active women. So where Bolger uses A Second Life to actively address silences in the social consciousness of Irish society, his revision process also reveals his own susceptibility to contributing to these silences.

Secondly, noticeably absent is the direct reference to a specific decade, which, in the 1994 version, is merely referenced as ‘for eighty-five years’ and therefore predates the 1920s. So where the 1994 version calls attention to a time that led up to significant national changes in Ireland, the 2010 version cuts straight to the decade of the independence of the Free State that continues to challenge notions of national identity in the Republic of Ireland. By allowing both personal and national struggles to coexist within the backwards-forwards movement of time in both versions of the same paragraph, it is evident that the struggles that Sean encounters do not progress in a linear fashion but are instead ruptured by conflicts in the past that have yet to be resolved. So while Bolger may not have changed the literary framework used to structure his novel, his change in dates suggests a reworking of the historical focus that could provide the potential for the use of a different literary form. As Williams claims:

Periods of major transition between social systems are commonly marked by the emergence of radically new forms, which eventually settle in and come to be shared. In such periods of major and indeed minor transition it is common to find, as in the case of genres, apparent continuations or even conscious revivals of older forms, which yet, when they are really looked at, can be seen as new. (189)

Thus, social history can influence literary form. This influence, Williams posits, can instigate a revival of previous forms that can potentially lead towards new literary forms. While this position may suggest the potential for Bolger to create a more innovative structure in the 2010 version, his adherence to the same structure employed in the 1994 version suggests a metaphorical parallel to the adherence to the same legal structures used to enforce silence between birthmothers and their children.

However, a noticeable change in the flow of the novel can be recognised by Bolger’s 2010 inclusion of asterisks between select paragraphs. This inclusion allows Bolger to mark distinct changes in time in the 2010 version that were merely implied through line spaces in the 1994 version. This strategy emphasises Bolger’s grander themes of omission and moral cleansing, again represented through a surface-level edit.  According to Fogarty: ‘In the past, asterisks were used to show the omission of a letter or a passage in time, but that role has largely been taken over by the ellipsis … The asterisk used to be used to omit letters, and there’s at least one place where that practice survives: asterisks can replace letters in swear words you want to sanitize’ (1). While I agree with Fogarty that asterisks have traditionally been used on a literal level for omission, Bolger’s use of asterisks could also work on a metaphorical level. The symbolic implication of omission and replacement can be recognised through the general omission of information about the details of an adopted child’s birth parents in order to sanitise, or censor the social stigma of birth out of wedlock and replace it with another, more socially acceptable family life.

This is particularly relevant when examining the relationship between interpretations of what constitutes sexual immorality and censorship policies in Ireland. Originally enacted in 1929, the Censorship of Publications Act 1929 had the power to ban any literature that it deemed as ‘indecent.’ According to this act: ‘the word “indecent” shall be construed as including suggestive of, or inciting to sexual immorality or unnatural vice or likely in any other similar way to corrupt or deprave’ (‘Censorship of Publications Act 1929 section two’). What this means is that one of the major motivations behind censorship was to limit the public’s attention of sexual conduct, therefore reducing its awareness and reinforcing prescribed moral values. In an effort to uphold and enforce this notion, the Censorship of Publications Board was created. Consisting of five members, the Censorship of Publications Board would evaluate whether a publication was indecent or obscene after any member of the public filed a complaint with the Minister. According to the Censorship of Publications Act 1929:

14-(1) It shall not be lawful to print of publish or cause or procure to be printed or published in relation to any judicial proceedings- (a) any indecent matter the publication of which would be calculated to injure public morals, or (b) any indecent medical, surgical or physiological details the publication of which would be calculated to injure public morals. (2) It shall not be lawful to print or publish or cause or procure to be printed or published any report, statement, commentary or other matter of or in relation to any judicial proceedings for divorce, nullity of marriage, judicial separation, or restitution of conjugal rights save and except all or any of the following particulars of such proceedings, so far as the same can be printed and published without contravening any other sub-section of this section (‘Censorship of Publications Act 1929’ 1).

Here, censorship becomes significant in shaping the image of Ireland and, in turn Ireland’s image of itself. However, Carlson argues that this Act also serves a purpose as a defining difference between Irish and British publishers. As Carlson claims:

After the Irish Free State was established in 1922, British publishers were outside the jurisdiction of the Irish courts, and within Ireland a need was felt for a new censorship law that would more effectively control the distribution of printed material, in particular the distribution of British newspapers and periodicals (Carlson 3).

This could be recognised through the banning of work such as London Life (New Pictures Press, London banned on 31 May 1932) and News of the World, (published in London and banned on November 4 1930) (‘Censorship of Publications Act 1929-1967’), to name a few, which could indicate an imposed separation from British influence. Therefore, while the Censorship of Publication Act 1929 sought to ban ‘indecent’ material, the banning of publications by British publishers could also suggest censorship is a tool used to shape national identity.

Donal O’Drisceoil picks up on this point by arguing that this moral position is highly due to efforts by Catholic Action groups to ‘Catholicize’ Ireland, thus attempting to shape the nation in its own image. According O’Drisceoil: ‘The passage of the Censorship of Publications Act, 1929 had been the result of a sustained campaign by Catholic Action groups after independence, part of a general process of “Catholicization” that became the primary element in the forging of a separate Irish identity’ (1). While I agree with both O’Drisceoil and Carlson that the Censorship of Publications Act 1929 was used to forge a new Irish identity and that this identity was to be established through an enforcement of Catholic morality, I would also like to point out that, although this censorship policy attempted to thwart the publication and distribution of materials, it did not serve to thwart the social processes that lead to the practices it sought to censor such as abortion and premarital sexual practices. The continuation of literature that explored such ‘indecent’ content, therefore, pinpoints the recurrence of social issues that influence such writing, thus exposing the incongruity between Irish law and social practices.

Moreover, while the actions of the Censorship Board are an important factor in understanding the regulation of the public’s opinion of Irish society from a national and an international perspective, it would be short-sighted to merely focus on laws and official policies as the only form of censorship that could occur within Irish publishing. For, although the Censorship Board had the power to control what literature could be distributed in Ireland, and therefore Ireland’s readership, the quality of education for the poor could also affect the literacy rates and hence, the readership of working-class literature. Therefore, a deeper level of censorship lies in the relationship between illiteracy and poverty in Ireland. This notion could be supported by a study by the Educational Research Centre at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, which was conducted at the onset of the Celtic Tiger years in 1995 and released in 1997 by The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) in an effort to track the literacy of individuals between the ages of 16-64 around the world. According to the National Adult Literacy Agency, results from this study show that:

The Republic of Ireland results revealed that one in four working age adults have problems with even the simplest of literacy tasks – 500,000 adults were found to be at or below literacy level 1 of a five level scale. At this level a person may, for example, be unable to determine the correct amount of medicine to take based on information printed on the medicine package. IALS also showed that another 30% of Irish adults were at level 2, meaning they could only cope with very simple material. According to the survey, early school leavers, older adults, non-English speakers and unemployed people are most at risk of having literacy difficulties. (C)urrently in Ireland up to 30% of children from disadvantaged areas leave primary school with literacy difficulties.  (‘International Adult Literacy Survey’ 1)

This research shows that vulnerable groups, such as non-native English speakers and the unemployed, all of whom are more vulnerable to poverty and therefore are potentially less able to access the help that they may need, are more susceptible to illiteracy. By being functionally illiterate, which I define as reading and writing abilities that do not surpass basic levels, individuals can be further separated from their own potential to become more active in literary culture, thus becoming isolated from literature that addresses their social condition. The link between poverty and illiteracy can not only alienate the individual from their society by limiting their opportunities for employment, but it can also alienate them from literature that speaks of their struggles, thus creating a censorship that is less formally regulated by explicit regulations and policies.

Thus, the inclusion of asterisks also underlines Bolger’s attention to the events that cannot be seen and do not have a voice. This inclusion further animates a discussion of Bolger’s concern for social groups that have been submerged beneath official history,3 further mitigating their capacity to speak from the margins of society- a notion that aligns with Spivak’s contention that:

(T)he philosophical presuppositions, historical excavations, and literary representations of the dominant-insofar as they are shared by the emergent postcolonial-also trace a subliminal and discontinuous emergence of the “native informant”: autochthone and/or subaltern. This is not a trope expressed through the speech, writing, and images of “third world literature.” How it displaces itself from impossible perspective to resistant networks as well as super-exploited objects is part of the story.  (1999 xi)

Spivak is arguing that the subaltern may not have obvious traits in terms of representations of the dominant class, but they nonetheless assert themselves in the subliminal aspects of the story.4 Granted, Spivak originally determined that the subaltern could not speak and instead were spoken for: ‘The subaltern cannot speak. (R)epresentation has not withered away’ (Spivak 1988 104). However, she revises this notion by suggesting that their voices exist in anxieties, silences and gaps. This similarly corresponds to Bolger’s own use of asterisks where silences are emphasised in between structural frames.

Although asterisks can symbolise gaps and silences, Bolger’s use of exact dates in the 2010 version provides a more direct distinction between events within his historical framework. This can initially be seen at the beginning of Chapter One in the 2010 version where the date December 28, 1991 appears in order to show the exact day when Sean’s first car accident took place, an event that subsequently instigated his search for his birth mother after his near-death experience. The 2010 version extends the importance of specific timeframes because Bolger is deliberately making his own writing dated by anticipating events that his characters endure through adoption and adoption policies as issues that can be perceived as a part of history rather than an on-going struggle.  In an interview with Bolger, I asked about his decision to insert a date at the beginning of the 2010 version:

(I) suppose that when the book first appeared it was a contemporary book, set more or less in the time it was published, whereas a lot of things had changed – socially and politically – in Ireland by the time I came to write the new version and so putting an actual year on the first page meant that the book had to be read as a period piece and not as presenting the state of affairs now. (Bolger 2013)

Although Bolger may have intended for this novel to be a period piece, the struggles of unwed mothers and their adopted children can still reverberate through Irish society as efforts to formally recognise the abuse unwed mothers endured is ongoing at the time of this writing. This is further identified in the Author’s Note in the 2010 version of A Second Life, where Bolger addresses the parallel between his fiction and the real life events experienced by survivors of the Magdalene Laundries:

By chance, on the day that I walked down to the General Post Office in O’Connell Street in Dublin to post off the manuscript of this book, three survivors from that Magdalene laundry were seated outside the entrance, visible at last in the most historical site of Irish rebellion, defiantly collecting signatures for a petition to have a monument erected to the nameless woman cremated and transferred to that mass grave. I stopped to sign the petition and talk to them. At one stage I even held aloft the jiffy bag containing the manuscript and was about to say ‘this book is about you and about women like you. It tells one of your stories.’ This book could not be about them, because nobody could tell their stories that they uniquely owned. All I could hope to do-in 1993 and again in 2010-was to echo something of their lives within the parallel imaginative world that is fiction. No novelist could so eloquently and honestly tell their stories in the way that so many of them have done in interviews and memoirs and documentaries in the years since, when the walls of silence have finally been breached and so many ageing mothers and now grown-up children have tentatively made contact with each other and started to fill in the missing gaps of secrets that could once never be spoken about. September 2010.  (Bolger 2010 xii)

In this instance such gaps, and subsequently silences, are created by secrets concerning the treatment of unwed mothers.  So although Bolger stated in his interview with me that the novel is intended to be a period piece, his Author’s Note acknowledges the continuing struggles for recognition that these unwed women endured, further justifying the lack of structural change within his literary framework.

Moreover, by stating that ‘this book could not be about them, because nobody could tell their stories that they uniquely owned’ Bolger’s statement works in conjunction with Spivak’s contention that the accurate representation of the subaltern cannot take place without contributing to hegemony.  ‘(T)hat dislocation now as a radical discovery that should make us diagnose the economic (conditions of existence that separate out “classes” descriptively) as a piece of dated analytic machinery may well be to continue the work of that dislocation and unwittingly to help in securing “a new balance of hegemonic relations”’ (Spivak 1988 75). Despite good intentions to reclaim voices of oppressed, Spivak posits, critics who study oppressed social groups can actually perpetuate their oppression because they are speaking on behalf of those without a voice. 

The perpetuation of oppression by speaking for the voiceless is of particular relevance to the construction of Lizzy’s personal history and her identity throughout the revisions from the 1994 version to the 2010 version. This can primarily be recognised through Lizzy’s relationship with her sister Ellen:  ‘It was Aunt Ellen who gave their mother a past; who called her Lizzy and transformed her into a girl like them, only ten times bolder and wilder’ (Bolger 2010 21). The fact that Ellen calls her Lizzy brings attention to Lizzy’s presence and acknowledges her existence. This is in contrast to the treatment of unwed mothers in Ireland who had their names changed and who were stripped of their identity once they were confined to places like the Magdalene Sisters Laundry (Waterfield 1). By giving her a name, Ellen is empowering her with an identity. However, while her sister served as a loving and supportive member of the family to Lizzy, the fact that Ellen was the one who gave her an identity, rather than Lizzy who constructed her own identity, supports the notion that it has been outside influences that have shaped and defined Lizzy.

Moreover, Lizzy’s inability to develop her own identity, and therefore take control of her own history, is an instigating factor in attracting her husband Jack.  This can be seen through Jack’s interpretation of her: ‘He loved Lizzy’s sense of absolute isolation, her lack of history, and most especially, he loved her body’ (Bolger 2010 18). However, in the 1994 version there is no mention of history: ‘He loved Lizzy’s isolation without questioning it and, Christ, how he loved her body’ (Bolger 1994 23). By clearly including her lack of history in the 2010 version, Bolger is further emphasising how secondary characters are taking responsibility for, and taking an active part in, determining what Lizzy’s identity (both personal and historical) is and what it should be. Therefore, this recognises how powerlessness occurred due to Lizzy’s own inability to decide the events of her life for herself because of her received social structure.

These components further relegate Lizzy to the fringes of Irish historical memory because she is not able to define for herself her path in life let alone her history. This inability to define her life for herself keeps her from being able to interject on history and subsequently change it. Therefore, Lizzy’s experience with the secondary characters in this novel could support the notion that the subaltern are spoken for. However, if the subaltern cannot speak for themselves, and if it is wrong for others to attempt to speak for them, then how else can information from the subaltern perspective reach mainstream society? Although it is important to be wary of the intellectual colonisation of the subaltern, it is also important to be cognisant of actions that could further the oppression of the underclasses in any nation by not providing them with any voice at all. For although Lizzy is spoken for, her story is still being told in order to fill in the gaps of her personal history, rather than be completely censored from history. Therefore, Bolger’s emphasis on Lizzy’s lack of history as well as his inclusion of asterisks provide the 2010 version with a more clearly defined attention to silences that exist within the gaps of  the personal histories of characters who have experienced marginalisation.

In addition to Bolger’s more specific approach to gaps and silences, another significant change that has taken place between the two versions is the different ages that Bolger assigns Sean when he is told he was adopted.  While the 1994 version has Sean finding out that he was adopted on his 10th birthday, the 2010 version has Sean finding out that he is adopted on his 11th birthday shortly after he witnesses a bus accident. Although Bolger acknowledges that his decision to change Sean’s age occurred because: ‘Maybe I felt that his reaction was more believable in an 11 year old’ (Bolger 2013). What is striking about this is not the year difference between when Sean’s adoptive parents told him that he was adopted in the 1994 version as opposed to the 2010 version, but rather, the fact that Bolger puts an asterisk between his paragraphs after Sean is told. Where the 1994 version ends with Sean remembering working with his father one summer (Bolger 1994 44), the 2010 version cuts away this memory and instead ends with Sean enduring the psychological effects of his first car accident:

It was time to go home, but I couldn’t seem to leave. Instead I resumed my search through old boxes of photographs, scanning the contact sheets and negatives for the face that had confronted me when I was clinically dead. Finally I glanced up in my empty studio; unable to articulate what was disturbing me. My breath started to quicken, my chest grew tight. The first symptoms of a panic attack. My doctor told me how to counter them, but I was terrified of being trapped alone there, at the mercy of some illusory presence. I left the studio, leaning heavily on my stick as I limped down the stairs towards home. *On the afternoon of my eleventh birthday a bus turned over on the main street of the village. (Bolger 2010 34)

Bolger uses the panic attack to revive the psychological trauma that Sean endured during his first car accident. Not only does the car accident prompt Sean to search for his birth mother, but the panic attack also serves to rupture the contemporary moment with an instance of the past that has yet to be fully resolved on a psychological level and will continue to re-emerge as panic attacks until his emotional turmoil is acknowledged and reconciled.

One way in which Sean is able to reconcile the past is after his second car accident at the end of the novel. By introducing a second car accident, Bolger is able to bookend his theme of second lives and second chances. Not only is this significant in structurally holding the story together, but Bolger also uses symbolism in Sean’s second car crash in order to reinforce the importance of Sean’s second chance at life. This can be recognised as Sean speaks with Sister Anne, a nun who worked at a convent that housed unwed mothers, about the convent where his mother stayed: ‘What about the women who died in childbirth or the stillborn children?’ ‘There used to be a plot for them, but it was the only site that really worked for the new extension ten years ago. We needed to dig up the bodies and cremate them. We planted a tree in their memory’ (Bolger 2010 204-205). Through this interaction, Bolger uses trees to represent the women and children who died while staying in the convent. This becomes significant symbolically as Sean describes his second car crash at the end of the novel: ‘The wheels had missed those trees’ (Bolger 2010 230). Bolger primarily calls attention to Sean’s escape from death through his second car accident. However, he also highlights Sean’s initial escape from death as so many others born in the convent were unable to achieve. By reuniting the past and the present symbolically through car accidents and trees, Bolger provides Sean with the opportunity, not to reinvent or to recreate himself, but to link himself with his past so he may be able to go on with his life in the present rather than live in his own form of stagnation due to the lack of information on his origins. The bookending of Sean’s car accidents thus signifies the closing of certain gaps in Sean’s own personal history, but the extent to which the closing of these gaps can occur is still contingent upon the structure of the legal mandates used to reinforce a closed adoption policy used to silence personal histories.

So while Bolger has exemplified the author’s potential to change the content and the punctuation of their pre-existing work in an effort to bring new insights into social struggles, the structures of Ireland’s history and adoption policies limit the extent that these changes can take place. Therefore, while change in the content is possible in Bolger’s revision process, the silences explored in his literature will nonetheless be maintained by the structure that is fundamentally used to mediate the perspective from which the novel is viewed.


1 Catholic-run workhouses.

2BBC Reports that the last Magdalene asylum closed in Waterford.

3 A version of history approved by the government.

4 While the term subaltern was initially used to describe those of inferior rank, Antonio Gramsci, in part, allocated the term to classify those who suffered from hegemony imposed upon them by the ruling class.

Works Cited

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Bolger, Dermot. A Second Life. London and New York: Viking, 1994.

Bolger, Dermot. A Second Life. Dublin: New Island, 2010.

Carlson, Julia. Banned in Ireland: Censorship and the Irish Writer. Athens, Georgia:Routledge, 1990.

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‘Effect of Adoption Orders, Acts of the Oireachtas.’ Adoption Act, 1952. n.d. Web. 11 Nov 2013.

Ferriter, Diarmaid. The Transformation of Ireland. London: Pine Books, 2004-2005 Google Books. Web. 26 May 2013.

Fogarty, Mignon. ‘How to Use an Asterisk.’ Grammar Girl. n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

‘International Adult Literacy Survey.’ National Adult Literacy Agency. n.d. Web. 13 Nov 2013.

‘Magdalene laundries support scheme unveiled.’ BBC. 26 Jun. 2013. Web. 1 Jul 2013.

O’Drisceoil, Donal. ‘“The best banned in the land”: censorship and Irish writing since 1950.’ The Free Library. 1 Jan. 2005. Web 14 June 2013.

Parkes, Aisling. Email Interview. 4 Feb. 2013.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’McGill University. 1988. Web. 30 Oct 2012.

--- A Critique of Postcolonial Reason. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Waterfield, Bruno. ‘Ireland Apologises for Magdalene Laundries.’ The Telegraph. 05 Feb 2013. Web. 16 Nov 2013.

Williams, Raymond. Marxism and Literature.London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

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