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Mundane Doubles: Anorexia in Stories by Anne Enright and Colum McCann

Mundane Doubles: Anorexia in Stories by Anne Enright and Colum McCann Miriam O'Kane Mara Two contemporary Irish short stories, "Sisters" by Colum McCann and "Little Sister" by Anne Enright, describe the progression of anorexia nervosa on central characters who meet gruesome endings.1 Both authors create sister protagonist characters as narrators of their siblings' disordered eating. In each story, the doubling of an anorexic sister with a healthy sister as protagonist allows the author to portray women in "horizontal" relationships with other women, rather than with men or with parents and offspring. In creating such doubled relationships, Enrigh and McCann also reveal a narrative strategy for dealing with characters who suffer silently. The textual supplement of a doubled character gives voice to women whose autonomous choices to refuse food and to die--without reproducing--disrupts the narratives of continuity that are traditionally ascribed to women in Irish short fiction. In these stories, the surviving double bears the weight of explaining and contextualizing a choice neither to create the next Irish generation, nor to sustain their own bodies for any socially acceptable alternate role that might transmit Irish culture into the future. In both short stories, and in research and policy documents about anorexia in Ireland, eating disorders (and anorexia nervosa, specifically) are http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png New Hibernia Review Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas

Mundane Doubles: Anorexia in Stories by Anne Enright and Colum McCann

New Hibernia Review , Volume 18 (1) – Mar 15, 2014

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Publisher
Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of St. Thomas.
ISSN
1534-5815
Publisher site
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Abstract

Miriam O'Kane Mara Two contemporary Irish short stories, "Sisters" by Colum McCann and "Little Sister" by Anne Enright, describe the progression of anorexia nervosa on central characters who meet gruesome endings.1 Both authors create sister protagonist characters as narrators of their siblings' disordered eating. In each story, the doubling of an anorexic sister with a healthy sister as protagonist allows the author to portray women in "horizontal" relationships with other women, rather than with men or with parents and offspring. In creating such doubled relationships, Enrigh and McCann also reveal a narrative strategy for dealing with characters who suffer silently. The textual supplement of a doubled character gives voice to women whose autonomous choices to refuse food and to die--without reproducing--disrupts the narratives of continuity that are traditionally ascribed to women in Irish short fiction. In these stories, the surviving double bears the weight of explaining and contextualizing a choice neither to create the next Irish generation, nor to sustain their own bodies for any socially acceptable alternate role that might transmit Irish culture into the future. In both short stories, and in research and policy documents about anorexia in Ireland, eating disorders (and anorexia nervosa, specifically) are

Journal

New Hibernia ReviewCenter for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas

Published: Mar 15, 2014

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