Friel's Presentation Of Kate In Dancing At Luughnasa

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With reference to the way Friel presents Kate in the extract and elsewhere in the play, show how far you agree that Kate controls the rest of the family. I agree that Friel presents Kate as being in control of the rest of the family throughout the entirety of Dancing at Lughnasa. Kate is presented as the head of the household, having looked after her siblings since their parents died. Michael’s opening monologue describes her as “a national schoolteacher”, a job associated with having authority and routine which implies Kate to have a level of control within the household. This further suggests that Kate is a rigid woman and therefore she may control the rest of the family. However, there are instances within Dancing at Lughnasa where Kate…show more content…
She exclaims “Go and wash your face, Maggie. And for goodness’ sake tie those laces.” and also “Take that surplice off, Christina.” These command words display a forceful tone which shows that Kate controls the family because she treats them not like her equal and she speaks down to them, telling them what to do as though they are children and not her sisters. The sisters respond to Kates commands by saying “Yes, miss.” and exclaiming “This isn’t your classroom, Kate”. These comments indicate that Kate treats them like her pupils regularly, showing she controls her family by taking on a teacher’s attitude and speaking down to them. In the extract, Friel uses repetition and capitalisation to portray Kate as a character who controls the rest of her family. Rose tells Kate “The Gander! Everybody calls you the Gander!” which is a male goose. Friels use of repetition and the capitalisation of ‘Gander’ emphasises that Kate takes on this role of a male in society. The Mundy’s lived in a patriarchal society where men controlled the household and money and this enables the audience to see the comparisons between Kate and a male in the 20C by how Kate controls her family and uses the fact that she is the only wage earner to blackmail

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