The relationship between myth and reality is both problematic yet essential in understanding literary perspectives of the Northern Irish Troubles.
Module: Writing in a Time of Violence (Level 6)
Keywords:Heaney, Muldoon, the troubles, Northern Irish Literature
Through analysis of selected poems from North (Heaney, 1975) and The More a Man Has the More a Man Wants (Muldoon, 1983), the essay explores the relationship between fictionality and real-world conflict. It may be argued that fictional responses to sensitive topics can be problematic in their capacity to be exploitative of reality. However, the essay argues fiction can depoliticise and in turn humanise the tumultuous landscape of conflict. This becomes increasingly crucial regarding the Northern Irish Troubles, a conflict shaped by political propaganda and the new mythos of sensationalist media. Additionally, the essay suggests how each writer directly references folklore to break the accepted narrative of the Troubles in exchange for presenting the eternality of the conflict. The essay arrives at the conclusion that both Muldoon and Heaney weave reality and fiction into responses to the Troubles that transcend its socio-political discourse; instead focusing on elements of the conflict that are equally significant yet often disregarded.