Mothers and Daughters in Conflict in the Motherland, Edna O'Brien's The Light of Evening


  • María Isabel Arriaga National University of La Pampa



The Light of Evening explores the difficult relationship between two Irish mothers and their daughters: Dilly Macready and Eleanora, a writer whose life shares many common features with that of Edna O’Brien’s, on the one hand, and young Dilly’s previous relationship with her own mother, Bridget, on the other hand. Both relationships are depicted through a succession of daily letters, usually not sent. These conflictive bonds resemble those of Irish people with their motherland throughout the twentieth century.This tension emerges, in all cases, when expected roles assigned to women by a patriarchal culture clash with the desire of emancipation and selfdevelopment. The purpose of this article is to explore mother-daughter representations in O’Brien’s novel in order to analyse the author’s own conflictive relationship with Ireland in her early development as a creative writer. Immigration, tradition, memory and fragmented identity, all constituitive elements of Irish history, are present in this paper.

Keywords: Mothers; conflict; exile; tradition; motherland.




How to Cite

Arriaga, M. I. (2019). Mothers and Daughters in Conflict in the Motherland, Edna O’Brien’s The Light of Evening. ABEI Journal, 20(2), 83-95.