Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

English

First Advisor

Bogumil, Mary

Abstract

In my dissertation, I argue that Marina Carr creates liminal spaces in her plays, exploring the tensions inherent in the issues of landscape, gender, and identity. She uses these liminal spaces to expose her audiences to more complex conceptions of Ireland in the twenty-first century. For example, Carr frequently challenges perceived notions of gender identity, drawing attention to gender as performance and creating female protagonists who resist their roles as wives and mothers. Landscape is also an important element of Carr's plays; most frequently she uses the landscape of the Irish Midlands as a space that is liminal both in terms of its geography in the center of the country and in terms of the bogs, which are neither land nor water. Finally, throughout her plays she combines elements of the Irish dramatic tradition with non-Irish elements as a way of expressing Ireland's complicated post-Celtic Tiger identity. I address Carr's plays chronologically in an attempt to trace her development of her use of liminality, which begins primarily with gender in Low in the Dark and expands to include landscape and identity through the Midlands plays. Most recently, plays like Woman and Scarecrow and The Cordelia Dream are set in the liminal moments between life and death and in the unconscious world of the characters' dreams, illustrating Carr's continuing exploration of new liminal spaces.

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