Fools of Fortune

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Prof. Robertson

Fools of Fortune by William Trevor is a wonderful novel that follows an Anglo-Irish family set in post WWI Ireland. The novel explores a great many themes throughout and causes readers to be thoroughly engaged to follow it’s back and forth through time and many premises. Perhaps in this novel there is no greater theme than that of decay. Decay is evident throughout this work from it’s inception up through the conclusion.

Right at the beginning of the novel, in the first lines even, we are already get this sense and seen of decay. “In Dorset the great house at Woodcombe Park bustles with life. In Ireland the more modest Kilneagh is as quiet as a grave.”(Trevor 1). These two sentences show the contrast between the great Woodcombe estate and the once great Kilneagh estate now quiet as a grave. Trevor states it is quiet as a grave because that’s what it has become, a place of death. As seen through the eyes of young Willie, Kilneagh was once a flourishing and lush estate as well. “I would love to remember you in the scarlet drawing-room, so fragrant in summer with the scent of roses, warmed in winter by the wood Tim Paddy gathered” (2). Willie is constantly describing Kilneagh is ways such as this to show that this was his perfect Eden like place, even though that all is about to come to an end. After Doyle gets hung on the Quinton’s property, the Black and Tan leader Sergeant Rudkin takes revenge on the estate. Kilneagh is burned to the ground and Willie’s father and sisters are killed, thus has brought upon the decay of the estate, and propelling the decay of the Quinton’s.

The death of Willie’s father and sisters right away has large affect on his mother Evie, a once strong and grounded woman. Willie’s mother had once made all of the decisions at Kilneagh because his father had “The Cork mans failing” meaning he could not make a decision, and she was now reduced to a shell of her former self. “She did not venture out of the house for...
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