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2007 – Cultural context Q1 (a) (2-3) A4 pages
‘Imagine that you were a journalist sent to investigate cultural context in the play Sive. Discuss your findings.’

The cultural content in which the events of J.B Keane’s play ‘Sive’ are played out is an interesting one, which takes us back to the Ireland of the 1950’s. The play is set in a small rural farming community in a remote corner of co. Kerry. The world portrayed in this text is a cry far from modern Ireland today.

Firstly I will discuss the poverty portrayed in the play Sive as it is strongly shown throughout the play including the opening scene where we are given a detailed description of the house. Life in the Galvin house is primitive as is expressed in the stage directions. ‘Poorly furnished, open hearth, two buckets and a basin, a black skillet hangs from a crane ‘’. This is clearly a difficult place in which to survive and this is reflected in the characters such as Mena and Thomasheen. We are then introduced to Sive, it is clear that from the description of the house and Sive’s clothes that the family live in poverty. ‘’ She wears a tweed coat too small for her around her a flimsy scarf’’ The cast of Sive (Nana, Mena, Sive, Liam, Thomasheen, Séan and Mike) all live in a society characterised by poverty. A better status and more respect were given the more money and land you owned. For example, Sean Dóite, a man ‘as old as the hills’, was considered a respectable and worthy husband for young 18 year old Sive all because he had money. The thought of Sive marrying Séan would not have become a topic if Thomasheen hadn’t mentioned to Mena the 200 sovereigns ‘he was willing to pay for the girl’. ‘’Think of the 200 sovereigns dancing in the heal of your hand’’ he told her. Because of the amount of work Mena and her husband had to do to earn their living the thought of two hundred sovereigns was a delight. Mike admits that the money is a ‘great temptation’. Both are mindful of the constant threat...

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