The Plot of Dancing at Lughnasa

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  • Topic: County Donegal, Brian Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa
  • Pages : 2 (728 words )
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  • Published : May 21, 2011
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Dancing at Lughnasa is a 1990 play by dramatist Brian Friel set in Ireland's County Donegal in August 1936 in the fictional town of Ballybeg. It is a memory play told from the point of view of the adult Michael Evans, the narrator. He recounts the summer in his aunts' cottage when he was seven years old. This play is loosely based on the lives of Friel's mother and aunts who lived in the Glenties, on the west coast of Donegal. Set in 1936, during the summer before de Valera's new constitution was approved by referendum, the play depicts the late summer days when love briefly seems possible for three of the Mundy sisters (Chris, Rose, and Kate) and the family welcomes home the frail elder brother, who has returned from a life as missionary in Africa. However, as the summer ends, the family foresees the sadness and economic privations under which they will suffer as all hopes fade. The play takes place in early August, around the festival of Lughnasa, in Celtic folklore, the festival of the first fruits, when the harvest is welcomed. The play describes a bitter harvest for the Mundy sisters, a time of reaping what has been sown. Plot

The five Mundy sisters (Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rosie, and Christina), all unmarried, live in a cottage outside of Ballybeg. The oldest, Kate, is a school teacher, and the only one with a well-paid job. Agnes and Rose knit gloves to be sold in town, thereby earning a little extra money for the household. They also help Maggie to keep the house. Maggie and Christina (Michael's mother) have no income at all. Michael is seven years old and plays in and around the cottage. All the drama takes place within the sisters' cottage, with events outside being reported, either as they happen or as reminiscence. Recently returned home after 25 years is their brother Jack, a priest who has lived as a missionary in a leper colony in a remote village called Ryanga in Uganda. He is suffering from malaria and has trouble remembering many things, including...
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