Selkie Girl and the Secret of Roan Inish: Similarities and Differences

Topics: Selkie, The Secret of Roan Inish, Mythology Pages: 3 (1161 words) Published: April 11, 2011
Legends, myths, and folklore have always captured my attention. Whether they are about made-up, mystical creatures or even creatures turning into humans, I always seem to thoroughly enjoy the stories behind them. After reading the novel Selkie Girl and watching the movie Secret of Roan Inish, I started to draw some similarities and differences between the two. Further research from other selkie folklore stories really began to show me that there are different elements to each myth that continuously relate back to Laurie Brooks’ Novel and the film we watched in class. Each one of these comparisons shows why there are so many believers today in these tales. In the novel, Selkie Girl, Brooks’ explains that selkie's can only come ashore and transform into humans once a year on Midsummer’s Eve. From discussions in class and from my own interpretations, I was under the impression that selkie’s could emerge out of their skin whenever they wanted to. This was not the case throughout Selkie Girl. When the main character, Elin Jean, learns that her mother is a selkie, the black and the red selkies explain that “every year at Midsummer they return to be with her” mother (Brooks). The novel differs from the movie, Secret of Roan Inish, because in the movie there is a scene where a young man finds a selkie, captures her pelt, and then takes her captive to be his wife on land. It was not stated in the movie that it was Midsummer’s Eve when the fisherman discovered the selkie. In fact, the movie made it seem like selkies could shed their pelts and come on land whenever they wanted to. Continuing my research online, I found that many folklore have differences as to how often the selkie-folk were able to carry out the transformation. Some tales say it was once a year, usually on Midsummer's Eve, while others state it could be “every ninth night” or “every seventh stream”. Another legend says if a mortal woman wishes to make contact with a selkie-man, there was a specific...

Cited: Brooks, Laurie. Selkie Girl. New York: Knopf Books, 2005.
Secret of Roan Inish. Dir. John Sayles. Perf. Jeni Courtney, Pat Slowey, Dave Duffy. 1994. Film.
“Selkie.” Mythical Creatures and Beasts. 6 Apr. 2011 .
Towrie, Sigurd. “The Selkie-folk.” Orkneyjar. 2004. Sigurd Towrie. 6 Apr. 2011 .
Towrie, Sigurd. “The Goodman o ' Wastness.” Orkneyjar. 2004. Sigurd Towrie. 6 Apr. 2011 .
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