FROM PRIESTS TO PROSTITUTES: TRAUMA, SHAME, AND THE FORMATION OF THE SEXUAL SELF IN THE EARLY WORKS OF JAMES JOYCE AND JOHN MCGAHERN
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The dynamics of early- to mid-twentieth- century Irish Catholicism that run across Joyce's and McGahern's early semi-autobiographical narratives, thwarted expectations of family, trauma, and shame, work together in The Dark and have a paralyzing effect on Young Mahoney, who spends the novel striving to be a person who is the opposite of his father. Whereas Joyce's most famous alter ego. Stephen Dedalus, ultimately (if temporarily) escapes Catholic Ireland at the end of Portrait, McGahern's Young Mahoney is held back by constant, emotionally crippling reminders of his father that pervade every space he enters, whether it is domestic, religious, or community.