Essay-style Questions: Translations

1. Look again at Act Three, from Marie's entrance until the moment when Sarah leaves. What follows is a full introduction and a possible essay plan, in response to the question:

What do you find of interest and significance in this passage, relating it to the rest of the play as a whole?


The first thing to remember is that you are writing about a play, and that
you should refer to an audience, and not a reader.

The second thing to do is to look at the question, and take note of the two
parts to the question. You must talk about the passage, but also refer outward
into the larger area of the text.

Thirdly, try to link together your points as much as possible, as it will create
a coherent argument, and add weight to what you are saying.

This isn't a perfect answer, nor a particularly full one - take it as an approach
to adopt which offers some ideas.


Take note of the words used in the question; use them in your writing.
Place the passage in context, briefly explaining where it fits into the
action of the play.
This passage is significant because it is where the consequences of Maire's
dalliance with Yolland are first mentioned…
Look at who says the most in the passage, and concentrate on them at the
beginning. Try to pick out a specific moment from what they say, and then
move out to the general.

Then move on to how what is being said can be expanded out into the themes
of the play.

Maire is devastated by Yolland’s disappearance… Her speeches
wander from one subject to another… She talks of Yolland’s homeland
and mentions the sound of the English place names.

These sounds are what she found attractive about Yolland, as she asked
him to speak… Perhaps it is his voice that she was attracted to,
not the meaning of the words, as she could not understand them fully…
There is a sense of personal loss here that informs the whole play, as
it shows how individuals are affected by political decisions (the evictions)…

Look back at what you have written, and then back at the text, and see
if there is a possible link to move on with. This could be a word that you
yourself have used.
The evictions are announced by Lancey and translated by Owen, correctly
this time… Owen has to pronounce the townships that will be evicted
in Irish, undoing what he has tried to rename earlier in the play…
He is therefore forced into being Irish by the English…
See either whom you are writing about, or what, and try to develop the
idea, maybe by referring to what comes at the end of the passage, or later
in the play.
Indeed, Owen starts to take Manus’ place as he comforts Sarah when
she cannot speak… Now that Manus is gone, there is a possibility that
Owen will stay… this is the beginning of his real homecoming…
Previously he had been visiting with the English…

Look over what you have written about, and try to explain, as succinctly
as possible, how this passage might be an important moment in the play.
Try not to add anything new, but you might consider going out on a high
with one clinching point…
This passage is where the reality of the English invasion is brought to
the fore… It is also where the inhabitants of Baile Beag start to work
together, thinking about some form of resistance… Owen lies to give
Manus more time to get away… He sides with his brother, who has always
stood for Ireland and its language.