The short story “Rum and Coke” (1996) written by Julia O’Faolain takes place in Ireland in the higher catholic environment. Our narrator is the son of a catholic Irish senator, who is trying to preserve Ireland as a state in the teaching of the Irish Catholic Church. As the story continues, our narrator discovers that his father is having an affair with a younger woman, Artemis Sheehy, and she is pregnant with his father’s child. The two of them had been arguing and his father had a stroke in Artemis? room.They move his father to his own hotel room, to avoid questions about why the senator was in Ms. Sheehy’s room, and they call a doctor.
The father dies a couple of nights later, while our narrator and Artemis Sheehy are comforting each other in a hotel room nearby. Our narrator and Artemis Sheehy gets close and they marry to cover over his father’s mistakes and to raise the child in proper manner within the Catholic believe. Catholics believe that it is a sin to have an abortion, as it is to have an affair when you have engage in a marriage.The senator has committed both of these sins, and as a senior person, this could ruin his career and his family’s reputation. Our narrator knows this during the episode, and that is probably why he takes responsibility for the child. Through the story, our narrator is unsure if he would become like his father, and make the same mistakes. He wonders if Artemis is attracted to the hope of him becoming as his father was, and that being the reason why she engage in a marriage with him.
The senator is a charming, intelligent and political man, who loves his wife and who teaches his son how to succeed in a higher environment.Our narrator idolizes him, and he is in shock when he discovers his father’s secrets. Artemis is described as a beautiful, but shy young woman. She is working at the same hotel as the senator has his stroke and where our narrator works as a barman. At first, our narrator, after his father’s stroke and his knowledge of their affair, does not know what to think of Artemis. He is confused of the situation, but he decides to do the honorable thing, and brings Artemis to the hospital so that she can say her goodbyes.At the end of the text, after his father’s death and right before his son’s birth, we do not get any knowledge of our narrator and Artemis’ relationship, other than they are happy.
This shows that our narrator’s fear of becoming like his father is unnecessary. He is loyal towards Artemis, as far as we know, and he takes responsibility for his family’s actions by covering over their mistakes. The short story is written in a finer English style. O’Faolain uses many terms and words, which normally is not in a Danish student’s English-vocabulary.This simply supports the story because our narrator is from a finer environment. Julia O’Faolain’s father was also a writer and of higher class, he wrote many famous novels of the situation in Ireland. Julia’s father, Sean O’Faolain, fought in The War of Independence and because of his believe, his novels showed his sympathy for IRA and an independent Ireland.
It is therefore understandable why Julia O’Faolian writes of the secrets behind the finer catholic family, since they, by her understanding, has the wrong ideas for Irelands future. This text was published in 1996, two years before the Belfast Agreement.The Belfast Agreement secured an Irish local government, established cooperation between North and South Ireland, a further protection of human rights, early release of paramilitary groups’ prisoners, and much more. [pic] The first paragraph of the story tells us, that our narrator’s wife is soon to go in to labour and he is going to be a father in a short amount of time. He is not at the hospital because the nurses believed that he made his wife nervous. This is understandable because, a woman, when she is going to give birth, is in a lot of pain, so the reader does not give further notice to it.The reader is not given any hints that our narrator’s wife is giving birth to our narrator’s father’s son, and it is not a thought that you would think yourself, because it is a very unusual situation.
Had the reader gotten the knowledge about Senator Leary’s affair with Artemis, Senator Leary’s stroke and our narrators and Artemis’ convenient marriage right after, before we knew that Artemis was pregnant, the puzzle would add up, considering the importance of a good reputation in a higher standing Irish catholic family.The structure is therefore necessary for the rest of the story, so it does not seem irrelevant that our narrator is telling us this, right before he will become a ‘father’. When a story is based on flashbacks, like this story is, it is called a frame story. And when the story begins in the middle of a situation, like this story also does, it is called an in medias res.
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