Superstition In Claire Keegan's Night Of The Quicken Trees

Although most people do not believe in superstition, they follow people’s daily lives—some are common, such as knocking on wood, while others are more elaborate, such as rituals during football games. Nowadays, forgetting to perform a superstitious ritual will not end in terror, but in the past people thought terrible luck would befall them for forgetting. Superstition thrives in poor, rural areas because the people living there look for luck to improve their circumstances. Ireland, who has not always had a strong economy, has a rich history of superstition although the traditions are not widely practiced anymore. In her short story “Night of the Quicken Trees”, Claire Keegan mixes superstition and reality in a modern Ireland, and the main character Margaret Flusk engages in several rituals to avoid bad luck. Keegan uses superstition to show how people with bad luck are drawn to it, to demonstrate its effects in Ireland, and to show how it encourages a sense of community. Margaret looks to superstition in her daily life because she wants to improve her luck. After having an affair with the priest, Margaret got pregnant and had a child; however, the baby died. Because of her circumstances, she feels inclined to make her own luck and turns to superstition: “If she believed in the forces of nature, she was yet determined to avoid bad luck. …show more content…
There were men with boils and women who wanted no more children; women who were desperate for children, and a child that was born on Christmas Day who saw ghosts and couldn’t eat. They had shingles and gout and stones in their throats, bad knees and haunted cow-houses. Margaret placed her hands on these strangers and felt their fears and their fears put her hear crossways. The people left in good faith and their ailments and their apparitions disappeared. She’d wake and find new spuds and rhubarb and pots of jam and bags of apples and sticks outside her back door. (Keegan

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