The Statue Of The Virgin At Granard Analysis

Improved Essays
3. Motherhood and Sexuality
According to Rich, the motherhood exists in two different reals: “biological motherhood or ‘the potential relationship of any woman to her powers of reproduction and to children,’ and motherhood as an ‘institution, which aims at ensuring that that potential—and all women—shall remain under male control’” (qtd. in Villar Argáiz 128). In Ireland, these institutional views of motherhood were crucial, the articles 41 and 45 of the 1937 Constitution (Shannon 262) linked women with domesticity and motherhood, therefore the women were expected to follow the model of the Virgin Mary, who is an ideal of virtue, abnegation and submissive suffering (Villar Argáiz 128).
3.1 Paula Meehan’s “The Statue of the Virgin at Granard
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One of the most known poems, which has become a call for “compassion and support for the unmarried mothers” (Murphy and MacKillop 414), is the poem “The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks.” Based on the Ann Lovett’s and her baby’s death in a grotto of Mary (Murphy and MacKillop 414), the poem appeared to “raise the consciousness of a society which supposedly venerates motherhood within marriage, yet denigrates it outside marriage . . . because it involves sex outside the marriage” (Beale 57). Paula Meehan pointed out “to the troubling relationships between church, state, the family cell, and individual women” (Conrad 80). As Andrew J. Auge wrote in the book A Chastened Communion: Modern Irish Poetry and Catholicism, the cultural significance of the poem reaches beyond “the fierce legislative battles on contraception, abortion, and divorce” (194), which …show more content…
As Johnson noted in the article Mary and the Female Face of God, the figure of the Virgin in Catholicism has its roots in the mother goddess figure and share such aspects as “her dark blue cloak, turreted crown, link with the moon and the stars, with water and wind” (506). Therefore, the author deliberately made the speaker of the poem to disavows her traditional Catholic Roles—Mother of Sorrows, Immaculate Virgin, merciful mediatrix (Auge 199). With the lines “. . . My being / cries out to be incarnate, incarnate, / maculate and tousled in a honeyed bed” (Meehan 41) the author “constitutes another subversion of the sexual repression enforced by Christianity” (González, “Northern Ireland: The Poetry in Between” 51) making Virgin Mary to contradict “her traditional representation as perfectly spiritual” (Schrage-Früh, “‘My Being Cries Out to Be Incarnate’: The Virgin Mary and Female Sexuality in Contemporary Irish Women’s Poetry” 132). The lines “On a night like this I number the days to the / solstice / and the turn back to the light. / O sun, / centre of our foolish dance, / burning heart of

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