lesbiassparrow: (feminist avocado)
I just finished reading War of Words a book on the history of the politics of the Irish language. I feel that this could have been more interesting if they had dealt with the Peig Sayers issue in Ireland. For anyone who has't been through the Irish education system the two words 'Peig Sayers' will mean nothing, but to generations of Irish schoolchildren she has inspired loathing, absolute hatred, venom, and bitterness. And no, it wasn't just me. I once interviewed for a job where the guy had spent two years in the Irish education system and all he recalled was how much all of his friends hated that book.

Peig is one of the books you have to read for the Leaving Certificate Irish exam. Can't escape it, though they did try and take her off the curriculum at one point, but there was such an outcry from some source or other that they put it back on. I am not sure what the case is now.

This is the worst book ever written. Ever in the history of ever. Nothing happens to her except that she almost goes to America and doesn't because her friend doesn't send her the money. Smart friend, that. Oh and her children keep falling off cliffs and such but she usually mentions that in two lines and goes back to talking about sunsets. And cows. And whatever else wanders into her wee mind for pages and pages. This is the woman who doesn't tell you her husband is crippled and living in the back room until years after it apparently occured.

I once failed an Irish exam by writing a four page essay on how she was Satan's daughter whose children had killed themselves to escape her malign influence. And that was the best fail I ever got. I wish I'd kept the essay as it was a labour motivated by deep, deep emotions, the like of which I never felt about anything else in school. I am sure as a anthropological text her life story has some merits, but as a text to get students to love a language, it is a complete and utter failure. Plus it also teaches dodgy life lessons about accepting your lot and doing whatever other people tell you to do because you trust them to know what's good for you. No, she actually comes out and says this at some point.

And it's not as if there are no good books in Irish. 'The poor mouth' is excellent and fun (I've been reading it lately) but do you get to read it? Nooo. Instead you have to listen to people wibble on about Peig's marvellous descriptive powers.

Profile

lesbiassparrow: (Default)
lesbiassparrow

August 2011

S M T W T F S
 1 23456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 03:42 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios