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This article examines how O’Riordan’s The Boy in the Moon revises the union-as-marriage plot to consider the significance of cross-cultural contact in contemporary Ireland and England. While most of the characters depicted in the novel turn away from such an allegorical reading by moving beyond it politically, the novel reveals that the psychic drama endures. The persisting differences between England and Ireland implicitly inform other differences, such as those existing between genders, classes, and geographies. These forms of difference destabilize established definitions of home and unsettle the individual’s role within it. The Boy in the Moon presents the reader with a variation of Freud’s ‘neurotic family romance’, revealing how the emotional and psychological scarring resulting from child abuse, and the distorted histories that cover over those scars, continue to damage subsequent generations.
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