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'Friel creates a dramatic world that, from the start, is full of conflict.' To what extent would you consider this an accurate statement? Take as your starting point the opening scene up to the entrance of Hugh.

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Claire Gittoes 'Friel creates a dramatic world that, from the start, is full of conflict.' To what extent would you consider this an accurate statement? Take as your starting point the opening scene up to the entrance of Hugh. From the very beginning Friel presents us with confliction. Firstly the play examines the impact of political opposition on human relationships, which is evidently going to present conflict. One only needs to focus on the opening scene and examine the setting, to see the friction. The hedge school is in direct contrast to the established education of the age. We can imagine pupils in England sat at desks in orderly classrooms, in purpose built schools with playgrounds; glass windows, blackboards and numerous teachers covering various subjects. Friel presents us with the harsh reality of rural Irish education of the time, a cowshed littered with farm implements, and yet this is a luxurious step up from the original hedgerows themselves. ...read more.


We are told she is aged anywhere between seventeen to thirty-five which shocks "us" the reader. This conflict and internal struggle within Sarah, is apparent because she obviously wants to learn to speak and seek attention from Manus. Friel makes one empathize with Sarah, and almost feel pleased as well as we see her producing hidden flowers for the school room or are they for Manus? Once again Friel presents us which conflicting interruptions, which are left for 'us' the reader to interpret. Personally, One feels the conflict within Sarah is one of struggle with education and feelings of adoration, which is why she reverts to grunting when Maire, a rival for Manus' affection, enters. Maire is another character that presents conflict. She hints at future disagreement to come when she hears of the new state school opening at Poll nagCaorach "when it opens, this is finished: nobody's going to pay to go to a hedge school." ...read more.


Finally the differences in the characters various use of language highlights the underlying friction. For example, Maire uses colloquial languages, through short sentences which are repetitive and fairly simple, she also tends to ask a lot of questions whereas Jimmy Jack quotes from the myths and legends of ancient Greek and Celtic folklore, " 'Autar o ek limenos prosebe-' But Ulysses went forth from the harbour and through the woodland... ." Here Friel creates conflict in very simplistic terms, through the use of language and the contrasting characters means of expressing themselves. Friel has created a dramatic world, but only to us the modern reader or viewer, depending on your viewpoint. We forget that this was a reality for a whole country of rural Irish; the small community of Baile Beg could represent any rural community of the time. The whole tale has conflict running throughout, from the obvious English Irish opposition to a whole array of undercurrent conflict. We are left at the entrance of Hugh anticipating a lot more confliction as the play unfolds. ...read more.

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