Brian Friel's "Translations": In what ways does this scene represent 2 characters crossing boundaries and understanding each other - a meeting of minds?
In what ways does this scene represent 2 characters crossing boundaries and understanding each other – a meeting of minds?
The scene automatically has a sense of irony, as both Yolland and Maire both cannot understand a word each other is saying, this means communication was needed to be made in an alternate way, these ways are through the use of identifiable feelings and emotions, as well as paralanguage to indicate the feelings and emotions that the character is trying to express.
Throughout their conversation, it would seem unlikely to a person who has just picked up the book that Yolland and Maire do not speak the same language, and therefore cannot fathom what each other is trying to say. This is due to the similarities of speech between the two of them; they always seem to have a vague understanding about what the other person is trying to say. An indication of this is where Maire says, “ The grass must be wet. My feet are soaking.” straight after Yolland points out, “ The grass must be wet your feet are soaking.” It is clear to see the similarities in their speech, although the context is just flipped around, but apart from that it is almost identical. Emphasising this collision, linguistically speaking, is the stage directions, expressing the characters body movement. The way they seem very immature when they realise they are holding hands, then immediately disengage and move apart. Another way that they can be seen as immature is through the basic communication, such as pointing. Knowing that the other person cannot understand what they are saying might be a factor in the characters lexis, especially regarding Yolland where he says “I’ve been watching you night and day for the past…” because if Yolland was to say this to Maire and she understood it, she could take it two very different ways, and decide that in fact Yolland is a bit weird.
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Without the aid of a similar language the characters find another way to communicate, which involves Maire saying English words, which she knows, and Yolland encouraging her, “Yes-yes? Go on- go on- say anything at all- I love the sound of your speech.” This shows although they cannot understand each other Yolland is fixated by Maire, and there is this chemistry, a bond between them, which they both know, are there but just can’t explain it to each other. The communication between the two of them become so intense that Yolland starts reeling of whole sentences, without realising that Maire does not have a clue what he is on about, she just stares at him unknowingly and wondering. It becomes clear that they need some common ground to try to relate with each other this occurs, when Yolland starts saying Irish place names, Maire reciprocates and this carries on as though they are flirting, which leads them back to the way they were, when they ran together, as once again they were holding hands, at this point they exchange their raw feelings without the satisfaction of being understood, they hold each other and tremble in one another’s arms, the lexis leading up to the kiss is very heated, there is a mutual understanding of the word ‘always’ I believe this to be significant as this is one of the final words before they kiss it just shows the compassion they hold for each other.
Unquestionably above everything the connection is a meeting of minds as the only way of really communicating was through paralanguage, and the fact that they are very similar people, with similar thoughts and feelings, about the way they act, the way they speak, and the way they feel for each other. In a way their relationship could be seen as an example to be followed, as if individual Irish and English people can get along and fall in love, what’s to say England and Ireland should not at least be able to tolerate each other. Yolland and Maire, by not understanding verbally, will have an extremely deep understanding of each other mind, in turn this may lead to a significantly compassionate relationship, or just a passing phase, however I believe there is a meeting of minds, and the kiss only emphasises the coming together of these two foreign bodies into one.