What Issues Of Communication Are Raised In The Play 'Translations'?

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What Issues Of Communication Are Raised In The Play


The play ‘Translations’ by Brian Friel is in many respects an intelligent and enlightening metaphor for the situation in Northern Ireland. Throughout the play Friel uses his satirical twists and mixes of tragedy with comedy to express the vulgarity and hypocrisy in Ireland. Friel introduces a variety of extremely heavy topics dealing with societal problems such as generation gaps, communication and cultural difference. The play centres mostly on the tragedy of English imperialism as well as Irish nationalism. The themes that run through Translations are only an indication of the subject matter Friel begins to base his writings on.

Translations may be located both temporally and spatially to a fixed point in Irish history. The characters hail from Baile Beag, renamed with the anglicised title of Ballybeg. The action of the play occurs over a number of days towards the end of August 1833. Before delving into the play it is clear, from these most general of points, that the main plot of Translations is a period of great significance in the colonial relationship between Ireland and England. The issue of communication in particular takes a significant central point in the play ‘Translations’. The problems of translations between the languages are a metaphor for the problems of communication between England and Ireland and its cultural barriers.

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Communication at first sight seems to be straight forward, in the opening scene, despite being dumb; Sarah can explain the whereabouts of the missing Hugh by a series of mimes. However Manus says to her, “Soon you’ll be telling me all those secrets that have been in that head of yours all these years” but for this, language is required and when language intervenes, then the difficulties arise.

Ironically language seems to be irrelevant to communication; this is evident in Maire and Yolland’s relationship. Maire does not understand the sappers but they can help her in the hayfield. ...

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The Quality of Written Communication is very good. The candidate utilises a number of analytical and comparative techniques and keeps their grammar, spelling and punctuation safely in check throughout the essay. It all suggests the candidate has re-read the essay to ensure they have not made any writing errors. This is something I greatly recommend all candidates do as it is an invaluable practise that can allow you to correct errors that even spell-checkers may miss. We all make errors without knowing about it, and only on proof-reading do we spot them so I advise candidates to always proof-read their work.

The Level of Analysis is exceptional. The candidate makes interesting and illuminating comments about the issues of communication and miscommunication featured in the play both in general and with regards to specific characters. As it is such an integral part of the play, it is good to see such an extensive analysis, though if time constraints limit you, do not feel pressured to reproduce quite the same amount of work, as this work is more than enough for a top grade.

This is a stellar literature essay. It delves to a profound level of detail in it's analysis, shows the examiner the candidate has an extensive knowledge of the play, it's purpose, and Friel's attitudes and values, which be assumed in light of the play's highly complex literal and symbolic nature. The candidate starts with a powerful introduction (though makes the mistake to damn the Irish with "vulgarity" and "hypocrisy", when it should be the English written instead), but still this is the only real quandary as the analysis to following is brilliant, discussing in detail the effectiveness and importance of scenes that involve issues of miscommunication (such as Maire and Yolland's ill-fated romance, and Lancey making a fool of himself in front of Jimmy Jack Cassie and the rest of the hedge-school). The answer is nicely written and is precise, though I would argue that the conclusion is a touch heavy-handed, making the essay conclude on a bit of a low-light. Jimmy Jack's warning not to be an "exogamein" as both 'tribes' get very angry is not so much a message that communication between cultures is impossible, but more a warning of the difficulties that arise when trying to communicate. It also very obviously deals with Maire and Yolland's relationship. Just be wary of being so heavy-handed in the future - make sure you don't make sweeping generalisations.