"the Granite Ceiling": Discourses of Gender and Oppression in the Poetry of Paula Meehan
Sroka, Ginnelle Lynn
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Jessica Jane O'hara, Thesis Supervisor Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Honors Advisor Dr. Jack L Selzer, Faculty Reader
Irish Poetry Meehan Gender Oppression
This thesis strives to provide contextual and critical analysis of a selection of Irish poet Paula Meehan’s poetry in light of her personal and canonical struggles with oppression and exclusion. The project is divided into two separate sections under which the poems are categorized: motherhood and influence, and the creation of poetry. The poems chosen in these sections offer insight into Meehan’s views on these subjects and how those views are directly linked to the oppressions surrounding the female voice in Irish poetic canon. This thesis argues that the resistance to outwardly repressive forces is an integral part of Meehan’s creative process and analyzes how this resistance has shaped her poetry. Examination of these influences and their link to her development as a poet also has significant implications for a minority in any poetic canon by revealing the effects of repression and exclusion. Though this project observes that oppression certainly affects poetry, it also proves that the poet has the ability to affect oppression.