Vol. 9 No. 9 (2019): Whose Homelands? Fictions, Facts and Questions of the Irish Diaspora
Sezione monografica / Monographic Section

“Star of the Sea”: Resistance and Adapted Homelands

Heather Levy
Laboratorio editoriale OA / Dip. LILSI
Published June 12, 2019
How to Cite
Levy, H. (2019). “Star of the Sea”: Resistance and Adapted Homelands. Studi Irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies, 9(9), 137-160. https://doi.org/10.13128/SIJIS-2239-3978-25507


Joseph O’Connor’s Star of the Sea (2002) offers a nuanced depiction of the lifelong patterns of resistance of the Irish governess and Famine survivor, Mary Duane. Following Gayatri Spivak’s notions of the Other and of ‘wordling’ - the practice of the more powerful who seize their impressions of the experiences of those perceived as weaker to elevate themselves to “Sovereign Selves” – this essay charts the intersections of power and the production of meaning and knowledge and argues that Star of the Sea is a feminist excavation of strategies of diasporic strength. O’Connor’s heroine is not a victimized female Other who can merely report; she is not permanently elusive and powerless, rather she is gradually revealed as a resourceful and inspirational character who relies on the idea of a noble Irish homeland which she adapts to navigate moral dilemmas, trauma and chaotic borders.


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