Irish women: A different voice in Iris Murdoch’s something special

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This paper aims to do justice to Iris Murdoch’s contribution to Irish short story writing. Although Murdoch is highly regarded among literary critics and common readers around the world, she is primarily labeled as a distinguished English novelist and philosopher. Grand narratives on themes such as morality and existence demarcate the majority of Murdoch criticism, while the fact that Dublin-born Murdoch also portrayed the contemporary Ireland she envisioned is unfairly obscured. This paper discuses Murdoch’s only extant short story titled Something Special, in which the dilemma of mid-twentieth-century Irish women is depicted. Introduction and conclusion aside, it falls into three parts. Part one presents the plight of Irish women amid the patriarchal society. Part two centers on the analysis of Yvonne Geary, the female protagonist of the story, against the backdrop of male-centered Irish culture. In part three, Yvonne’s dissatisfaction with the status quo as well as her efforts to get out from under the patriarchal tradition is investigated. It is found that this less documented Irish text sheds new light on the discussion of twentieth-century Irish women by inventing the prototypical feminist character, Yvonne Geary, and the story prefigures other feminist characters that subsequently arise in contemporary Irish literature. Copyright © 2015 Akade´miai Kiado´, Budapest, Hungary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-211
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


Chang, H. (2016). Irish women: A different voice in Iris Murdoch’s something special. Neohelicon, 43(1), 201-211.


  • Iris Murdoch
  • Something special
  • Irish women


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