Landscape, nation, and women in J. M. Synge’s one-act plays

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In the history of 20th-century drama, J. M. Synge is celebrated for his depiction of the west of Ireland in Gaelic English. The Aran Islands, for example, records his personal encounter with this far-away land. The pure Irish culture, language, and lifestyle typical of the west of Ireland had combined, by the beginning of the century, to create an imaginary homeland for Irish nationalists, who craved a native cultural identity tied to the primitive life of the soil and to the past. Synge‟s plays are characterized by their discussion, not just of national but of female identity; the plays depict the many problems, dilemmas and sufferings of Irish women. This paper looks at how the Irish “landscape” is represented in Synge‟s one-act plays, Riders to the Sea and The Shadow of the Glen, and in his travel accounts in The Aran Islands. More specifically, it looks at the ways in which certain aspects or features of this landscape are entangled with Irish national and female identities, and with their metamorphoses. Copyright © 2011 Department of English Language and Literature, Chinese Culture University.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-178
JournalHwa Kang English Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


Chang, T. C. (2011). Landscape, nation, and women in J. M. Synge’s one-act plays. Hwa Kang English Journal, 17(1), 159-178.


  • Irish landscape
  • J.M. Synge
  • The Aran Islands
  • Riders to the Sea
  • The Shadow of the Glen


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