Sexuality and Irish identity in breakfast on Pluto

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Ireland has been envisioned as a woman for centuries, but what is becoming of Mother Ireland in the contemporary, relentlessly globalizing world, one where notions of “nationhood” and/or “national identity,” as well as gender and sexual identity are being increasingly rethought and redefined? The European element surging in Irish society in the last few decades is challenging the grass-roots Irish identity and inevitably female identity as well (Kiberd, “Modern Ireland” 97). Irish literature and identity, Kiberd suggests, used to be limited to three categories— language, religion, and nationalism, but it is now far beyond these dimensions (The Irish Writer and the World 282). Is the model of the male/female dichotomy itself still feasible in the increasingly hybrid (e.g. bi-sexual, multi-sexual, androgynous) sub-cultures of the early 21st century? Some contemporary fictions like Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto are potentially pointing toward newer cultural-gender-sexual models, models in which lesbian and gay theory might better explain some aspects of the Irish “motherland.” The political-culturalgender issues at stake here, already not easy to fully resolve, untangle or deconstruct, will only become increasingly complex. By reading Breakfast on Pluto, I am interested in discussing how the protagonist longs for an alternative sexuality, and why belonging to the traditional identity, whether personally, sexually, or nationally, may be problematic in contemporary Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


Chang, H. (2015, August). Sexuality and Irish identity in breakfast on Pluto. Paper presented at the European Network for Comparative Literary Studies (REELC/ENCLS) 6th Biennial Congress: Longing and belonging, Dublin City University and National University of Ireland, Dublin & Galway, Ireland.


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