Sexuality and Irish identity in Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto

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Traditional Irish literature has valorized women through idealized female stereotypes. This sanctification was promoted to liberate their nation and retrieve their motherland from their colonizers. Due to this idealization and abstraction, Irish women were deprived of any actual power amid the nationalistic, patriarchal culture. However, a precise distinction between men and women has become problematic in the increasingly multicultural world since the late twentieth century. This debunking of sexual essentialism often arises in tandem with other changes in politics, history, and religion. Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto illustrates this phenomenon. By reading Breakfast on Pluto, this paper discusses the protagonist’s longing for an alternative sexuality, and why adhering to the traditional identity, whether personally, sexually, or nationally, is no longer feasible in contemporary Ireland. I argue that McCabe purports to challenge established fixities surrounding (post-)Trouble writing by adopting an extremely marginalized protagonist, thereby debilitating constructed foundations of gender and politics and anticipating an alternative framework of post-Trouble history. Copyright © 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction
Early online dateMar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2023


Chang, H. (2023). Sexuality and Irish identity in Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/00111619.2023.2196391


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