Boekverslag: The Butcher Boy
Titel of auteur
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The butcher boy
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About the book
1. title and explanation:
The Butcher Boy:
1) After Francie returned from the corrective school, he worked for a butcher.
2) He kills Mrs. Nugent like a butcher slaughters a pig.
3) ?The Butcher Boy? is also the title of a song about suicide which Francie?s mother listened to after she came back from a mental hospital.
2. year of first publication:
3. Subtitles, Mottoes and explanation:
No subtitles, no mottoes, so no explanation.
4. Point of view and effect on the reader:
First person past, interior monologue.
1) Disturbing (the reader is at the first row of the process of Francie going mad.)
2) The reader only knows about the characters and other events what Francie thinks about them.
5. structure and explanation:
Francie writes the story years and years after the events in the novel. There are actually three ?timelayers?: the one in which the story is written down, the one in which Francie is hiding, and finally the one in which the events happen.
6. outline of the plot:
Francis Brady is a young boy living with his parents in a small Irish town. His best friend is Joe Purcell. His great hero is his uncle Alo who lives who lives in London and has ten men under him. With the arrival of the kind of snobby Nugent family in town the trouble starts. Mrs. Nugent calls the Brady family a family of pigs (The word ?pig? becomes an obsession to Francie) and her son, Phillip, ?steals? Joe from Francie. The marriage of Francie?s parents appears to be bad, and while Francie runs away (to Dublin) because his Uncle Alo vanished after a row with his father (Alo came over for Christmas), his mother commits suicide. Francie thinks it?s his fault. His father goes all numb and the house becomes a mess. (His father suffered from a complex ? he spent his childhood in an orphanage) The obsession for PIG, the guilt he feels for his mother?s death and maybe the jealousy at the Nugent family slowly makes him mad. One day he breaks into the house of the Nugents, half-hallucinating, and he is put into a corrective school. The school is lead by priests. He doesn?t care about the other pupils. He starts a paedophilic relationship with Father Tiddly, who thinks Francie is able to see holy men, in change for candy. When Tiddly asks him about his home he attacks him. Then Francie is released, in the hope he will not tell everyone about Tiddly. When he is back in town, it?s not the same between him and Joe, but he doesn?t realise that. As he doesn?t go to school anymore and his father doesn?t work anymore, he starts working for the local butcher, Leddy. He also starts drinking. He turns madder and madder. One day he is taken away from his house by concerned village-people. The reason for that is the death of his father, which he hadn?t noticed. He is put in a hospital where doctors give them a chemical treatment. When he comes back home he finds that his house is cleaned by Mrs. Connelly. He doesn?t appreciate her help though and threatens her. He manages to fake he is mentally healthy again, but there is still the obsession for Joe and Mrs. Nugent. Meanwhile he visits the boarding house (Over the Waves) where his parents spent their honeymoon. His father had told that everyone there admired his parents, but he hears from the owner that his father was drunk all the time and insulted a priest. Joe is at a boarding school now, with Philip, and when Francie visits this school in the middle of the night Joe says they are no friends. Now Francie is really mad at Mrs. Nugent, because he blames her for losing Joe and making him turn his back on his mother. He breaks into her house, shoots her with the gun the butcher uses for killing animals (pigs), cuts her open and writes ?Pigs? all over the walls of the room with her blood. He hides her body in the slaughterhouse. Of course he is suspected of the murder and arrested. He doesn?t want to tell where the body is. He manages to escape and hides in the hideout he and Joe made when they were boys. The policemen didn?t find him and he goes back to his house where he makes a huge bonfire. The police catch him again and this time he brings them to the slaughterhouse. He is sentenced to treatment in a mental institute for the rest of his life.
7. description of the characters:
* Francis Brady (Francie) is very possessive of his friend Joe. He feels guilt of his mother?s death. He admires his uncle Alo. He hates Mrs. Nugent, who he blames for all the bad things that happen to him, and feels jealous of her son Philip. In the course of the story he turns completely mad. He is a psychopath, but you have to feel for him. Major, round
* Mrs. Nugent is a woman who used to live in the town and returns after living in London for a few years. She is snobby (middle-class) and thinks she is better than the Brady family. She discourages her son Phillip to play with Francie. Francie thinks she is the root of all evil. Minor, round
* Joe Purcell was the Francie?s best friend. Later on he is friends with Philip and is kind of afraid of Francie. He doesn?t want to meet or speak him anymore. Minor, flat
* Phillip Nugent attended a private school in London before he came to Francie?s town. At first he is being picked on, but later on he becomes Joe?s best friend. Minor, flat
* Mrs. Brady is Francie?s mother. She?s very disappointed in her husband and tries to commit suicide. She fails and is sent to a mental hospital (the ?garage?). She seems healthy again, but when Francie runs away (to Dublin) she succeeds in committing suicide. Minor, flat
* Benny Brady is Francie?s father. He spent his youth in an orphanage. He played the trumpet well. During his honeymoon he was constantly drunk and he insulted a priest. He?s disappointed in his wife and stops playing the trumpet. After his wife?s suicide he starts drinking even more and doesn?t care about anything anymore. He dies as a result of the alcohol. Minor, flat
* Father Tiddly is a priest who works at the corrective school. He is a paedophile and mad. Minor, flat
* Uncle Alo is Benny Brady?s brother. In comparison to the rest of the family he has done well: He lives in Camden Town, England and has ?ten men under him?. His brother detests him (the orphanage-complex) and at the end of the evening when Alo came over he confronts him with his wife, who is twenty years his senior, and his job, which is a factory-job. Alo is in love with Mary of the Sweetshop, but doesn?t dare to tell her. Minor, flat
Where: Small Irish town, near Dublin. When: The early 60?s (Munich air disaster, J.F. Kennedy, mentioned popsongs). Atmosphere: Horrific, Depressing, Madness (the writing style)
9. Theme(s) and explanation:
Madness, friendship, murder, small-town life. Francie becomes mad. His friendship with Joe is an obsession. He murders Mrs. Nugent. His problems are caused by growing up in a small town and all the problems it causes.
10. Type of Novel and explanation:
It?s a novel of character: About Francie becoming mad.
Argument for social novel: about small-town life.
11. Style of writing:
Disturbing, because Francie is mad. It?s written in Francie?s way of talking. Many times you have to find out yourself if he says something, thinks something or describes something: there is very little use of intepunction in the dialogues.
12. Did you like the book? Reasons.
I liked the book. The disturbing way of writing made it very tense and interesting.
About the writer:
Year of publication: 1992
Edition read: 1993
16. Description of life:
Born in 1955. Has a wife and two daughters. Has written one children?s story; three other adult novels and a play based on this book. Has won a prize with this book.
17. Type of literature:
18. Subject matter, themes:
19. Literary period:
20. Link these facts with the novel read:
Well, it?s about a small Irish town. He was about the same age as Francie in the early sixties.
(These are the things we need to know for our oral exams, I hope it's useful to you)
- The Butcher Boy
- Patrick McCabe
- Meer boeken van:Patrick McCabe