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William Kennedy’s Ironweed: Francis Phelan’s Purgatorial Journey Back Home
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education.
2007 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the essay “William Kennedy’s Ironweed: Francis Phelan’s Purgatorial Journey Back Home” I intend to show that William Kennedy has borrowed his narrative structure and symbolic language in the novel Ironweed from The Divine Comedy. I will also try to show how William Kennedy has used these allusions to enhance the imagery of Ironweed and the protagonist Francis Phelan’s wandering through the novel, and his return home. To accomplish this I will present a detailed comparative analysis of William Kennedy’s Ironweed and Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy.

I will begin by showing that Kennedy establishes the protagonist Francis Phelan as a Dante-like figure and a sinner who needs to go through purgatory to redeem himself. Moreover, Kennedy uses Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy’s landscape to enhance the imagery of a journey back home, and by showing that each chapter represents a different level on Mount Purgatory Kennedy makes Albany a symbol of the mountain itself. Details such as the mentioning of the seven deadly sins are also there to make the reader think of Dante and thereby reinforcing the image of The Divine Comedy’s landscape in Francis Phelan’s New York, Albany.

I also demonstrate that Kennedy borrows his symbolic structure from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. For example, the intricate ending of Ironweed where several parallels can be drawn to Purgatory and Paradise reinforces the impression of Francis Phelan’s happiness, that is, a reader who is familiar with The Divine Comedy will appreciate and understand Francis Phelan’s happiness and the journey he has accomplished even more.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. , p. 20
Keywords [en]
Ironweed, Divine Comedy, Purgatory, Journey
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-755OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-755DiVA, id: diva2:6474
Uppsok
humaniora/teologi
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Examiners
Available from: 2007-03-28 Created: 2007-03-28

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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