Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy
Wednesday 27 November 2013, 6 p.m. section
In that fair city where I did dwell
A butcher boy I knew right well
He courted me my life away
But now with me he will not stay
I wish I wish I wish in vain
I wish I was a maid again
But a maid again I never will be
Till cherries grow on an ivy tree
He went upstairs and the door he broke
He found her hanging from a rope
He took a knife and cut her down
And in her pocket these words he found
Oh make my grave large wide and deep
Put a marble stone at my head and feet
And in the middle a turtle dove
That the world may know I died for love. (p. 223)
- Do you think Francie suffered from a mental illness?
- What feelings does the reader have towards the main character?
- In what ways does Francie's stream of consciousness differ from Leopold Bloom?
- What words best describe the book as a whole?
- I personally felt very sorry for Francie. Dealing with mental illness alone is a very difficult thing to overcome. The book touched me deeply because I have a very close friend commit suicide in large part to a very severe mental illness. Francie's character reminded me of my friend Seamus, which makes the story even more haunting for me.
- How do you feel about his best friend Joe? Are you angry towards him for abandoning his friend? Or do you think he did not really have a choice in the matter?
- Again this falls along the lines of my friend and his mental illness, he had a lot of support but often times he was so unstable amongst friends and family that it was hard to have him around. Many of his friends are guilty of not providing him the time or guidance he needed to improve his illness, which is what Francie needed in the story as well.