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Scholarcast 50: The Van

Paula Murphy


The Van, the final novel in Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy, explores the physical, psychological and social impact of unemployment on the protagonist, Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. Having been laid off from his job as a plasterer, Jimmy struggles to find a new role for himself within the family that is not connected to being the breadwinner. As his relationships with his wife, children and friends are tested, he falls into anxiety and depression. The comic potential and the happiness associated with his work in the chip van with his friend Bimbo are relatively short lived. Ultimately, the novel suggests that combatting the effects of unemployment takes more than simply finding work again, and the novel ends bleakly with Jimmy having fallen into depression again and pleading pitifully for comfort.

Paula Murphy

Dr. Paula Murphy is a lecturer in the English Department in Mater Dei Institute of Education, A College of DCU. Her work addresses contemporary Irish fiction, drama and film and its intersections with literary theory, and she had published widely in these areas. She is the author of A Shattered Mirror: Irish Literature and Film, 1990-2005 (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008), and co-editor of New Voices in Irish Criticism: Ireland in Theory (Edwin Mellen Press, 2007). She is also the general editor of the journal REA: Religion, Education and the Arts.


Series edited by: Derek Hand
General Editor: P.J. Mathews
Scholarcast original theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey.
Recording, audio editing, photography, video and development by: John Matthews, Vincent Hoban, Brian Kelly & Ken Doyle at UCD Media Services.

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