The Doll Interpretation

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sarahwasikowski
Words 1103
Pages 5
The Doll Interpretation The belief that a person’s childhood experiences have a long lasting effect on that person’s psychological development is commonly held by professionals and masses alike. The colloquial term “daddy issues” implies that the early absence of a father figure in a female’s life is to blame for later promiscuity and trust issues in romantic relationships. Although the effects are not always severe, a child’s adolescent environment and experiences continue to affect his or her subconscious well into adulthood. In Edna O’Brien’s short story, The Doll, O’Brien utilizes religious allusion and a detached point of view to illustrate the effects that a repressive Irish Catholic childhood had on her narrator. O’Brien’s subtle use of religious allusion conveys to the reader the ideals of the narrator’s childhood society that have been ingrained into the minds of its members. The narrator describes her victimization by her teacher as being “a cruel cross to bear” (O’Brien 49). This allusion to the crucifixion identifies the narrator as a Christ-like character, contrasting the teacher, playing the role of Pontius Pilate, who acted out of fear of losing power. This description further elucidates the ideology of the society to associate any suffering as a Christ-like sacrifice and falls in character for the pristine little girl, constantly plagued by the “cruelty and stupidity” of her world, to use this description to excuse the ways of her teacher (O’Brien 54). The narrator then finds hope as “somebody said that [her] doll would make a most beautiful Virgin” (O’Brien 50). The comparison ascertains the doll as a source of purity and divine perfection for the narrator and her peers. For a society who subscribes devoutly to the concept of Immaculate Conception, the narrator and her classmates would have their lovely Virgin doll be without sin or flaw. This…...

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