Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A St. Patrick's Day Salute to some Feisty Irish Females of Fiction

As I am an American of Irish descent(on both sides of my family tree, I might add), it is my pop culture duty to highlight a fun aspect of my heritage on St. Patrick's Day.

I've done several themes in the past but this year's is less satirical than I usually get. Our focus today is on Fictional Irish Heroines, with a fine quartet of ladies who do both the Emerald Isle and many of the Erin Go Bragh enclaves in America proud.

Speaking of America, the first female on our list is rather iconic as she is the focal point of the biggest Civil War soap opera that literature and Hollywood has produced. Yes, Miss Scarlett O'Hara, that model of Southern belle hood, is at heart a fiercely determined sweet talker not afraid to get her dainty hands dirty to protect her family's land, much like her rowdy father Gerald(who she takes after more than she wants to admit).

Granted, her goals as well her means of achieving them are pretty subject to debate regarding the rights and wrongs of her situation. However, you have to admire the sheer nerve Scarlett has when faced with obstacles such as war, sudden poverty and extra responsibility for others. Not to mention that she always looks good in green, a fashionable plus in any circumstance:

 Next up is a more modern girl than Scarlett, yet she still has to deal with the social strictures that insist upon keeping a young woman in her "place."

 While Maeve Binchy's novel(and film) Circle of Friends has one than one heroine, our main attention goes to Bernadette/Benny Hogan, the only child of two devoted  small town parents who are willing to let her attend university in  1950'sDublin but only if she comes home every night.

Benny faces many changes while at school, including catching the eye of Jack Foley, a boy in a somewhat higher social class than herself(plus, rather good looking to boot). Nervous about her looks as well as fending off the unwanted advances of the slimey second in command of her father's business, Benny's relationship with Jack manages to get off on an even keel but soon enough, sudden events cause both of them to reconsider their emotional options.

Don't worry, this love story ends well. The struggles that Benny faces with Jack only serve to strengthen their bond but even without him, Benny finds herself to be much more capable of handling things than she or anyone else might have expected. It is nice, though, to see such a solid girl find a mate worth her while:

Meanwhile, in the U.S. around the same time period, another young woman has some harsh realities to deal with, starting with the death of her brother Joey.

 A key element in On The Waterfront is the influence that Edie Doyle has upon Terry Molloy, the washed up boxer who turns a blind eye to the brutal Mob dealings all around him.

His participation in the the event that lead to Joey Doyle's death sparked enough guilt that Edie, who he also felt guilty about being attracted to, used to encourage Terry to take a stand against the mob. While she was heartbroken about learning the truth behind his role in her brother's murder, Edie's core belief in the goodness of others made her eventually forgive Terry and stand by him when it counted. Of course, she was no push over either, demanding as much from him as she did from herself :

We now reach our present day, as TV gives us a smart and savvy lady lawyer who delivers a unique brand of justice. Erin Reagan-Boyle comes from a long line of police officers, as seen on the series Blue Bloods, with her father,grandfather and most of her brothers currently on or off the force.

By becoming an Assistant D.A., Erin often works with her family and usually butts heads with them as her by-the-book standards tend to clash with their rough and tumble approach. Regardless of that, the love and mutual interest in seeing justice done keeps those family ties tight.

Erin is no stranger to experiencing crime herself, having been on the receiving end of bad guy intentions at one time or another. That doesn't prevent her from going forth with her sworn duties, however, or encouraging others to do the same:

On that note, I'd like to wish all of the lads and lasses out there a very Happy St. Patrick's Day(as well as a sober and safe one!). While the wearing of the green is fun, it's also a good opportunity to check out what makes our Irish background set us off so prominantly.

I thought a good way to wrap up this post would be a tip of the hat to Maureen O'Hara, the most premier Irish actress of our age.

 Her work in such films as The Quiet Man, Miracle on 34th Street and How Green Was My Valley is legendary and despite her getting an honorary Oscar several years ago, it's clear that she should have received full Academy honors far sooner. Ms. O'Hara, we salute you and the fine example of Irish womanhood you have set, not to mention excellent acting and true decorum as befitting a fine lady as yourself:

1 comment:

Thaddeus said...

I'm late to the party, but I must say that I love Irish women - they don't take Shit from anyone, and that's a lovely and admirable quality...