Padraig Pearse, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Harp

  1. Outline how Henry characterises Pearse and the Irish Volunteer.


    • wears a full uniform, pistol, provision, sword (p. 99 ll. 6-7)
    • sweating like a bastard (p.99 l. 10)
    • little brother, sister (p.99 l. 10, p.101 l. 13)

    • soft voice (p.103 l. 26)

    • reads out proclamation (p. 103 ll. 16ff.)  important person in the Easter Rising


    • Jesus, I hate the Volunteers.” (p. 110 l. 35)
    • Henry is ready to shoot Volunteers (p. 122 ll.14-16)

task 2:Explain the significance of Irish harps and rosaries.

harps: The harp is probably the most popular national symbol of Ireland. With the Easter Rising the Irish wanted to take over the whole country and that the british soldiers would leave.It is emphasized by the sentence ʺWe´ll put harps on everythingʺ (p.96 l.38) and this should also express that the Irish identify with the harps and that everything will be under irish control.

rosary: The rosary is in the novel a kind of symbol for hope during the Easter Rising. When the irish rebels are surrounded by the British they are scared to die and that the fights will be over and they don´t have a chance to win against them.

Because of so many attacks by the British the hope is failing which is expressed by the words ʺthe rosary had broken into a sprintʺ (p.126 l.20). The rosary is also a symbol for religion (especially the roman catholic one) and for the belief in god.

3.Interpret how Henry comments on the Volunteers,their efforts and their

ultimate failure.

-sorry-looking (p.100 l.8)

-detests the Voluteers, being rich and detesting the slummers

(p.110 l.35ff)

– class differences> ready to kill them (p. 122 l.14ff)

> He cannot stand them because of their origin and their opinion about class differences

  1. Henry´s relationship to the Volunteers:

– fights together with them (p.100 ll. 6-7)

– thinks that they are richer and do not know anything about poverty (p. 121 ll. 10-11,122; ll. 7-16, 20-28)

– does not agree to the Volunteers´ view of justice at all > is ready to kill them (p. 122 ll. 20-29)

  • thinks that they are used to rich circumstances because they are do not eat meat on Fridays but when he eats their food it is the best meal he ever ate (p. 138 ll. 15-24) > ungrateful

Hai, Hannah, Merle