Paddy Clarke

1201 WORDS

Paddy Clarke

The novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha has no authorial presence at all, yet the reader
gains a richer understanding of the situation than Paddy – or any other

10-year old – could ever have. With regard to the parent’s break up, how
does Doyle achieve this? There are many factors which suggest how Doyle has
succeeded in creating a 'triangular relationship' between himself the reader and
the narrator – Paddy Clarke – so that the reader has a greater awareness of
the predicament that Paddy is in. Doyle’s achievement is how he alternates the
poetic and realistic without once lapsing into stream-of-self-consciousness; the
only way we - as readers can tell it's written by an adult, is by the spelling.

We see the violence in Paddy's life peripherally; Doyle tells us nothing more
than what the child sees and comprehends. One of the reasons for Roddy Doyle’s
success lies in creating a realistic and convincing character for a 10-year old
child. He does this by his clever use of language, and also in how he arranges
his sentences to convey deep emotion and feeling than any emotive language
could: "He’d hit her. Across the face; smack. I tried to imagine it. It
didn’t make sense. I’d heard it; he’d hit her. She’d come out of the
kitchen, straight up to their bedroom. Across the face." – P190 In this
instance, Doyle has used short and evident sentences, to invoke a feeling of awe
and confusion. The short sentences represent how Paddy is dumbstruck and lost
for words, shocked by what he’s heard – this is also highlighted when he
says here; "I tried to imagine it. It didn’t make sense." Here, he also
emphatically uses onomatopoeia – "smack," – which adds to the sense of
fearful respect and also Paddy’s child-like interpretation of events.

Repetition is used here – "Across the face" – heading his oft-repeated
amazement. Another example of how Doyle uses repetition can be seen on pages 153
and 154: "I waited for them to say something different, wanting it -
......Only now, all I could do was listen and wish. I didn’t pray; there were
no prayers for this.... But I rocked the same way as I did when I was saying
prayers....I rocked - Stop stop stop stop – ." Doyle uses repetition to show

Paddy’s anxiety, when he repeats ‘stop’. Here, Paddy is mentally
commanding his parents to stop in desperation, as he thought he had done on page

42: " - Stop. There was a gap. It had worked; I’d forced them to stop." He
believes that he has the power to make his parents stop arguing, as shown on
page 42, but realisation dawns when he repeatedly tells them to stop on page

154, and it doesn’t work. This reflects on the fact that Paddy Clarke is a
child, and his inability to restrain his emotions is a facet of his youth
showing through. Another childish aspect throughout the book is how Paddy –
like other children at that age would – spouts offhand irrelevant knowledge
that’s he’s picked up from class or elsewhere: "Snails and slugs were
gastropods; they had stomach feet.... The real name for soccer was association
football. Association football was played with a round ball on a rectangular
pitch by two sides of eleven people...... Geronimo was the last of the renegade

Apaches...... I learned this by heart. I liked it." Readers can relate to
this, as we can all remember when we’d learnt something that we’d found
particularly fascinating at school or the library, and recited it all the time,
thinking we were clever. Another reason why the reader of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
has a higher understanding than is simply because the adult audience has more
experience in family issues – from our own experiences. We can see the
violence in his life superficially; we are told nothing more than what the child
sees and comprehends. A good example of this can be found on page 95: "Ma said
something to Da. I didn’t hear it.... I looked at ma again. She was still
looking at Da. Catherine had one of Ma’s fingers in her mouth and she was
biting real hard – she had a few teeth – but Ma didn’t do anything about
it." Here, Paddy has given us an insight to the emotional turmoil that exists
in the family, but Doyle – again – has not used any emotional adjectives to
show this. We can interpret what

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