The novel “Felicia’s Journey” by William Trevor presents a story of a young girl who had a tragic love experience in her life. She had a love affair with Johnny Lysaght who abandoned her when he found out that she was pregnant. Some readers keep to the point that the novel concentrates on the problems which young people may face in their lives, namely unsuccessful first love and disagreement with parents, however, others state that it also highlights such aspects as relations between Irish and British people as well as criminality as a result of mental disorder. There is a necessity to find out which aspects the novel covers and whether these aspects are important for the present-day reader.
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To begin with, Trevor’s novel shows that unsuccessful first love often leads to hasty steps young girls usually make. Felicia’s story is an example of such a step that made her suffer not only her but her family as well. Her story is also an example of problematic relations with parents which can be so frequently observed nowadays. Most of the children reject their parents’ opinions and never listen to their pieces of advice which very often leads to trouble. Young Felicia who was in love with Johnny had all her thoughts about him trusting him and considering that her parents simply did not want to share her happiness. At the end of the story, she realized that she made a mistake: “The innocence that once was hers is now, with time, a foolishness, yet it is not disowned, and that same lost person is valued for leading her to where she is” (William Trevor 207).
What’s more, the reader cannot but notice the collision of two nationalities, the British and the Irish, in “Felicia’s Journey”. Here it should be noted that William Trevor himself lived in Britain and was obsessed with Ireland. In his stories, he portrayed Irish and British characters separately but in ”Felicia’s Journey” he depicted their interrelation. The novel seems “to stage an intense desire on the part of Irish culture to erase both the British anti-Irish racism […] and the resentful anti-British response-racism” (Graham MacPhee, Prem Poddar 51) by confronting an Irish girl, her British lover, and her “savior” who is British as well.
And finally, the novel deals with the notion of criminality representing Mr. Hilditch as a serial killer. It points out that sometimes people may be different from what they seem to be at the first sight and this especially concerns such people as Mr. Hilditch who tried “to entice a young run-away Irish girl into his company and, eventually, his suburban home” (Roger Webster 115). Some scholars keep to the point that “Felicia’s Journey” presents what happens with a man who lives in a family-oriented community. The novel deals with a certain psychological aspect, namely, that if a person is surrounded by people who differ from him/her, in this case in marital status, s/he feels deficient and may have mental disorders based on dissatisfaction with his/her way of living.
In conclusion, it is worth adding that William Trevor’s ”Felicia’s Journey” indeed covers some aspects such as relations between children and parents, which has always been a vital issue, interactions between different nationalities, which seems to be important for people belonging to these nationalities, and mental disorders which arise because of dissatisfaction with one’s way of life and result in violence and criminality, which is a very significant point to discuss these days.
William Trevor. Felicia’s Journey. London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1994.
Graham MacPhee, Prem Poddar. Empire and After: Englishness in Postcolonial Perspective. Berghahn Books, 2007.
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Roger Webster. Expanding Suburbia: Reviewing Suburban Narratives. Berghahn Books, 2000.