Chapter 10- The Secret Scripture



Roseanne’s perspective

Intertextuality -  Religio Medici by Sir Thomas Browne, roughly translated means religion of a doctor written in 1643. See folder for full info.

Starts with physical description of Dr Grene, she talks about being able to hide behind a beard, then states that “I know him.” Perhaps forshadowing the fact that Dr Grene is her son.

She talks about storytelling “master of stories” pg102 “I am the midwife to my own story.” Pg 102 and about the significance of books/stories being passed down through the generations – “great comfort from her people” Here she is stating that even though she has no family alive (apart from her son – although she does not know for sure) she takes comfort from knowing she was part of a family and the only way she can take strength and comfort from that fact is through the stories that she remembers or the books that they read.

She talks about John Kane and compares him to Dr Grene whom she describes as an ‘angel’.  “Compared to poor John Kane, with all his sins, his supposed rapes and wrong doing in the asylum, Dr Grene is an angel.”

Several points should be looked at in this sentence, the way Roseanne repeatedly refers to John Kane as ‘poor John Kane’ or ‘poor wretch’ in chpt. 3 shows a depth of kindness and forgiveness in her as she never condemns her abusers, of which there are many – John Kane, Father Gaunt, Mrs McNulty, Tom McNulty,  the system in general.  It could also be a technique used by Barry to make the reader question the validity of Roseanne’s story and whether we believe she was abused. In chpt 3 immediately after talking about John Kane never knocking she says “I do not consider Dr Grene an evil man.” The word ‘evil’ could be seen as referring back to John Kane as in chpt. 4 when Roseanne tells us that it was “noted with a small degree of dread that his flies were open.” There is insinuation here but the way she tells her story without condemnation of the characters allows the reader to apply their own interpretation.  Words like ‘supposed’ is an example of how the main characters continually question the absolute truth about statements made.

AO2/AO3  Give this quotation to the students and ask them to analyse it and be explicit about whether…


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