Scholarly Essays

"Beckett and Begrudgery: The Concept of Resentment in Samuel Beckett's Molloy"

For many literary critics, Samuel Beckett was above the hurly burly of the quotidian. His work was strictly universal, existing on the plane of the abstract and philosophical, rather than dealing with specific human foibles, particularly those peculiar to his native Ireland. But in the era immediately following the Second World War, Beckett was not averse to exploring one of the most peculiar of the peculiarly Irish traits: begrudgery. A virulent combination of jealousy, spite, and festering resentment, begrudgery prevailed in epidemic proportions in the Ireland of Beckett's day. Beckett himself was not untouched by Irish begrudgery. His character Moran, the protagonist and narrator of the second book of Beckett's Molloy, exhibits all of the characteristics of Irish begrudgery. After establishing what begrudgery is, and tracing its philosophical and the sociological origins with an eye to Irish history, this study will culminate in a close reading of Molloy.