Virtual period #7

Read the story: “Secrets” by Bernard MacLaverty

Bernard MacLaverty was born in Belfast in 1942, and moved to Scotland in 1975, where he lived in Edinburgh, on the Isle of Islay, and now in Glasgow. After leaving school he became a Medical Laboratory Technician, later studying at Queen’s University, Belfast and becoming an English teacher

Secrets and Other Stories: Bernard MacLaverty: 9780099773610 ...
Just in case you don’t have Stories of Ourselves with you, here the pdf

As you read, make connections between the writer and Irish Catholicism. What evidence of strong beliefs can you find in the story? (Do some research if necessary)

Leave a comment in the blog

This entry was posted in Tutorials IGCSE and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Virtual period #7

  1. Caro says:

    At the end of the story we can see how the boy´s curiosity played against him, as his aunt slapped him and blamed him of invading her privacy, which she did, after his aunt punished him and called him dirt the boy started to feel very guilty, as his aunt told him she would never forgive him up to the day she died. This guilt that this boy feels is the connection the story has with Irish catholicism, as I assume they are always searching for forgiveness and inner peace, just as the boy looks for it once his grand aunt died.

  2. Feli says:

    Bernard Maclaverty is an Irish writer, which was the first thing I instantly though to connect this story to Irish catholicism After reading the story i realized or notice the feeling he puts at the time of speaking of forgiveness. I can relate this to the religion since it is very clear that forgiveness is a great part of it, for forgiveness we have to confess and in the story the poor boy didn’t have time to say sorry to his aunt before her death so he tries to find another way to free him from his “sin”.

  3. Belu says:

    The irish Catholic are Irish people from the Catholic religion. The theme of the story is curiosity, guilty, love, letting go, innocence and forgivenesses. The writer Mac Laverty is an Irish man that writes about short story noveles. He comes from a Catholic family and her aunt Mary, that appears in many of his stories. The story is about a boy that read her Great Aunt Mary’s letters (curious), and he was said not tondo so. In all the letters he discovered one of its that was from someone named John. He was a boy that went to war and when he finished his service he joins a religion. ( Stuanch Catholic). Afterwards this event John and Mary split up.
    Because the narrator search her Great Mary’s things and had read the letters he felt so bad and apologized of this mistake, this is one of the connections. Also, I think that the writer tried to explain how John after the war seeked forgiveness in religion for all his has done in war, so war take people to destroyed feelings and relationships, but religion does the same, as John did with Mary.

  4. Santiago Yezze says:

    -The Irish Catholic is conformed by Irish people that are from the Roman Catholic region. Some themes for the story could be curiosity, letting go, guilt, love, innocence and forgiveness.
    -Bernard MacLaverty, is an Irish writer that writes short stories novels. He comes from a Catholic a Family, and had an aunt Mary that appeared in many stories. The story is about a boy that read her Great Aunt Mary’s letters(a Curious boy), which he was told not to do so. He discovers letters that were written to a man named John. This man was a boy who went to war and when he finished his military service he joined a religion(Staunch Catholic). After this, her great aunt Mary and John broke up.

    It is because the narrator searched great aunt Mary’s things and read the letter and the boy felt vas and seek forgiveness from her(Connection). I think that the writer tried to explain how John seeked forgiveness in religion for all he has done because of the war. So I think that war destroys people’s feelings or relationships.

  5. valentina pease says:

    the relationship to Irish Catholicism that stands out the most in this short story is when the author mentions Brother Benignus. In the story he is described as a friend to Aunt Mary and very little is known about him other than the fact that he delivered books to her. In the early 20th century Brother Benignus wrote a book called “Nature, Knowledge, and God”, this book was an introduction to Thomistic Philosophy. This philosophy seeks to articulate the content of Catholic Christianity and it holds that we can know about God through his creations, but that we can compare human goodness to God’s goodness and find certain differences. Bernard Mac Levarty describes himself as an unbeliever since he lived with the reality of sectarianism in sectarian Belfast. Despite this, a lot of his work mentions religion since he saw the dramatic potential it gave to an artist.
    This leads me to believe that in the story the characters are christian during a tense time between christianity and catholicism and that Brother Benignus provided Aunt Mary with books that narrated these beliefs during these times.

  6. mora says:

    In my opinion this story has more than one theme, love innocence and curiosity for example. The author was an Irish Catholic, and thats why I can connect innocence to the story and religion, because the boy feels guilty about reading the letters he wasnt suposed to, and he looks for forgiveness, as catholics do. Another imporatnt theme in this story is curiosity, I believe this because as the boy is really curious, he decides to read the letters although she wasnt aloud to do so.

  7. Pilar Cuba says:

    Irish Catholics are those who are both Roman Catholic and Irish. The story is about a boy, who checks her dead aunt’s belongings and finds love letters from her to a man who was at a war. They had the particularity that they were very religious, and this didn’t allow them to do many things or caused many troubles. While he was at the war, he decided to follow a religious way, because he felt like in that way, God will forgive him of atrocities of the war: ¨I feel deeply that I must do something, must sacrifice something to make up for the horror of the past year. In some strange way Christ has spoken to me through the carnage ¨ . She was a woman who always attended church, so people thought that it was impossible to her to fall in love because of the religion. It was difficult for them because they chose different paths, despite both believes on someone.

  8. Emilia Varela says:

    Bernard MacLaverty is a catholic Irish writer born on 1942. Irish catholic people belong to a religion called Irish Catholism. Therefore, we can tell that the writer of the story belongs to this religion. Their beliefs are mostly the same of those of regular catholics. Three pieces of evidence present in the story which show the beliefs are the fact that a funeral was held to honor the person who had died and absolutely everyone was strongly praying for her. Besides, towards the end of the story, John begged for forgiveness.

  9. Juana Navarro says:

    Bernard MacLaverty, is an Irish writer. His family was Catholic and his aunt Mary was her real aunt, and she appears in many of his stories. However, the writer of the story connects catholicism since the main theme of this story is forgiveness. The boy cries apologizing to his aunt for invading her privacy and reading her letters. John joins this religion to forgive him for what he did during the war. In conclusion, religion is present in most of his stories, and especially in this one, since forgiveness is asked and cried during many parts of the story.

  10. Manuel Carrizo says:

    There are many words, phrases and symbols that allow us to make connections between the writer, the story with the Irish Catholicism. For example, let’s begin with the themes, that are, love, death and celebration. Love, because the boy loved his grandmother. Death, because his grandmother died and finally, celebration. Each religion has a way to celebrate the death of someone, for example, the Irish one sings with a “chorus” (religion word) while “They had tried to wrap her fingers around a crucifix but they kept loosening.”. This is how people that belong to the Irish religion celebrate the death of someone. Also, after analyzing what I had just mentioned, the word “love” is more that “Loving a grandmother”, love is what god wants to transmit, it does not matter what you believe.

  11. Nico Larralde says:

    The writer Bernard MacLaverty was born during WWII in 1942 in Ireland. He also experienced troubles with religion during that time in Ireland, and that is why this story focuses in some points of that.
    The story “Secrets” is about a boy who reads his great aunt letters, called Mary, although he got forbidden to read them. The letters were set during the time the writer was born in, WWII. Mary received and sent letters to a man named John which she had a relation with. John had to go to war and after it finished, he joins the Staunch Catholic, a different religion from the one Mary was, this led to the ending of their relationship.
    This is the main connection between Irish catholicism and the story. From the 16th to the 20th century, divisions between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants played a major role in the history of Ireland. Mary was an Irish catholic, while John was a protestant. Religion was the cause of their breakup.
    Another connection and theme of the story is regret and guilt. The boy feels guilty and regrets having read these letters, so he looks for pardon in religion.

  12. Paz Bernusi says:

    Bernard Maclaverty, the author of “Secrets”, is Irish. He seems to be a very catholic man as in his story there is evidence of Irish Catholicism. At the beginning, we can see the presence of catholicism when they put a crucifix in Mary’s hands “They had tried to wrap her fingers around a crucifix…”. Then, when they are praying for Mary’s health they say “Hail Mary, full of grace”, this prayer is one of the most popular cathcolic ones. Also, the aunt, Mary, every Sunday went to Devotions, demonstrating her belief. Nevertheless, we can see Irish Catholicism even more represented with the letters which she used to receive from John. The man was a soldier in the war, and still thought about God. Although he was sorrounded by death, “You can distinguish them from the living because their faces are the colour of slate”, he kept on thinking that God would help them someday and thanked him that he was still alive: “God help us when the thaw comes”, “I thank god it is not me…” The main idea of Irish Catholicism is the doctrine of God as the Holy Trinity, which is represented when John talks about God as Christ: “In some strange way Christ has spoken me through the carnage”. We can notice how he the man is a very catholic person and how he believes God is represented through the Holy Trinity, following the beliefs of Irish Catholicism. Also, at the end of the story, we can see how the boy’s mother also followed this catholicism as when she speaks about her sister she says “God rest her”.

  13. Juan Simón Machado says:

    The short story “Secrets” is narrated in third person. This story explores many themes such as love, curiosity, innocence and forgiveness. The theme the author Bernard explores the most is curiosity, as the boy reads his aunt’s old letters after he is told not to do so. The main theme would be curiosity, but the theme with most connections to the author and religion ( Irish Catholicism) would be forgiveness and innocence. I almost couldn’t find connections in the story about him and Irish Catholicism so I had to do research as well and also make my own theories and beliefs. What I found related to Catholicism in the story, was the boy’s feelings of guilt because he invaded her aunt’s privacy and he is looking of forgiveness, he wishes to be forgiven by her. I believe the author is trying to say that Irish Catholics always search for a way to find peace and forgiveness in themselves.

  14. Matias Carreira says:

    In this story, strong connections to Irish Catholicism can be found. In the beginning we can clearly see that the protagonist’s family is quite religious as before his grandmother’s death we can observe that he takes part in her prayers. Furthermore, it can be seen that the grandmother’s lover fought a war were his beliefs and the strong love he felt for Aunt Mary were the only things keeping him sane. These conflicts were called “The Troubles”, they lasted about 30 years and started in the 1960’s. This brutal war consisted of British Protestants fighting Irish Catholics because of their different religions (Britain wanted control over Ireland and its religion). All of this violence is criticized by the Writer of this story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.