Quotation by Edna O'Brien

I had got away. That was my victory. The real quarrel with Ireland began to burgeon in me then; I thought of how it had warped me, and those around me, and their parents before them, all stooped by a variety of fears—fear of church, fear of gombeenism, fear of phantoms, fear of ridicule, fear of hunger, fear of annihilation, and fear of their own deeply ingrained agression [sic] that can only strike a blow at each other, not having the innate authority to strike at those who are higher. Pity arose too, pity for a land so often denuded, pity for a people reluctant to admit that there is anything wrong. That is why we leave. Because we beg to differ. Because we dread the psychological choke. But leaving is only conditional. The person you are is anathema to the person you would like to be.
Edna O'Brien (b. c. 1932), Irish author; relocated to England. Mother Ireland, ch. 7 (1976).
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