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Word Count: 1,272
It is always interesting to know what the deeper senses of a title are Certainly one like Reading in the Dark appeals to the imagination and some people might even be disappointed if it would only have one significance That is not the case here on the contrary the title contains a number of ideas that are inextricably connected to the story The combination of reading and darkness may seem somewhat conflicting at first sight but it becomes clear that the blending of these two factors describes the subject matter in an ideal way In addition both reading and darkness have a meaning of their own which is elaborated in function of the novels contents The most obvious reference to the title of the novel is the chapter in which the boy remembers his fascination for The Shan Van Vocht the first novel he ever read The Irish title can be translated as The Poor Old Woman which is a traditional name for Ireland RD 19 It deals with the great rebellion of 1798 when the Irish revolted against the British establishment in Ireland but were brutally defeated httpenwikipediaorgwikiIrishRebellionof1798 The reason Deane chose this nationalistic book is that it stands for the chaotic torrent of Irish history httpwwwsaloncomapril97reading2970411html and can then also be associated with the complex history of the boys family which is gradually revealed as the novel advances This revealing of the past is a second explanation of the title When the boy is reading The Shan Van Vocht at night his brother asks him to turn off the lights For Christs sake put off that light 20 This doesnt stop him from thinking about the novel and from inventing the course of it Id switch off the light get back to bed and lie there the book still open re-imagining all I had read the various ways the plot might unravel the novel opening into endless possibilities in the dark 20
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