Social Realism

During the 1980s, many artists believed that by creating work describing the ‘real’ world they could inspire people to want to change it for the better.

Doyle’s novel is one of social realism, showing snapshots of what real everyday life was like.

Sometimes when we think of Ireland at this time in history we only focus on The Troubles. Doyle’s work reminds us that there is much more to the country.

His writing describes the good and bad of everyday life in some working class communities.

Alongside the warmth and adventure that Paddy feels and sees in his community, there are also incidents of violence, poverty and child neglect. Doyle shows us these through Paddy’s voice.

Some people have criticised Doyle for what they see as his negative or stereotypical depiction of Irish life. Some critics believe that the amount of ‘bad language’ in his books is unrealistic.

However, Doyle does not write as an outsider looking in on working class life. He is from the communities he chooses to write about. His colourful dialogue, vivid descriptions and cultural references all give the novel realism.