Episode III

Memory

Episode III opens a short time later with Gar, S.B. and Madge saying the rosary.

When they have finished praying, Gar Public asks S.B. if he still has a memory from Gar’s childhood.

But the Canon, Ballybeg’s parish priest, turns up before S.B. can be questioned any further.

The Canon and S.B. play draughts, in exactly the same way they do every night, with few new topics of conversation.

Gar takes this opportunity to quiz Madge about his mother. Madge reveals little and suggests Gar ask his father.

Part One of Episode III ends with S.B. and the Canon playing their uneventful draughts game.

The final scene

The final scene begins in the middle of the night. Gar’s belongings are sitting packed outside his bedroom. S.B. is awake and making a cup of tea when he sees them.

As he “touches the coat” and stares at Gar’s bedroom door, we suspect that he is more concerned about Gar’s departure than he shows.

When Gar can’t sleep and finds S.B. awake too, Private urges Public to communicate with his father.

Gar asks again about the memory he has of a childhood boating trip they shared, but S.B. doesn’t remember it the same way.

Overcome with frustration and emotion Gar “rushes quickly into the shop”.

When Madge returns from a family visit we get a rare insight into S.B.’s mind as he wonders whether he’ll manage without Gar. One of his final lines before he leaves the stage is, “I was too old for her, Madge, eh?”

This suggests that S.B.’s life too is full of disappointment and hidden regret.

An ambiguous ending

The play closes with Private asking Public, “God, Boy, why do you have to leave? Why? Why?” Gar replies, “I don’t know. I - I - I don’t know.”

The ending is ambiguous and we are left unsure whether Gar goes or not.

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