Across The Barricades Theme Essay

Across the barricades

This bookreview is about a Catholic and a Protestant in Northern Ireland who is struggeling for their love to each other.
Sjanger:Anmeldelse (bok, film...)Lastet opp:14.06.2000
Tema:Across the barricades



This story is about Kevin, a Catholic boy, and Sadie, a Protestant girl. The story takes place in Northern Ireland. Kevin and Sadie are not supposed to meet one another because of their religions, but they ignore what people say. So they keep seeing each other. And now I am going to tell you about the problems this gives them.


It all starts when they meet each other on the buss stop. They decide to have a little chat on a little coffee shop nearby, since they have not seen each other in a long time. After a while they decide to take a trip up to Cave Hill. They stay there for a long time. While they are up there Sadie`s parents finds out that she is meeting a Catholic boy. Her parents do not approve to this.


Sadie ignores her parents disapproval, and she keeps seeing Kevin, more and more. One day Kevin was walking home from a meeting with Sadie, three guys attack him, because some of his friends had found out about his secret meetings with Sadie, a Protestant. Kevin is badly injured. The next day he is suppose to meet Sadie. He can barely move or walk, but he goes to meet her anyway. And meanwhile Brede, Kevin`s sister, tries to talk Sadie out of seeing Kevin, but eventually she goes to meet him anyway.


The same night they get invited home to an old nice man, Mr. Blake. They stay there the rest of that evening. Mr. Blake offers them to meet in secrecy at his home. And so they do. Sadie lost her job, and then Mr. Blake offers her to work for him. And so she does. About a week later, Mr. Blake, Sadie and Kevin are going on a picnic. On their way to the country side, one of the wheels falls of, and the car crashes. Luckily nobody gets heart. The police finds out that all of the wheels had been loosen.


A couple of weeks later, Mr. Blake`s house gets blown with Mr. Blake inside. After this Kevin decides to move to England. He can not stand N. Ireland anymore. While he is standing on the dock waiting for the ferry, Sadie comes along. She wanted to come with him to England. And that is were our meeting with Kevin and Sadie ends.




Sadie Jackson


Sadie is a very nice and caring person, she is also a Protestant. She hates violence. She always does whatever falls into her mind. She does no care what other people mean, and she would never let anyone tell her what to do. She also likes danger and excitement. In this story she is one of two main characters. As opposed to other characters in this story, she functions as an anti violent person. While she tries to solve things without using violence, everybody else uses violence to solve their problems.


It appears that Sadie is a determined and independent girl with strong opinions and a substantial strength of will. Her own father describes her as ’headstrong’. She is not afraid of speaking up for herself - and others. She fights for what she believes in - in this case, true love. Her independence and personal strength are clearly demonstrated through the fact that she eventually decides to run away with Kevin to England to try to start a new life there.


Kevin McCoy


Kevin is described as more afraid of what people might say about them(him and Sadie). As a person he is calm, serious and hardworking. He is kind, and will not hurt a fly unless he is badly provoked. He thinks that the violence around the conflict is unreasonable and unnecessary. He does not want to contribute to an increase of the violence, and therefore he does not want to have anything to do with the rifle Brian Rafferty shows him. He has no intention of joining the IRA.


Kevin is also loyal, as to his old friend Brian Rafferty, as an example you can see he does not mention Brian Rafferty`s rifle to the police when they bring him in – even though he himself is accused of owning it. Still, he does not lack courage and guts. He does not hesitate to confront Brian at a later time. That is after Brian has spread the word that Kevin was the one who hid the rifle and the ammunition in the scrapyard.


Mr. Blake


Mr. Blake is a minor character who adds a lot to the book. He sees the love between Sadie and Kevin, and helps them to meet each other in secrecy. Afterwards he invites Sadie to come work for him when she looses her job.


Mr. Blake has a big heart, and risks a lot by hiding a Catholic and Protestant, who is illegal in love because of their religions, at his home. If it had not been for Mr. Blake, the ending would not be the same, and perhaps there would not have been any “Kevin and Sadie” at all. So Mr. Blake plays an important part in this story. When people finds out that he is covering up for them, his house gets blown up with him in it.




The story takes place in Belfast in Northern Ireland. The city seems to have been parted in two separate areas, where one such area is for Catholics only and the other for Protestants only. The two main characters live in each of these areas. There have been incidents of violence in each area. Sadie Jackson’s neighbour was bombed, and there have been several fights between the army and the residents in Kevin’s area. It seems like a tiring place to live. We are frequently and repeatedly told about gunfire and bombings throughout the book.


Northern Ireland has long been the scene of struggle between the Catholic minority and the Protestant majority. This is a struggle that goes as far back as the 16th century. This conflict has obviously taken its toll on the citizens in Northern Ireland as we can see in the novel. We can also observe the citizens blaming their problems on each other. The Catholics blame the Protestants and vice versa. As it appears, all this hostility has led to the partision of Belfast and very much unease among the residents.


I would guess that this story is set in the 1960s or 70’s, but it could really have been anywhere in time after the invention of the car, as this seems to be the only invention mentioned in the novel. The story could really be set anywhere in time and place because of the universal theme, which is true love threatened to be destroyed by circumstances that the two main characters can not change.




I think this story can fall under more than one category. This story reminds me of a political novel, specially because of the theme and all the things that happens, but the story also consists a lot of drama. The story also consists what I would call a very romantic side. Just think about it. Two young people desperate in love, but thorn apart by their different religions. But that can not kill their love. They keep seeing each other in secrecy, thanks to the nice old man, Mr. Blake, who invited them home to himself. Because of Mr. Blake`s eager to help the two lovebirds, he gets killed, and the lovebirds leaves. If that is not romantic, I must have misunderstood it.


So you can say the story spans several categories. I would think this is a nice book to read if you want to learn a bit more about the fighting in Northern Ireland, and you should really read it if you are on your way to visit N. Ireland.




I think this story would make a very good film(it already is). I have not seen the film, so I can not compare the film with the book. I think this story would make a good film because of its reality. What the book describes has happened or is happening in real life right now, and that makes the story very interesting. So the film could show everyone how life in N. Ireland is, or has been. I also think that every school should have this movie to show when they learn about Ireland.




I think Joan Lingard describes the situation in Northern Ireland very well. She shows the bad sides of the conflict, but also the “good” sides. Neighbours got close and they took care of the small, but good moments life offered. I think it is important that we get to see what makes people hold out the situation during a war. I think this is a very good book, and it is definitely worth reading. It is a great story of how two teenagers fall in love. In Belfast no Protestant girl like Sadie could go out with a Catholic boy like Kevin without inviting problems. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a great love story!

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Violence is everywhere in the world it can either be in wars, fights or even in homes. In the novel Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard violence is an important theme as the book relates to the Troubles in Ireland. In the novel violence portrays an important part and has many effects. For example violence, breaks friendships, causes many deaths and can split households apart.
Firstly violence can break friendships. What I mean by this is that in Ireland many kids learn to fight when they are young and this led to a lot of injuries. For example in the novel when Kevin started acting like he didn’t want any more war against the protestants Brian was angered and violently lashed against Kevin and another example is that Brian with his two friends started beating up Kevin in the streets. This is important as it showed us how violence had changed Brian and all he wanted to do was fight, especially his friends that he thought was traitors.
Secondly violence causes many deaths. In the novel there are many deaths because of violence. An example of this is when Mrs McConkey’s shop goes up in flames because of a terrorist, this is important as it shows how the novel shows violence in a brutal way and it makes the readers think that it was a very dangerous time. Another example where violence caused a death is when a grenade blows up Mr. Blake’s and leaves him dead, this scene makes Kevin and Sadie re-think their relationship and it also tells us the readers that no one was safe from the violence of the troubles including nice people such as Mr. Blake.
Finally violence can split households. In other words in the book’s past it shows that Kevin, Sadie, Brede and Tommy use to play together and their families would be fine about that. But when the violence between Protestants and Catholics started the households were split and they weren’t allowed to meet each other anymore. This is shown when it states that Sadie has not seen Kevin for three years because of the troubles....

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