ABSTRACT. Alice McDermott’s novels of Irish American experience, At Weddings and Wakes and Charming Billy, establish death, loss, and innocence as both foreground and background for their characters. Innocence is associated in Roman Catholic and other theologies with childhood and lack of sexual knowledge, but it also implies lack of agency and loss. National Book Award winner McDermott’s most common focus is on women characters. While her participant-observer narrators are female, she is a skillful delineator of male characters as well. pp. 43–54

Keywords: innocence, female narrator, childhood, lack of agency 

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University of Detroit Mercy, United States of America

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