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Volume 38, Number 2 (2013)

“There’s Minny a One in Ould Ireland”: Judy Plum’s Witchcraft of Irish Stereotypes and Storytelling

  • Aoife Emily Hart
July 25, 2014


This article explores the representation of the Irish servant Judy Plum in L.M. Montgomery's Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat. Taking into account her speech patterns, aptitude in storytelling, and inclination towards superstition, Aoife Emily Hart considers the possibility that Judy constitutes yet another variation on the trope of the stage Irishman, a type of ethnic caricature prevalent in the nineteenth century. Probing the tensions, gaps, and contradictions in the portrayal of Judy in the two novels, Hart considers a more intriguing possibility, that there is a self-styled and subversive quality to Judy's performance of Irishness in Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, a self-stylization that involves varying degrees of oppression and privilege in terms of gender, ethnicity, and class. Rather than pathetic and marginalized as she nears death at the end of Mistress Pat, Hart concludes, Judy represents a defiant and resilient alternative to the ethos of utilitarian modernity that prevails at Silver Bush.