This page was created by Emily Bengtson.  The last update was by Maren Connell.

Star of the Sea : A Postcolonial/Postmodern Voyage into the Irish Famine

Mulvey as a Songwriter

Pius Mulvey is one of the main characters in the novel and is also one of the most musical.  He gets his start in the business when an innkeeper forgets the words to a ballad and promises a shilling to whoever can teach him the rest of the song (O'Connor 92-93).  Pius knows the song well as it was one of his mother’s favorites, and sings it, and does a good job of it, artfully crafting the lyrics.  

He recalled every verse of the long, complicated love-song, a very old piece his mother used to sing, with classical allusions and multiple narrators. 'Macaronic' was the word for a song like that, its lyric alternating between Irish and English (O'Connor 93).

It’s not long before he composes a song of his own, based on an incident that really happened to him and his brother.  It is a huge success the first time he performs it, and he knows he’s found his calling in life. This is the night he meets Mary Duane for the first time.  

Later when he is in London, he finds that his Irish songs aren’t successful with the English.  So he tweaks his song, “unpicking anything too disquieting or too noticeably Irish.  Not a jot did it bother him to alter the ensemble.  It was tailoring Galway remnants into East End swell-duds” (O'Connor 185).  This altered version of the song gets the attention of a certain Charles Dickens, who asks Mulvey for more details on where he got the song.  Mulvey comes up with an elaborate yarn of backstory that Dickens would eventually turn into Oliver Twist, if the story is to be believed.

Works Cited
Researcher/Writer: Michaila Gerlach
Technical Writers: Emily Bengtson and Maren Connell

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