Episode I-The Flashback with Kate Doogan

The scene changes as the audience is brought in to Gar’s flashback with Katie Doogan, which happened months before the current events.

The scene begins with Gar telling Kate that he can’t wait any longer and that he’s ‘mad’ about her. Kate, being realistic about the situation asks Gar how they could expect to live on £3 and 15 shillings a week.

We see how childish and immature Gar is when he replies that they’ll live like kings with a free house, food and groceries (he expects her to move in with him and S.B.)

When Kate pushes Gar to ask for more money, he tells her that he has a secret income that no one knows anything about. He tells her that he buys eggs direct from the farm and that he sells them to the hotel, which gets him an extra £1. Kate thinks he means an extra pound every Tuesday and Thursday but Gar admits that it’s an extra pound a month.

Public again tells her that he can’t wait any longer and that he wants to marry her next week. Kate tells him that he’ll have to ask her father for permission to marry her and that they should do it right away.

They go to Kate’s house and before her father enters, she tells him to tell her father that he earns £20 a week and that he has £5000 in the bank and that his father is about to retire. (Willing to lie to her father-shows that she really loves Gar?)

Gar seems unable to speak properly in the company of Senator Doogan and when he tells Kate that Francis has called in to see her, Gar panics. Kate goes off and tells Gar to ‘talk to daddy.’

Before he has a chance to speak to the senator, he asks Gar if he knows Francis King, before announcing that they are hopeful that he will get the new dispensary job in town but that they don’t want to get Kate’s hopes up. He tells Gar that he and Francis’ father were at the same school. (Highlights the class division between the Doogan’s and the O’Donnell’s) It’s clear that Senator Doogan is hopeful that Francis and his daughter will get married.

Private is enraged by this piece of information and blames Kate for leading him on and making him look stupid. (No evidence to suggest Kate knew about this.) Gar makes excuses and goes to leave. Senator Doogan, sensing what Gar is thinking tells him that it will be Kate’s decision who she marries but Gar leaves without asking the question.

Kate comes back in after Gar has left asking where he has gone and when she is told that he has left, she asks, “but didn’t he–did he-?” to which her father replies, “No, he didn’t.”

The scene goes back to Gar’s bedroom and Private tells us the details of the wedding of Kate and Francis King. He tells the audience, “honeymoon in Mallorca and you couldn’t afford to take her to Malahide.” Again, this highlights how Gar is negatively affected by his social status.

Private begins to insult Senator Doogan and says he’s lucky with ‘old screwballs.’ He has an imaginary conversation with his father, which again shows that he wants to talk to him.

The flashback highlights why Gar is eager to go to America as it is clear that he was in love with Kate. It also highlights how immature he is for twenty-five.


  1. How much money does Gar earn a week? How much does he earn on his ‘secret deal?’
  2. How much does Kate tell Gar to say he earns? Why does she do this? Does this tell us anything about her?
  3. Why does Gar not ask Senator Doogan for permission to marry Kate? Explain your answer with reference to the text.
  4. What do you learn about social class from this extract? Explain your answer with reference to the text.
  5. What do you learn about the role of men and women from this extract? Explain your answer with reference to the text.

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