This article traces the dual performance of Irish and American identity represented by the character of Eilis Lacey in Brooklyn (2015) and examines how the film's star, Saoirse Ronan, mirrored this performance of national identity while promoting the film. One of the key complexities of emigration is the reconfiguration of identity that results from beginning a new life in another country. This alteration becomes even more complex when individuals return "home," or travel frequently between old and new homelands, and thus continue to renegotiate their identities based on their location, as Lacey does in the film and Ronan does extratextually. Through a consideration of both Lacey's and Ronan's identity performances, framed by film and media, I highlight the performative and protean nature of identity, demonstrate the ways in which the Irish and American sides of Irish-American identity are kept separate during each time period, and interrogate the reasons for enacting different identities in different locations. Ultimately, I evaluate an emergent "type" of Irish-American identity that allows for the retention of national identities from either side of the hyphen (each shaped by the other to a small degree), and which can be performed flexibly as required by travel between locations. Importantly, I also draw attention to the feminine depiction of this identity, which has come to be predominantly associated with masculinity.


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pp. 71-100
Launched on MUSE
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