Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent
“Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent”: If Echo is Cathleen Ní Houlihan, does that make the Rossum Corporation John Bull? Damian Gordon, School of Computing, Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin Street, Dublin 8, Ireland ProposalThere is a long tradition in Irish literature of using the mythical figure of Cathleen NíHoulihan to represent the Irish nation, and, in particular, it was frequently invoked whenexploring the complex relationship between Ireland the British Empire (particularly whileIreland was still a colony of that Empire). This personification was most notably used byWilliam Butler Yeats in collaboration with Lady Gregory in their 1902 one-act playeponymously-titled Cathleen ni Houlihan. In the course of this play Cathleen transformsfrom an old woman into a youth with "the walk of a queen," after she persuades a youngman to fight for her four "green fields," representing the four provinces of Ireland.In this paper we will look at the story of Echo as being the modern embodiment of CathleenNí Houlihan. In Dollhouse Echo’s identity is repeatedly overwritten by the RossumCorporation to satisfy the needs of their wealthy clients. Over the course of the series Echobecomes more aware of herself as an individual and constructs a new identify thatcombines aspects of her original self with her various imprints. In the same way the BritishEmpire attempted to eradicate the Irish identity by replacing various aspects of “Irishness”with a colonial substitute, from simple examples, such as Irish Brehon Law being replacedwith Norman feudal law, or more complex examples, so as the gradual erosion of thewidespread use of the Irish language by prohibiting its use in education and commerce andreplacing it with English (a process that linguists call “Language shift”).Adelle DeWitt who serves as the face of the Rossum Corporation for much of Dollhouse isclearly British (she comments on it herself in Echoes [1.07] “I am very British. I dont sayhard Rs”) and can be seen to represent those British colonists given gubernatorial authorityin Ireland such as the Resident Magistrates who presided over petty courts many of whomhad little or no legal training. DeWitte’s self-justification of her role, that all of the Activesare volunteers and will obtain significant financial compensation can be seen to clearly echothe notion that the British Empire “civilised” the countries they annexed and improved thequality of life of the citizenry of those counties. It is worth noting that many of the Activeswho were recruited by the Dollhouse were coerced or forced into their roles. Alpha wasoriginally Karl William Kraft, a convicted criminal who became an Active in exchange for areduced prison sentence. Sierra was an artist named Priya Tsetsang who was essentiallydrugged into becoming an Active by Dollhouse executive Nolan Kinnard. Echo who was
originally Caroline Farrell (bearing a distinguished Irish surname) who became an Active inexchange for the Rossum Corporation dropping criminal charges against her.This paper will also give us an opportunity to interrogate notions of colonialism and post-colonialism with special reference to "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two: Return" in thecontext of post-“Celtic tiger” Ireland.Partial BibliographyDeclan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland the literature of a modern nation, 1996.John Eglinton, 1899, ‘What should be the subjects of national drama?’, Modern andContemporary Irish Drama, Harrington, Norton Critical EditionsWilliam Butler Yeats, The Collected Plays of W. B. Yeats. 1952. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan,1992Joseph Lennon. Irish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History. Syracuse: Syracuse UP,2004.