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Across The Barricades Essay About Myself

Across the barricades

This bookreview is about a Catholic and a Protestant in Northern Ireland who is struggeling for their love to each other.
Sjanger:Anmeldelse (bok, film...)Lastet opp:14.06.2000
Tema:Across the barricades



This story is about Kevin, a Catholic boy, and Sadie, a Protestant girl. The story takes place in Northern Ireland. Kevin and Sadie are not supposed to meet one another because of their religions, but they ignore what people say. So they keep seeing each other. And now I am going to tell you about the problems this gives them.


It all starts when they meet each other on the buss stop. They decide to have a little chat on a little coffee shop nearby, since they have not seen each other in a long time. After a while they decide to take a trip up to Cave Hill. They stay there for a long time. While they are up there Sadie`s parents finds out that she is meeting a Catholic boy. Her parents do not approve to this.


Sadie ignores her parents disapproval, and she keeps seeing Kevin, more and more. One day Kevin was walking home from a meeting with Sadie, three guys attack him, because some of his friends had found out about his secret meetings with Sadie, a Protestant. Kevin is badly injured. The next day he is suppose to meet Sadie. He can barely move or walk, but he goes to meet her anyway. And meanwhile Brede, Kevin`s sister, tries to talk Sadie out of seeing Kevin, but eventually she goes to meet him anyway.


The same night they get invited home to an old nice man, Mr. Blake. They stay there the rest of that evening. Mr. Blake offers them to meet in secrecy at his home. And so they do. Sadie lost her job, and then Mr. Blake offers her to work for him. And so she does. About a week later, Mr. Blake, Sadie and Kevin are going on a picnic. On their way to the country side, one of the wheels falls of, and the car crashes. Luckily nobody gets heart. The police finds out that all of the wheels had been loosen.


A couple of weeks later, Mr. Blake`s house gets blown with Mr. Blake inside. After this Kevin decides to move to England. He can not stand N. Ireland anymore. While he is standing on the dock waiting for the ferry, Sadie comes along. She wanted to come with him to England. And that is were our meeting with Kevin and Sadie ends.




Sadie Jackson


Sadie is a very nice and caring person, she is also a Protestant. She hates violence. She always does whatever falls into her mind. She does no care what other people mean, and she would never let anyone tell her what to do. She also likes danger and excitement. In this story she is one of two main characters. As opposed to other characters in this story, she functions as an anti violent person. While she tries to solve things without using violence, everybody else uses violence to solve their problems.


It appears that Sadie is a determined and independent girl with strong opinions and a substantial strength of will. Her own father describes her as ’headstrong’. She is not afraid of speaking up for herself - and others. She fights for what she believes in - in this case, true love. Her independence and personal strength are clearly demonstrated through the fact that she eventually decides to run away with Kevin to England to try to start a new life there.


Kevin McCoy


Kevin is described as more afraid of what people might say about them(him and Sadie). As a person he is calm, serious and hardworking. He is kind, and will not hurt a fly unless he is badly provoked. He thinks that the violence around the conflict is unreasonable and unnecessary. He does not want to contribute to an increase of the violence, and therefore he does not want to have anything to do with the rifle Brian Rafferty shows him. He has no intention of joining the IRA.


Kevin is also loyal, as to his old friend Brian Rafferty, as an example you can see he does not mention Brian Rafferty`s rifle to the police when they bring him in – even though he himself is accused of owning it. Still, he does not lack courage and guts. He does not hesitate to confront Brian at a later time. That is after Brian has spread the word that Kevin was the one who hid the rifle and the ammunition in the scrapyard.


Mr. Blake


Mr. Blake is a minor character who adds a lot to the book. He sees the love between Sadie and Kevin, and helps them to meet each other in secrecy. Afterwards he invites Sadie to come work for him when she looses her job.


Mr. Blake has a big heart, and risks a lot by hiding a Catholic and Protestant, who is illegal in love because of their religions, at his home. If it had not been for Mr. Blake, the ending would not be the same, and perhaps there would not have been any “Kevin and Sadie” at all. So Mr. Blake plays an important part in this story. When people finds out that he is covering up for them, his house gets blown up with him in it.




The story takes place in Belfast in Northern Ireland. The city seems to have been parted in two separate areas, where one such area is for Catholics only and the other for Protestants only. The two main characters live in each of these areas. There have been incidents of violence in each area. Sadie Jackson’s neighbour was bombed, and there have been several fights between the army and the residents in Kevin’s area. It seems like a tiring place to live. We are frequently and repeatedly told about gunfire and bombings throughout the book.


Northern Ireland has long been the scene of struggle between the Catholic minority and the Protestant majority. This is a struggle that goes as far back as the 16th century. This conflict has obviously taken its toll on the citizens in Northern Ireland as we can see in the novel. We can also observe the citizens blaming their problems on each other. The Catholics blame the Protestants and vice versa. As it appears, all this hostility has led to the partision of Belfast and very much unease among the residents.


I would guess that this story is set in the 1960s or 70’s, but it could really have been anywhere in time after the invention of the car, as this seems to be the only invention mentioned in the novel. The story could really be set anywhere in time and place because of the universal theme, which is true love threatened to be destroyed by circumstances that the two main characters can not change.




I think this story can fall under more than one category. This story reminds me of a political novel, specially because of the theme and all the things that happens, but the story also consists a lot of drama. The story also consists what I would call a very romantic side. Just think about it. Two young people desperate in love, but thorn apart by their different religions. But that can not kill their love. They keep seeing each other in secrecy, thanks to the nice old man, Mr. Blake, who invited them home to himself. Because of Mr. Blake`s eager to help the two lovebirds, he gets killed, and the lovebirds leaves. If that is not romantic, I must have misunderstood it.


So you can say the story spans several categories. I would think this is a nice book to read if you want to learn a bit more about the fighting in Northern Ireland, and you should really read it if you are on your way to visit N. Ireland.




I think this story would make a very good film(it already is). I have not seen the film, so I can not compare the film with the book. I think this story would make a good film because of its reality. What the book describes has happened or is happening in real life right now, and that makes the story very interesting. So the film could show everyone how life in N. Ireland is, or has been. I also think that every school should have this movie to show when they learn about Ireland.




I think Joan Lingard describes the situation in Northern Ireland very well. She shows the bad sides of the conflict, but also the “good” sides. Neighbours got close and they took care of the small, but good moments life offered. I think it is important that we get to see what makes people hold out the situation during a war. I think this is a very good book, and it is definitely worth reading. It is a great story of how two teenagers fall in love. In Belfast no Protestant girl like Sadie could go out with a Catholic boy like Kevin without inviting problems. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a great love story!

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Title: Across the Barricades

Author: Joan Lingard
Published by: Hamish Hamilton, England
Publishing year: First published in 1972
Pages: 174 pages, parted in 20 chapters


About the Author

Joan Lingard was born in Edinburgh in 1932, but grew up in the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast. She lived there until she was eighteen. She began writing when she was eleven. Her whole live she wanted to be a writer, and had never wanted to be anything else than that.

Other books written by Joan Lingard are:

Between to worlds, The guilty party, Tug of war, The file on Fräulein Berg, The freedom machine, Frying as usual, Glad rags, Hands off our school, Night fires and Rags and riches.


Leading Characters

Sadie Jackson is one of the main character in Across the Barricades. She is 16 years old and live in Belfast in Northern Ireland. She is a Protestant girl who lives in the “protestant” part of Belfast.

Kevin McCoy is the second main character of this book. He is 18 years old and lives also in Belfast. He is a Catholic boy who lives in the “catholic” part of Belfast.



Sadie and Kevin became very close friends, which the parents didn’t like because they was seeing each other very often. Since they didn’t have same religion, meeting of catholic and protestant often ends with problems.


First time they met each other, was at the bus. After that they have only talked with each other every day.

The first date they have, was just a couple of minute, but after a week they fell in love with each other. Sadies mother didn’t like that they were meeting each other so often. She tried to hold Sadie home every time when she should meet Kevin. But that wasn’t so easy. People in the neighbourhood didn’t like it too, and they also tried as hard they could to prevent them from meeting each other again and to get better friends.


Sadie and Kevin went to many places when they were meeting, one of them was Cave Hill. Cave Hill is a big hill at the end of the city Belfast. There were a place where they could be together and nobody could speak about it.


One night when they should meet each other, happened a terrible disaster.

I don’t tell you what it is, you must read the book your self!!!!!!!!!!!



Perhaps the message run deep down into the conditions in Belfast, and how the situation is in there. The aspect in this book most bee “autoral” aspect. The author has many descriptions of social background in this text.


My opinion

I enjoyed this novel very much, it wasn’t only about love, but also about war and the wish for peace. I think the author is very good to explain the persons and hold focus about the main characters. I think the message is very clear and the author is good to explain what she want. I mean the message is to understand how it is in Belfast and the rest of northern Ireland for the Catholics and Protestants. I mean the subject is very good and interesting, personal I think it is a clever and easy way to learn about the history of Northern Ireland. This book is for all ages (from 13 to 100 years).


I will recommend this book to everybody. I have only read 2 books in my whole live (just at the school) like this book. And that says something of this book and the author.

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