Structure

Title

The title of the short story “Tom Corridan” by Arhondia does not immediately indicate much about the plot but suggests that the story focuses on a key character. The title refers to the narrator, Tom, who is also the main character of the story. This is revealed when he enters Boyle’s pub: “ ‘Ah look, it’s Tom Corridan, coming to take his da home for his dinner,” says Michael.” (l. 18)

The title also has a symbolic meaning that is subtly hinted at through the repeated use of the word “nobody” in reference to Tom, and the references to The Odyssey. By emphasizing Tom’s name and identity, the title suggests that he is not, in fact, a “nobody”, but a powerful individual with his own unique story. Tom is frequently humiliated (ll. 56-58) and beaten by his father, Frank (ll. 86-88). The story features a scene in which Tom is repeatedly called a “nobody” by his father Frank (ll. 81-82) and Frank’s behavior later makes Tom pray that his father would die (ll. 101-102), which underlines Tom’s sense of powerlessness. When Frank becomes ill, Tom realizes the irony of the fact that his father’s life depends on him, a “nobody” in Frank’s eyes (ll. 147-148). The title “Tom Corridan” could, therefore, be an affirmation of the fact that Tom, “the nobody”, is given power over Frank’s fate and, like Odysseus, becomes the hero of his own story.

The title’s symbolic meaning is enhanced through one of Odysseus’ adventures. Ody...

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