Hyphenated Identity of Irish-Americans in Gangster Film Genre
Malgorzata Martynuska

The 1990s marks the emergence of a phenomenon in which third generation white ethnic Americans began to reclaim their roots. That was also the decade when the revival of the Irish-American gangster in Hollywood started. This article analyses the ethnic portrayal of Irish-Americans in the gangster film genre from the period of 1990-2010. The films illustrate the process of the shaping of the Irish-American identity by both the American influences and the ethnic environment. Protagonists’ actions are driven by tribal codes of behaviour, loyalty and revenge, all presented with the traditional Hibernian heritage and Catholic faith. The Irish-American characters who hope to define their own identity and assimilate into the American mainstream, soon find out that they cannot escape their ethnic background. Their identity crisis is rooted in inner conflict resulting from the betrayal of Irish heritage in the quest for social acceptance in the American society.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jflcc.v3n2a1