Kelly Link’s use of supernatural figures and elements in her portrayal of young protagonists offers insight into the adolescence and the universal feelings of pain and grief that accompany this experience. Because one’s identity remains uncertain throughout adolescence, Link’s protagonists are unable to overcome common adolescent struggles and the powerful effects of unfamiliar encounters because they are struggling with their changing identities. “Travels with the Snow Queen” depicts a young woman who has been abandoned by her husband and is on a mission to find him. The young woman in the story is unable to attain happiness in her marriage because, as a nineteen year-old, she is still unsure of her true identity as an individual, let alone as a wife. On the journey to find her husband, the woman faces absurd encounters and supernatural figures such as the Snow Queen who causes her to question why she is chasing after a man who does not love her. Through her expedition, the woman experiences feelings of isolation, pain, and grief that accompany common adolescent struggles.
Kelly Link’s novels depict universal feelings of grief, pain and isolation echoing the atmosphere in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday and throughout the entire history of the Troubles between Britain and Northern Ireland. British actions in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday were a product of tension and hostility between the Protestant-supported British government and the Irish Republican Army. While clear tension existed between Protestants and Catholics during the Troubles, territorial loyalties and conflict were a major part of violence in Northern Ireland. The Troubles were a truly horrific time period for many Irish civilians as violence, prison internment, and protest plagued the country. The inexcusable actions taken by the British military on Irish civilians on Bloody Sunday set off a chain of events that would help lead to peace in Northern Ireland. Compelled by both Irish and British outrage over the event, Bloody Sunday paved the way for a peaceful coexistence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain in the years to come.
Major Works Consulted:
Killeen, Richard. A Brief History of Ireland. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 2012.
"About Kelly." Kelly Link. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. http://kellylink.net/about-kelly.
Link, Kelly. Get in Trouble. New York: Random, 2015.
---. Stranger Things Happen. New York: Small Beer, 2001.
Uris, Leon, and Jill Uris. Ireland: A Terrible Beauty; The Story of Ireland Today. Garden City,
NY: Doubleday, 1975.