Title: He Had His Reasons

Link: https://granta.com/he-had-his-reasons/



  1. Protagonist: Alan Hawe

Alan Hawe was the protagonist or key individual featured in the article after his murder-suicide that happened in 2016 that resulted in a tragic family tragedy.  His case was featured in the narrative as an example to highlight the social issues centred around mental illness as well as the plausibility of domestic abuse in the country.

  1. Protagonist’s wife: Clodagh

Clodagh Hawe, Alan’s wife, was murdered with a knife through her throat. She was vital in the article considering her name was not mentioned in the media post-killing and was simply subsumed within the story of her husband’s mental illness and suicide. A hashtag, #HerNameWasClodagh, was after that created and trended on the Irish Twitter to address such prejudices.

  1. Protagonist’s son 1: Liam
  2. Protagonist’s son 2: Niall
  3. Protagonist’s son 3: Ryan
  4. Unnamed neighbour who was interviewed in the Daily Mirror
  5. Unnamed friends
  6. Church (? Since they are a church-going family)
  7. Local national school (? Since Alan Hawe was the vice-president)
  8. GAA (Alan’s affliations)
  9. Teenage handball team (Alan’s affliations)
  10. Gardai (police force of Ireland)
  11. Irish Mirror commenter (opinion piece featuring the case as a study to reduce social stigma on mental illness)
  12. Dr Jacquelyn Campbell of John Hopkins University (who wrote his opinion on domestic abuse)
  13. Sally Rooney (writer on Irish Independent about suicide in Ireland post the murder-suicide case)
  14. Professor Ella Arensman, Director of Research at the National Suicide Research Foundation (who requested for an investigation after 24 other incidents had been happening since 2004)

Please refer to the network chart here: https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?docid=1z1gjq65UwsnrvrvbZxb8XUySjmNAE7CEZ0oAfiEq

Question: What, if anything, does this network graph illuminate about the characters’ connections?

It is able to clearly show the relationships of other parties in relations to the protagonists when I organize them based on ‘roles’ or ‘affiliated to’ with the characters. I segregate them based on three key groups: 1. the protagonist and the victims themselves, 2. public groups who are investigating, including various sources from the media who are covering the issue based on different angles and 3. the affiliations to the protagonists which contributed to the prejudices on the issues. Based on this categorization, the network graph was able to illuminate the key issues each party is associated with.

Question: What are its limitations?

There are overlapping nodes in different categories which was not illustrated in the graph. For example, the issues that was associated with Alan Hawe was not only about him committing a murder-suicide crime. However, it was with such controversy that sparked discussion for issues concerning prejudices with class, gender, social stigma that comes with mental illness, domestic abuse, marginalization of victims and so on. These issues were also covered and commented by different media groups and/or organizations which I simply categorized them under “media”. It would be better if the connections between the nodes could be further divided and elaborated to show the different stances on the issues – if they are sympathizing with Alan Hawe or not based on different reasons covered. Currently, the prejudices were mentioned without any depth. I also felt that the links showed currently are simply too direct, but what about those sub-characters who also played a part in influencing readers’ perspective in the narrative?




One thought on “Week 9 Homework: He Had His Reasons

  1. Hey! I took a look at your graph and realised that I faced some problems in trying to replicate what you did here. I see that you have connected the characters through the key issues that they faced, but the thing is within the key issues, there are many categories. Your values in the “key issues” edge are things like “murder-suicide” and “domestic abuse, murder”. So while each edge actually takes on more than 1 value like “domestic abuse” and “murder” are 2 distinct issues, separated by commas, the graph interprets each cell as 1 unique value and groups them together.

    Was that your intention, or did you find it difficult to create more edges for more key issues?

    For my graph, I wanted to list out all the scenes and link the appearance of characters to the different scenes. There are almost 8 unique scenes, and then I realised I was not getting any form of connection because the graph lumped the input as a single unique value, like “home, school, coffeeshop” and “home, school” are 2 separate values, and hence do show a connection on the graph.

    For your example, suicide is a common key issue, but the table lumps ‘suicide’ and ‘murder’ together as a unique value, and ‘domestic abuse’ and ‘murder’ as another value. Do you know a way to get around this?


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