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the sow that eats her farrow

Ireland. A reference to James Joyce's description in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man of the country oppressing or exploiting its citizens. If the people do not vote to pass this referendum, we will know that the country remains the sow that eats her farrow.
See also: eats, farrow, sow, that
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the sow that eats its farrow

Ireland. The phrase comes from James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “Do you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence. Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.” A “farrow” is a litter of newborn piglets, and the reference is Joyce's belief that Ireland had a history of destroying its writers, admirable political figures, and indeed everything that should be saved and nurtured.
See also: eats, farrow, sow, that
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
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