Guests of the Nation

Jeremiah Donovan Character Analysis

Jeremiah is Bonaparte and Noble’s superior officer in the Irish army. Jeremiah is stern, quiet, and awkward, and Bonaparte privately looks down on him for his rural manners and accent. He avoids getting too friendly with the British prisoners, knowing that they’re hostages who may have to be killed at any moment. Jeremiah is more in touch with the stakes of the war and his duty than either Bonaparte or Noble.

Jeremiah Donovan Quotes in Guests of the Nation

The Guests of the Nation quotes below are all either spoken by Jeremiah Donovan or refer to Jeremiah Donovan . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
National Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Guests of the Nation published in 1982.
Part 2 Quotes

He looked at me for a spell and said, “I thought you knew we were keeping them as hostages.” “Hostages — ?” says I, not quite understanding. “The enemy,” he says in his heavy way, “have prisoners belong to us, and now they talk of shooting them. If they shoot our prisoners we'll shoot theirs, and serve them right.”

Related Characters: Bonaparte (speaker), Jeremiah Donovan (speaker), Belcher, ‘Awkins
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Guests of the Nation quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Part 3 Quotes

I rose quietly from the table and laid my hand on him before he reached the door. “What do you want?” I asked him. “I want those two soldier friends of yours,” he says reddening. “Is that the way it is, Jeremiah Donovan?” I ask. “That's the way. There were four of our lads went west this morning, one of them a boy of sixteen.” “That's bad, Jeremiah,” says I.

Related Characters: Bonaparte (speaker), Jeremiah Donovan (speaker), Belcher, ‘Awkins
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

We walked along the edge of it in the darkness, and every now and then 'Awkins would call a halt and begin again, just as if he was wound up, about us being chums, and I was in despair that nothing but the cold and open grave made ready for his presence would convince him that we meant it all. But all the same, if you can understand, I didn't want him to be bumped off.

Related Characters: Bonaparte (speaker), Belcher, ‘Awkins, Jeremiah Donovan
Related Symbols: The Bog
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 4 Quotes

“I never could make out what duty was myself,” he said, “but I think you're all good lads, if that's what you mean. I'm not complaining.”

Related Characters: Belcher (speaker), Bonaparte, Jeremiah Donovan
Page Number: 11-12
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Guests of the Nation LitChart as a printable PDF.
Guests of the nation.pdf.medium

Jeremiah Donovan Character Timeline in Guests of the Nation

The timeline below shows where the character Jeremiah Donovan appears in Guests of the Nation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
National Identity Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Bonaparte introduces another man named Jeremiah Donovan, who would occasionally come to watch the card game rather than play. He often... (full context)
National Identity Theme Icon
Jeremiah is an awkward man with several eccentric tics that make him difficult to talk to.... (full context)
Part 2
War and Duty Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
One evening, the four soldiers plus Jeremiah are playing cards. Bonaparte realizes that Jeremiah doesn’t like the two Englishmen, which was hard... (full context)
National Identity Theme Icon
War and Duty Theme Icon
To avoid the argument, Bonaparte walks down to town with Jeremiah. On the way, Jeremiah suddenly stops to scold Bonaparte for failing to guard the prisoners.... (full context)
National Identity Theme Icon
War and Duty Theme Icon
Then, Jeremiah explains that the British prisoners are hostages and that the Irish army plans to shoot... (full context)
Part 3
War and Duty Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
...suggests a card game in his usual way, but Bonaparte has a bad feeling. Suddenly, Jeremiah comes to their door to demand the prisoners. (full context)
War and Duty Theme Icon
Jeremiah says that four Irish prisoners “went west” (or were killed), as he hinted before that... (full context)
National Identity Theme Icon
War and Duty Theme Icon
Jeremiah sends Feeney and Noble to gather tools from the shed and dig a hole near... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
The old woman protests this decision so forcefully that Jeremiah snaps at her. ‘Awkins complains that they’re being moved just as they’re starting to feel... (full context)
War and Duty Theme Icon
As the four begin to walk down to the bog, Jeremiah tells them that they’ll be executed in response to the death of the Irish prisoners.... (full context)
National Identity Theme Icon
War and Duty Theme Icon
Jeremiah appeals to Bonaparte to try to convince ‘Awkins that the execution is for real. ‘Awkins... (full context)
Part 4
National Identity Theme Icon
War and Duty Theme Icon
Jeremiah, Bonaparte, ‘Awkins, and Belcher meet Noble and Feeney. ‘Awkins immediately lays into Noble for his... (full context)
National Identity Theme Icon
Religion, Spirituality, and Materialism Theme Icon
War and Duty Theme Icon
Jeremiah readies his gun and asks ‘Awkins whether he has any final messages or prayers. Instead,... (full context)
Religion, Spirituality, and Materialism Theme Icon
War and Duty Theme Icon
Jeremiah asks a final time for a last message before shooting ‘Awkins in the back of... (full context)
Religion, Spirituality, and Materialism Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Belcher apologizes for babbling about domestic life, and Jeremiah asks him for a final prayer. Belcher responds that he doesn’t see the point. (full context)
War and Duty Theme Icon
As he prepares to fire, Jeremiah tries to explain that he’s only doing his duty, but Belcher doesn’t understand what duty... (full context)