In the movie The Informer, around minute 53:00 after Gypo and Mulligan crash an upper-class party, the woman in charge says, “You’ll get no drink here you, social climber. Why don’t you go back to the gutter where you belong?” The fact that we are able to hear this line spoken aloud in the film allows the audience to pick up on the long pause between “you” and “social climber,” right where the comma is located. The woman thinks for a second about the best way to insult him, clearly believing that he belongs “in the gutter.” In this way, “social climber” is used as an intentionally offensive term, which was interesting to me because of how this is so drastically different from America, in which “the American dream” is all about making your own way in the world and successfully “rising to the top” in a capitalist society. Even American elites tend to recognize that trying to climb the social ladder is honorable, while in Ireland this is looked down upon.
In this way, the movie highlights a difference between the Black Atlantic and the Green Atlantic, and the way that Irish culture changed once making the journey to America. As we saw in stories like Moon and the Mars, the Irish who moved to America were very entrepreneurial and tried to climb the social ladder to survive, because this was culturally viewed as a good thing in the United States. As we saw in Daniel O’Connell’s address, the Irish also assimilated into American society by upholding slavery as well. O’Connell chastised these Irish in his letter, saying that they were ignoring their original Irish values. All of these instances of shifts in Irish culture call to mind my argument in my conference paper, in which the Black and Green Atlantic changes with each generation, and looks different with each new wave of children that are being raised in a completely different environment.